A limiting belief is one that holds us back from growth, success or happiness. These beliefs are concepts that accept stagnation, scarcity, failure, or misery as being “Just the way life is.”

These beliefs stop us from trusting that we can do, be or have what we want in life. They feel restrictive and stifling, and are contradictory to the natural instincts we have for growth and expansion.

Where Does a Limiting Belief Start?

Often, like many other beliefs, the beliefs that restrict us start early in life. Many limiting beliefs are fear-based, and a lot of well-meaning parents teach these types of beliefs to their children in an effort to keep them safe from harm or disappointment.

If a child grows up believing they can reach for the stars, they are probably going to be climbing to a lot of high places in the process. A fearful parent may prefer to keep their child’s feet firmly on the ground, believing (rightly or wrongly) that it is safer.

Of course sitting on the couch probably is less risky than trekking in Antarctica (something my friend’s 20-year-old niece did not long ago). That is unless you consider the risk of obesity and related health problems that can develop through inactivity of course!

The thing is, though, that playing it safe is terribly limiting. It’s not that we should encourage excessive risk taking, but I do believe that we should encourage ourselves and others to follow our hearts and passions, and not to let fear prevent us from doing things that we really want to do. When it comes to doing truly dangerous things (like trekking in Antarctica!) we should take every possible precaution, and educate ourselves thoroughly first!

How a Limiting Belief Impacts Our Lives

The first place that we see the impact of restrictive beliefs is in patterns of behavior.

If you believe that you can only achieve a certain level of education, income, or popularity, your actions are going to reflect this.

While empowering beliefs encourage you to keep trying and to stay focused on what you want rather than the obstacles, limiting beliefs tell you the opposite.

After all, what is the point in trying if you are convinced that there is no way you are going to succeed?

Limiting Beliefs Feel Awful

Believing that you can’t succeed, find love or express your creativity doesn’t just stop you from taking steps to allow these things to actually happen, it also feels terrible.

Try thinking a thought like, “I will never get out of debt/find a partner/graduate…,” and feel the way that can produce a painful squeezing sensation in your gut.

Then see how you feel when you contemplate more empowering ideas such as, “I can gradually find ways to be more optimistic,” and notice whether this releases any of the tension.

If you are really stuck in a negative frame of mind in a certain area, then trying to be more optimistic on that topic might be a tricky process.

Sometimes, you have to begin training your thoughts on easier subjects. If you put your mind to it, you can almost always find something to feel more open and hopeful about.

Limiting Beliefs Limit What Comes to You

If you are used to believing that you can only attract a partner who treats you badly, or a job that you dislike, it is highly unlikely that you have an adoring partner or a fabulous job.

If you believe that you can’t have something you want, this belief literally prevents you from having it.

Law of Attraction states that people, things, and circumstances are drawn together by a similar energy. This energy is produced by focus and attention, which is why a belief in the lack or difficulty of something perpetuates or even increases that lackful or difficult experience.

On the Flip-Side

Just as a focus on limitation creates more limitation, attention to the ideas of growth, abundance, success, and happiness open the floodgates to more experiences that match these ideas.

If you know that your beliefs are keeping you in patterns of behavior, emotion and life experience that are less than what you truly want, start exploring the possibility of adjusting those beliefs.

Just deciding that you would like your beliefs to help you open up to new possibilities is a vital first step to this becoming a reality for you.   

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