Updated: January 31, 2023
Limiting beliefs negatively affect every area of your life. If you want to thrive, you need to know where limiting beliefs come from so you can identify and reject them.
Limiting beliefs come from several places including:
Masked as Societally Accepted Beliefs
Societally accepted beliefs are shared beliefs ingrained into a society. Some beliefs are so engrained they are considered fact. You might not even think about them or realize you can reject them.
And some societally accepted beliefs are helpful and logical. Like the idea that people need to be held accountable for their actions and that honesty and education are important.
But other societally accepted beliefs are outdated, only serve a particular demographic of society and/or limit you and keep you down. Some examples are:
- Limiting beliefs that state people who share a similar characteristic need to all do the same thing. Like the limiting belief that women belong in the kitchen.
- Limiting beliefs that state people who share a similar characteristic all share the same skill level. Like the limiting belief that women are less intelligent than men,
- Limiting beliefs that you need to be a specific age or other metric in order to do certain things. For example, the limiting belief that you need to have x years of experience before opening your own business.
- Limiting beliefs you need to always focus on making money. Like the limiting belief that hobbies and art aren’t important unless you are making money.
- Limiting beliefs you need to hit certain life events by certain ages. Like you needing to be married and with at least one kid by the age of 35.
- Limiting beliefs about how we show emotion or think. Like the limiting belief that emotions are weakness.
- Limiting beliefs about family. Like the limiting belief that blood is thicker than water.
Sometimes well-intentioned people will unknowingly spread their limiting beliefs as advice. And sometimes miserable people who want company (remember: misery loves company) will forward the limiting beliefs that are making them miserable as advice.
A popular example of this is the limiting belief: everyone cheats. Someone who was cheated on allows their emotions to bring them to a negative place. In that place, they think in all-or-nothing extremes. And in their pain, they try to protect themselves with the idea that “everyone cheats.”
If they think everyone cheats then they won’t open themselves up to another relationship which will protect them from being hurt again. And it will make them feel better if other people believe this too so they spread their limiting belief as a fact and other hurt people will attract to it.
Now the limiting belief isn’t just a belief, it is a vehicle for connection. The belief gets stronger.
As Religious Convictions
Religions provide a sense of community and can be a positive influence. They can also be a haven for limiting beliefs.
Some limiting beliefs found in religion are:
- Limiting Belief: Masturbation is Sin
- Limiting Belief: Divorce is not an option
As A Personal Preference
Weak minded people will project their personal preferences as fact. If that preference limits you, and you believe it, then it becomes a belief that limits you: a limiting belief.
An example of this is boys who generalize and say they don’t like women who lift weights. Which will sound something like “real men don’t like women who lift weights.” If a woman reads that and believes it she will limit herself and not lift weights even though it will positively affect every area of her life.
Interestingly, the boys who have this preference likely believe the limiting belief that if a woman lifts she will look like a man. One limiting belief is forwarding another.
The reason the limiting belief gets any traction is because of another limiting belief that women need to work to attract men when really they need to focus on being themselves and they will attract.
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