If you have been following me or other coaches on social media, or you receive my newsletter once a month, you may be familiar with the term “Limiting Belief”. It is certainly something that I see in many of the clients I work with (and within myself!) and one of the main causes for lack of progress and authentic living.
However, I am also aware that there are a lot of “buzz words” doing the rounds at the moment, especially on social media, so I wanted to use this blog to offer some clarity on exactly what a limiting belief is (and how it may present itself) and a couple of other things that may be behind your habits or thoughts.
An example of a limiting belief that I am seeing written a lot about recently is around money. In particular you may have heard or read that you need to spend money in order to create abundance, as in doing so, you are putting it out to the universe that you are open to receive. The flip side of this is that if you hold on too tightly to your money, for fear that you don’t have enough, you may have a limiting belief that is preventing you from receiving more. This may well be true especially if you have the funds to, for example, purchase something of better quality rather than only buying cheaper items of a lesser quality. But there may be a couple of other things at play and these are values and truths.
It’s important that we approach our habits or thoughts around certain things with curiosity so that we can be clear on what may be driving them.
Using the money scenario above let’s look at situations where being frugal may not be a limiting belief. Perhaps you love to read but rather than buy your books brand new you choose to seek them out in charity shops. If this habit were the result of a limiting belief there might be a part of you that feels you don’t “deserve” brand new things or that by buying a new book you are putting yourself at risk of not being able to afford food that week (even though the reality of your situation would make this unlikely). However, it also could be that thriftiness is one of your values and buying certain items second hand is one of the ways you feel you are able to give something back to charities or the environment? If this is the case, then this thriftiness is more likely to be due to a value rather than a limiting belief.
Another thing that could be influencing your spending habits is the truth of your current situation. If you are genuinely low on funds then buying second hand or seeking out non branded options is purely down to your current situation. This alone is not a limiting belief and, if you follow the law of attraction, is unlikely to affect future abundance. In fact, some may argue that taking action to make your living situation better by finding alternative ways
to continue to enjoy the things that you like is actually in alignment with the law of attraction! You are sending the message that you still feel worthy of those things but you recognise that “needs must”, if you want your situation to improve (as opposed to spending money you genuinely don’t have until you find yourself in an even worse situation). When we use the law of attraction as part of our wellbeing practice it is so important that we approach it with the understanding that sometimes “life happens” and not all challenging situations are of our making.
So, with these things in mind, how can we recognise truly limiting beliefs and, once we’ve recognised something as a limiting belief how can we work through it?
A limiting belief is often something that stems from your past experiences and can become tied up in your self-worth. An example of this may be that as a child you were told that you didn’t deserve nice things because you had been “too naughty”. Your parent or caregiver may have just been trying to instil some discipline for unwanted behaviour and more than likely felt they were doing good in the long run, but your child like self might have interpreted this as “I am not worthy of nice things ever” and this belief could have followed you into adulthood, influencing your purchasing choices.
Limiting beliefs are often accompanied with feelings of shame so once you have recognised a limiting belief (or you have at least established that what you are feeling is probably not linked to a value or a truth) the first step is to sit with that feeling and give yourself permission to feel compassion for yourself and the child who felt they weren’t worthy. From here, think of ways you can bring shame to the surface. Perhaps you could talk to someone about your experience and how it has affected your belief patterns, this can be done with a trusted friend or, if you feel you need more qualified support, a therapist or coach.
If we share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive – Brene Brown.
Finally, wherever there is a limiting belief there may be a gift. Here is a quote from one of my previous blogs that may help to explain what I mean by this “I work with many clients who feel that they always have to take the lead. This may stem from growing up in situations where they didn’t receive the guidance or emotional support that they needed and so they developed the pattern of taking the lead themselves. Usually, these people are resilient and
independent, traits which, of course, can be hugely beneficial in life. And quite often this is the case, that within the survival pattern is a gift of some kind.” If you would like to read the blog in full you can do so here .
If you can recognise areas in your life where you have limiting beliefs (and I should say at this point that they may not be linked to money – another example may be that you are reluctant to take time off work when you are feeling under the weather because “you should be able to soldier through and get the job done”) and you need help moving through these patterns in order to step out of your story so you can live more authentically , then please reach out to me by booking a call to explore how my style of coaching can help you.
You may also find that introducing the BodyScan to your wellbeing practice will help you start to truly recognise and understand your feelings and thought patterns. You can watch my guided BodyScan here.