The problem with self-limiting beliefs is that they can be so sneaky. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that these little negative ideas are lurking in the shadows. Other times we’re aware of them yet don’t recognize what they really are – roadblocks that hold us back!
The list below is by no means comprehensive, but it should be enough to give you a start. It even includes a few as fill-in-the blanks to make it more personal.
Notice how many on the list are cliches. These are phrases we’ve heard for so many years we don’t even question whether they are true, or if there might be some underlying negative meaning.
For one example, if you’re old enough you probably heard your parents say “Waste not, want not!”. On the surface that’s fine. Personally, I like being a good steward of the earth and hate to waste anything. However, there is also a negative aspect of that. It came from people who grew up in or shortly after the Great Depression. For most people in those days, extreme scarcity was the norm. For them, that cliche was a dire warning that said “there isn’t enough, there is never enough!”. It was all about lack, lack, lack!
The Limiting Beliefs List
Read through the ideas below, then give it some thought. What can you add to your own personal list?
The Old Stand-Bys (In No Particular Order)
It’s too late.
I wouldn’t know where to start.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
I’m not the type to be self-motivated.
I’m a procrastinator.
I have too many other responsibilities.
I should be farther along by now.
If I get my hopes up I’ll just be disappointed.
It has never worked before.
I’ve never been able to finish anything.
No one else has ever done it.
I can’t get organized.
I’ve never been able to manage my time well.
I’m not outgoing enough.
I’m not self-confident.
If people really knew me, they wouldn’t like me.
I can’t feel good about myself without other people’s approval.
I’ll never be happy until that other person changes. (spouse, parent, child, ex, friend…)
It’s selfish to put my own needs before those of my family and friends.
It’s selfish to enjoy life while other people are suffering.
Nothing ever really changes.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
I don’t deserve to be happy because I’m not really a good person.
I’m always late.
I’m a terrible cook.
Give somebody an inch and they will take a mile.
Men are weak.
Women are weak.
Men can’t be trusted.
Women can’t be trusted.
Love never lasts anyway.
I never have good luck.
I always get sick in winter.
Life is hard.
Fill In The Blank
All women are ______________.
Women only like ______________.
Women don’t like men who are _______________.
All men are ______________.
Men only like ______________.
Men don’t like women who are _______________.
Limiting Beliefs Related to Money
Money is the root of all evil.
Money is not that important. It’s only money.
Money is there to be spent.
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
I’m just not good with money.
My family has never been rich.
There is only so much money to go around.
The only way to get wealth is to work really hard.
Time is money.
You can be rich, or you can be happy.
You can be rich, or you can be healthy.
It’s selfish to want to be rich when so many people are poor.
It’s better to give than to receive.
If I became wealthy, my friends wouldn’t like me any more.
The Single Self-Limiting Belief That Covers It All
Did any of the above sound way too familiar? Don’t worry, and whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up about it.
The intent here is not to make you feel bad. Nor is it to belittle or make light of your feelings. We’ve all experienced times when there is no denying that yes, life really is hard, at least in that particular situation or circumstance or moment. Trying to deny or “shout down” your feelings is ridiculous, and that isn’t the point.
Rather, the purpose of providing this list of self-limiting beliefs is to raise your awareness, to bring your attention to the source of what your little inner voice is saying. Becoming more aware of what’s happening is a huge first step.
Acknowledge your feelings and be kind to yourself. At the same time, though, beware of bad feelings that have no real basis, those that come from your little inner voice spouting off put-downs that aren’t even true. Hopefully you’ll start to realize when these beliefs rear their ugly little heads. Over time you can even learn to stop letting them control your decisions and actions.
Overcoming limiting beliefs sounds simple enough, but it isn’t always easy. Since many of our beliefs are rooted in childhood, we’ve been subjected to years and years of negative mental programming. All that doesn’t get reversed overnight.
For more helpful information you can check out this related article (on this website):
- What Past Experience Is Still Controlling You? – How childhood experiences make a lasting imprint on the subconscious mind, and what you can do about it. (includes Zig Ziglar’s flea training story)
The amount of self-help information on the web is overwhelming. Unfortunately, much of it ranges anywhere from misleading to totally worthless. I provide the following only as possible suggestions.
You may want to check out these articles from around the web:
- A Harvard Psychologist Shows How to Change Those Limiting Beliefs You Still Have About Yourself, Inc.
- 4 Steps to Release “Limiting Beliefs” Learned From Childhood, Psychology Today
- How To Use Empowering Beliefs To Overcome Limiting Beliefs And Find Freedom”, Forbes Magazine
To go much more in depth, one source I would consider is Tony Robbins. He is a very well-known business and personal coach who has helped millions through his work. If that sounds like an ad, it isn’t meant to be. I am not a Tony Robbins affiliate and earn nothing from him. I just happen to like his work and think he offers his clients a reasonably good value. The information at these links is free, and you can decide for yourself whether you want to go any further:
- How to Overcome Your Limiting Beliefs – includes free ebook you can download
- The Complete Guide to Limiting Beliefs
You can certainly do your own searches. You’ll usually find sites that provide some information for free, and more if you join their mailing list. Many also offer either paid subscriptions or programs to buy outright. You should be able to judge from the free material whether their paid programs will interest you.
My advice, never spend money on any self-help program unless it offers a money-back guarantee. Most of the programs I’ve seen are quite expensive. You should have a reasonable amount of time to go through at least some of the information to determine whether it is actually worth the price they are asking.