Beliefs are your perceptions that are built upon old memories of pain and pleasure, and define what you consider as truth. These memories are based on how you have interpreted and emotionalized your experiences. Beliefs are the assumptions you make about yourself, the things, the people around you and about how you expect things to be in your world. Do you have all these theories, ideas, and explanations about how things are and how they ought to be?
Beliefs are not facts! However, some beliefs that become really deep can be mistaken as facts. These beliefs are often nothing more than conclusions you have drawn based on your past experiences. Beliefs can be broken down into three categories.
These rules are not exactly beliefs, but rather the rules that support your beliefs. You believe something because you believe in a certain set of rules which design the belief you end up considering accurate and truthful. Psychological rules aim to satisfy your pain and pleasure responses.
In each decision you are making, your subconscious asks whether making this decision or acting in a specific way will result in pain or pleasure. Whichever decision and/or action you are taking, it provides you with insights into the underlying hidden beliefs that are at the core of that particular psychological rule of yours.
You are about to have a presentation to the management team. This presentation needs time, needs effort and can be challenging. It can be really stressful to present to your managers and many difficult questions might occur. However, you know that if this presentation will go well, that you will be promoted to your desired position. When it comes to this situation, there are two options, either you will start the presentation right now or you will procrastinate until the night before. The first option might cause some pain, while the second one might bring some temporary relief. And now you can think:
What will happen if I do the presentation now?
What will happen after the presentation?
Your psychological rules are the main factor which is driving your decision. If let’s say you will decide to procrastinate the presentation, some beliefs that might be hidden are:
“I don’t really deserve any promotion.”
“I am not a good presenter.”
“I will fail.”
“The management team doesn’t like me.”
Some rules you may have:
“I should never try something that I am not sure I will achieve.”
“Risks will not help me.”
As a result of one or more of your rules and beliefs, you choose the specific option, instead of taking action immediately.
Global beliefs are generalizations you make about things, about people, and about life. Global beliefs are assumptions you make which usually begin with:
Global beliefs are things you don’t think thoroughly about. You usually accept them as being the truth, and you stop questioning that things could be different. Actually, most of the time you are not aware of the assumptions you have chosen that form the basis of your reality, because they might have been rooted since you were a kid and you might carry them from your family.
You might think that you are not capable of committing to a relationship, because the people you meet are not trustworthy. This indeed might be true, not everyone is trustworthy, however this is far from being generalized to “everyone you meet”. This global belief that you cannot trust any of your romantic partners, might have been rooted since a young age. Your parents might have had some trust issues as a couple. So you have concluded that it is almost impossible to find someone to trust.
It is important to understand that this is a limiting belief of yours, which actually might have served you pretty well so far in your life and with your past relationships. Although, this might not be helpful anymore.
Take some minutes and reflect on your global beliefs:
Which are your global beliefs?
Does this global belief serve you today?
What opportunities does it deny you in the present moment?
Convictions are your strongest beliefs, and the most logical ones. Convictions are the beliefs that you have built over a lifetime that have numerous references supporting them. You become very certain of their accuracy, you are dedicated to these beliefs, to those beliefs you have the most thought, time and energy.
The biggest disadvantage of the convictions, is exactly the time, the energy and the thought you have put, this makes them very difficult to be recognized. The way you can recognize them is to observe and reflect on your habitual patterns. If you become aware of your habits then it will be much easier for you to understand what your convictions are and how they influence your life.
Convictions can be beneficial or they can sabotage yourself and your future. That’s why you should reflect on your habits, to understand your own patterns, to stop what is not serving you anymore and to keep what is helpful for your progress and to achieve your goals.
Now, you must have a much clearer picture of what your beliefs are and how your beliefs form your actions and the life you live. Let’s emphasize now the limiting beliefs.
Limiting beliefs are the stories you keep telling yourself of who you are, of what you are capable of and of what you are not capable of. Limiting beliefs affect every area of your life and can hold you back in a variety of ways. Understanding the background of limiting beliefs matters in order to solve them.
It is important to work on your limiting beliefs to achieve your goals. Do you know that limiting beliefs is one of the main reasons why people fail achieving their goals? In order to achieve your goals, they should align with your life’s purpose, your core values and the six human needs. It is crucial that you understand that the process of managing your limiting beliefs is not a straightforward journey, nor an overnight change.
What do limiting beliefs look like in your daily life?
As in the example with the presentation to the management team, you might often repeat phrases in your head (yes, even subconsciously) like “I am not capable of presenting in front of them.”. This becomes a habit and ends up as part of your way of perceiving things.
Creation of labels
You create labels for specific situations and actions. Again, in the example of the presentation, you almost automatically consider that presenting in the management team is “hard”. This adjective is your label towards the specific situation. Try to take a step back and observe where you put labels (either positive or negative) and you might find really interesting things about how you think about some actions.
Some examples of limiting beliefs can be:
“If I am my real self, I will be rejected by others.”
“If I fall in love, my heart will be broken.”
“If I ask for help, the others will judge me as weak.”
“If I trust someone, they will take advantage of me, and they will betray me.”
“If I will chase my X dream, I will fail because I am not capable enough.”
How to recognize your limiting beliefs?
Write down in detail all your beliefs. It would be helpful to group them per “section”. You can use the following:
And you can add as many as you consider important for your life. Some guiding questions you might use can be:
What resistance are you feeling inside while you think about the X goal?
What unhelpful habits are you having?
What specifically is getting in the way?
What excuses do you tend to use?
What kind of things do you tend to complain about, or blame others for?
Do I have any values that are in conflict with my goals?
Along with them, you may find this journal useful to have guided reflection.
Again, remind yourself that overcoming your limiting beliefs is not a quick journey. You need to be persistent and be vulnerable with yourself in order to recognize your beliefs. If you really want to achieve even your wildest dreams, start today to work on your limiting beliefs. You will see an enormous change in your mindset and the ways you act. It can be a small step as identifying the number one limiting belief you have in your life
Believe in yourself! All people have unlimited potential. Yes, you are capable of achieving anything you want. Start today your mindset changing journey!