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Limiting Beliefs: Everything You Wanted To Know


A limiting belief is the personal belief we hold about something that is stopping us from achieving fully. Limiting beliefs can arise in any area of our life, and (like most things…) they usually stem from our childhood. This article will answer all the questions you have about limiting beliefs.

In this post we’ll take a closer look at:

  • What Are Limiting Beliefs?
  • Where Do My Limiting Beliefs Come From?
  • The Top 10 Self Limiting Beliefs.
  • How Do I Identify My Limiting Beliefs?
  • Can I Overcome My Limiting Beliefs?
  • How Can I Transform My Limiting Beliefs?

What Are Limiting Beliefs?

A limiting belief is the personal belief we hold about a specific area of our lives that stops us fully achieving. Limiting beliefs are the “stories we tell ourselves” about who we are as individuals which stop us from achieving our full potential in life. If you’re knew to the concept of limiting beliefs then this may sound a little overwhelming. Simply put, a limiting belief is a belief we hold about ourselves which is untrue and holds us back. A quick example of a very common limiting belief would be “I don’t deserve to find love”. This, of course, is untrue and will stop us from finding a long-term partner that we love.

Where Do My Limiting Beliefs Come From?

Like a lot of things that make up who we are as individuals, our limiting beliefs tend to stem from our childhoods. The limiting beliefs we hold are probably very similar to those of our parents. We learn by example and we learn from our environments. If our parents believed and frequently expressed that “I’ll never be able to afford this” or “I’m not smart enough to apply for a new job”, it’s likely that we’ll have picked up similar beliefs.

Understanding where your limiting beliefs come from is the first step in being able to transform them. If you hold a limiting belief because your parents imprinted the same belief onto you as a child, is it really your belief? Do you really believe that, or is it just what you’ve grown up believing?

Our limiting beliefs can also be as a result of situations we’ve experienced which ended less than favourably. If you’ve been on a string of bad dates, for example, your brain may begin to think that you aren’t worthy of a loving relationship. Of course, this isn’t true, those dates were probably just not a good match for you.

The Top 10 Self Limiting Beliefs

Everyone has limiting beliefs. They are a part of being human. We all tell ourselves stories that are untrue and are usually based around fear or rejection. The top 10 self limiting beliefs are:

  • “I don’t deserve to find love” – Rooted in fear of rejection, this limiting belief stops us from finding that Hollywood movie scene type love. The type of love that gives you butterflies from morning until night.
  • “I am not good enough” – This is a biggie. Perhaps you feel like you are not good enough for your partner, or you are not a good enough writer to write a book.
  • “I will never make XYZ amount of money” – Financial limiting beliefs usually revolve around a fear of the unknown and a battle between what you grew up believing and what you want to believe now. If you grew up thinking that money = wealth and wealth = bad, it’s only natural for you told hold limiting beliefs about money.
  • “I can’t change” – Similarly to financial limiting beliefs, not feeling like you are able to change is usually because of a fear of the unknown. People feel comfortable with what they know, and venturing outside of that can be scary.
  • “I don’t have time” – This one is sometimes controversial. Everyone leads very different lives and of course, someone with a full-time job, a side hustle, 4 children and 3 pets will have more responsibilities than someone who is retired. But, it is how you prioritise your time that is important here. You don’t have time or you don’t want to prioritise?
  • “I don’t know how to…” – So many people experience feelings of inadequacy or inferiority because they haven’t mastered a skill. Again, this is a fear of the unknown!
  • “I can’t” – Can’t, or won’t?
  • “I’m too old” – Who sets the age range for accomplishments and achievements? If you are in your 50’s and wanting to pursue a degree in neuroscience or psychology or history, why can’t you? Are you too old, or are you telling yourself you’re too old? There isn’t a cut off point for university, for example.
  • “I’m not smart enough” – There is more than one kind of intelligence. Just because maths isn’t your strong point doesn’t mean you aren’t deserving.
  • “I will just fail anyway” – How do you know if you haven’t tried?

How Do I Identify My Limiting Beliefs?

Identifying your limiting beliefs is an eye-opening process. You begin to recognise patterns and themes of your own thought processes which up until this point, you thought were “just who I am”. It’s a process which can evoke some uncomfortable feelings, but it’s worth it. You may realise that you don’t actually believe some of the things you’ve been telling yourself. There’s also a chance you’ll begin to spot where your limiting beliefs have already held you back. For example, there may have been a time where you didn’t apply for a job because you didn’t think you were “smart enough”. Once you’ve recognised the beliefs you can start to change them.

In order to identify your limiting beliefs, begin to make notes of your thought processes when challenges arise. You may see a job advert, read the job description, and fall in love with the role. Only to tell yourself “I’m not qualified enough”. Make a note of this limiting belief and any similar beliefs each time they surface in your mind. After you’ve identified the common culprits, it will be easier to recognise them in the future. Then you can begin the journey to overcoming them.

Can I Overcome My Limiting Beliefs?

Of course! Once you’ve identified your limiting beliefs, the next time they arise try instead to reframe it with a more empowering belief. Instead of “I’m not qualified enough”, you could try “I’m excited to apply for this job regardless of the outcome, their opinion of my professional opinion doesn’t change who I am, I will find another job anyway”. Begin to set yourself up for success instead of failure.

Practice makes perfect. It won’t be an overnight change, it will be one small step at a time. Small steps add up to long distances. Keep at it until it becomes a habit to reassure yourself with empowering beliefs.

Have you been able to transform your limiting beliefs? How did you do it? I’d love to know!

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