Let’s start with the obvious question first… What is a limiting belief? A limiting belief is simply something you believe to be true about yourself, about others, or about the world, that limits you in some way. Limiting beliefs can be toxic. They constrain us. They can make our vibrant spirits seem dim, they can hide beautiful parts of our personality, they can (and typically do) stunt our personal growth, and keep us from taking action on things we feel drawn to do.
So throughout your life, you’ve had experiences that have shaped your thoughts and beliefs about yourself and about the world. Those thoughts and beliefs have likely become engrained in you for so long, to the point that they feel like absolute facts to your brain. Your limiting beliefs usually develop in the past where something either happened to you, or someone said something to you that you interpreted a certain way. You then took it into your subconscious mind, and over time (years for a lot of us), you’ve unconsciously always looked for evidence to prove that belief about yourself to be true.
A simple example- maybe you did poorly in a particular math class one year and your teacher even made some harsh comments to you about it… and then you adopted a belief that you’re really bad at math. When in reality, that’s not the case at all. It’s just a belief that you have nurtured so deeply for so long and so now you’ve got so much evidence to prove it. We’ve all done this in one way or another. We all have limiting beliefs. And ya know what? We can let go of the ones we choose to, at any time we choose to.
So I’m going to share a limiting belief that I struggled with and the process for how I overcame it. This belief I had probably seems trivial or silly, (and I’ll admit it’s not one of the heaviest or most damaging beliefs that I’ve had), but it did GREATLY impact my self-confidence and my mental energy from day to day. And perhaps some of you even have the same one. This was my belief… “I’m really terrible at organizing closets. I hate it. It’s not my strength.”
Silly, right? But sometimes its these silly beliefs that create the bigger problems and chaos in our life. I can’t even tell you how hardcore I believed that I super sucked at organizing closets and it was such an overwhelming task. (Makes me laugh now). But it was to the point that my palms would get sweaty and I’d feel tremendous anxiety over the thought of doing it. This limiting belief led me to have cluttered, disorderly closets for years. And every time I’d walk into or walk by one of them, I could literally feel my mental energy being drained out of me. And I was finally ready to do something about it! So here’s how I learned to let go of that limiting belief that interfered with my life for so long. You can use these 3 simple steps below for any and all limiting beliefs you have, regardless how serious or how trivial.
STEP 1– Become aware of the limiting belief you struggle with regarding yourself or your life. You can do this by thinking of a goal you have or maybe a project you want to complete… no matter how big or small. (So in my case, it was organizing my walk in master closet) Notice the thoughts that come into your mind when you think about that goal or project. What does your brain start telling you? Also, recognize the emotions you feel surrounding your belief. My emotions about organizing my closet were dread, anxiety, and frustration. Which, for years, kept me avoiding the task all together.
STEP 2– Be curious and compassionate with yourself. Do not judge yourself for the belief you have. Just get curious about it. Try to be understanding and have compassion for whatever experience you had that caused this belief to develop in the first place. (In other words, don’t tell yourself you’re ridiculous for having that belief). Love yourself through it. And don’t worry if you have a hard time connecting it to a specific past experience. What really matters is that you’re just aware you have the belief and that you’re ready to let it go.
STEP 3– Choose a new empowering belief and envision it! So what I did in my case was I took my limiting belief and I challenged it with this question: “What if I’m actually great at organizing and it’s totally a strength I have? What if I LOVED organizing my master closet and it was even fun for me?” So that’s the new belief I chose to cultivate: “I’m super good at organizing and I have fun doing it!”
So now the envisioning part… I took this new empowering belief that I chose and I went and stood in my master closet. I closed my eyes and started envisioning. I envisioned myself organizing it and really ENJOYING the process of it all. I envisioned that I was purging and organizing that closet like a freakin pro. I envisioned the details of what the finished product would look like, with labeled bins for accessories, color coordinated shirts, neatly hung blouses, and only having things that actually belonged in the closet, in the closet (#hoarderproblems.) Everything was orderly and it had the most light, refreshing feel to it. I probably spent 3 to 5 minutes envisioning all of this in my mind, and when I opened my eyes- I felt something totally different- I felt excited, I felt motivated! I felt confident in my ability to complete this task from beginning to end and enjoy every bit of it. And ya know what? I totally did! And the finished product was just as I envisioned it. (I’ll do a later post on how and why envisioning works so incredibly well)
I had totally cracked my limiting belief and proved it wrong. So my new, empowering belief fueled my new actions, and my new actions blew me away, and that then solidified the new belief in myself to be true. See how that works?? Goodbye limiting belief! Hello Truth! It was so nice to finally meet you 🙂 I took this new belief and I started applying it to many other areas in my house, and within a month, I was able to have 5 major areas in my home cleaned out and organized. Areas that I had been staring at for years and feeling totally overwhelmed by. The struggle was finally gone. What a liberating and empowering lesson this was for me. And it all started with a choice. And with something as simple as a master closet. Imagine what you could do in the major areas of life!
I’ll leave you with some powerful words from one of my favorite actors, Hugh Jackman… “If you continue to tell yourself the same story, it will continue to be true. But when you change your story, you can change your life.”