How to Overcome Limiting and Imprisoning Beliefs

Posted by Todd Smith

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Break The Limit concept

One of life’s greatest tragedies is when people fall short of their potential because of self-limiting or imprisoning beliefs. These are negative statements you’ve said to yourself and repeated so many times you believe they are true.

Examples include such statements as:

I can’t do that because… (something negative)

I can’t be that way because… (something negative)

I will always be…(something negative)

I will never be promoted because… (something negative)

My needs aren’t important because… (something negative)

There’s something wrong with me because… (something negative)

Limiting beliefs are those that limit you or hold you back, while imprisoning beliefs are those that can be destructive to your life and overall well being.

These types of beliefs are caused by a variety of factors. Previous mistakes or failures, a continual focus on faults and weaknesses, and surrounding yourself with negative people can create a breeding ground for developing these destructive beliefs.

Once the seed of a limiting or imprisoning belief is planted in the mind, it’s generally fertilized with negative self-talk. Your self-talk is the internal dialogue you have with yourself. When it gets really negative you say things like “I can’t do anything right,” “I could never do that,” “I will never find the right mate for me,” or some other negative statement.

Changing the conversation

When I started my real estate career at age 23, I remember saying negative things to myself such as, “I am too young. Look at me; I look like I’m 18 years old. Why would any seller select me over a more experienced Realtor?”  These thoughts haunted me every time I went on an appointment. I believed these statements to be true; after all, I was too young.

I then listened to an audiobook by Anthony Robbins titled Unlimited Power. In this book Tony talked about limiting beliefs and how to overcome them. What I learned changed my life, because it changed the conversations I had with myself.

I vowed to never again say anything that would limit me, unless it was a physically limiting truth, such as “I can’t swim around the world.” I then created positive statements for each of my limiting beliefs.

I then went on to sell more than 60 homes my first year and earned more than $250,000. This lesson taught me to NEVER allow myself to say negative things that would limit who I can become or what I can achieve.

Are you ready to be set free from your limiting and imprisoning beliefs?

If you want to be set free from beliefs that are having a negative influence on your life and holding you back from being who you want to be and achieving your goals, follow these three steps:

1. Identify your limiting or imprisoning beliefs. To help you, make a list of your answers to these questions:

  • Do I believe I can be one of the top achievers in my chosen career? If not, list the reasons.
  • When I look at my life, what do I believe can’t be changed?
  • Do I believe I can save enough money to become financially independent? If not, list the reasons.
  • Do I believe I can lose weight and achieve my ideal body? If not, list the reasons.
  • What are my fears that could be holding me back?
  • Do I believe I can find the perfect person with whom to spend the rest of my life? If not, list the reasons.
  • What negative things are going on in my life that I don’t believe will change?
  • Do I believe I am too busy, too tired, too heavy etc., to do something that I would love to do?
  • Do I believe I can enjoy an amazing marriage with my spouse? If not, list the reasons.
  • Do I believe my race, age, or gender is limiting me? If so, list the reasons.
  • Do I believe I can get straight “A’s” in school? If not, list the reasons.
  • Do I believe there is something wrong with me? If so, list the things you think are wrong with you.
  • Do I believe I can have a great relationship with my children or parents? If not, list the reasons.
  • When I look at my future, what do I see? List the negative things that you see.
  • What other questions should I ask myself to identify more limiting or imprisoning beliefs?

As you answer these questions be honest with yourself and list everything that comes to your mind.

2. Challenge your beliefs. This is when you determine if your belief is indeed a fact of truth or a limiting or imprisoning belief.

Go over your list one point at a time. Put “Me” next to all the points that are negative beliefs about yourself as a person and put “Do” next to all the things you don’t believe you are capable of doing.

Then go back over each the points you’ve identified with “Me” and ask yourself, “Is this something that is truly wrong with me or have I come to believe this is true because…?”  Put TRUE or FALSE next to each point. Your goal is to go through your list, being 100% honest with yourself, and determine which of your beliefs are true and false.

Now go over the remaining points with “Do” next to them and ask yourself, “If I was paid one million dollars, could I figure out a way to do it?” If it’s something that would be impossible to do, even if you were given one million dollars, put TRUE.  If you could figure out a way to do it if you were paid one million dollars, put FALSE.

3. Set yourself free. To be set free from these types of limiting beliefs, you must first have the desire to be set free, and then you must reprogram your brain by changing the conversations you’re having about yourself and your abilities.

The most effective process I’ve learned and used throughout my life for overcoming a limiting thought or belief is through positive self-talk and affirmations.

Go over your list and next to each point with “False” next to it, write a positive statement.  Here are some examples:

  • If you wrote down on your “Me” list that you are too young to do something, write, “I am young and full of energy. I will look for ways to use my youth as an advantage to achieve my goals.”
  • If you listed on your “Do” list that you can’t prospect because you fear rejection, write, “I will treat everyone with the utmost respect and present myself and my services in the most professional manner possible. Just as 100% of people don’t like chocolate ice cream, I understand that not everyone is going to choose my services. I will prospect with confidence daily and when I get turned down, I will consider what I could have done better and continue to improve each day.”

Rather than having negative self-defeating conversations, your goal is to have positive life-building conversations.

If you would like to be set free from negative thoughts and emotions and live a life free of self-destructive beliefs, write a positive statement after each the points you listed. When you are done, read this list of positive statements aloud every morning and evening with passion and belief.

If you say these positive statements each day, you will begin to believe them. Over time you will reprogram your mind with new positive beliefs and begin to believe you can do anything.

Protect your new beliefs from negative influences

In addition to reading your positive statements each day, start filling your mind with positive thoughts that will make your life better and distance yourself from negative people. Read books on personal and professional development. Remember, for your life to get better, you must get better.

If there are people in your life who are saying destructive things about you, you have two options. If possible, have a conversation with them. Tell them how their negative words are impacting your feelings towards them and ask that they stop saying destructive things. If a conversation isn’t possible or profitable, simply distance yourself from these people.

If there is something that you’ve been struggling with for a long time, perhaps a painful experience from the past, I encourage you to go to counseling and get the healing you need.

You can live a happy, healthy, and successful life if you focus on your positive attributes and the things you can do.

About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 34 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts.


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