Last week we talked about goal setting and sticking to a plan. This week we are going to pick up where we left off with exploring limiting beliefs. This topic is heavy and requires a lot of introspection. I’m not a therapist, I have no answers here, but I want to share with you my thoughts on the matter. This exploration is literally Step Zero which sets the scene for new beliefs and affirmations.
My hope is to spark the conversation about limiting beliefs and where they come from. If you feel moved by this post leave a comment below to continue the conversation. I think limited beliefs come from how we are raised and the people who are around us but what say you?
What are limiting beliefs?
As I understand it, limiting beliefs are beliefs that keep us stuck: keeps us from achieving our dreams, destroys our self confidence, and limits our ability to grow and be successful. These beliefs can be devastating and oftentimes these self-defeating beliefs can come from our parents, teachers, society, and religious institutions.
Example of limiting beliefs and how we feel about abilities:
I’m too dumb to go to college
I’m not fit for motherhood even though I want a family.
Who planted those seeds of doubt? These seeds of doubt come into our brains early sometimes early in childhood. Seeds of doubts are planted by such strong influences and powerful sources. Seeds grow into beliefs.In a way (at that time) they have tremendous power over us. What they say about us MUST be true, the good and ESPECIALLY the bad. It is unfortunate that seeds of doubt are often internalized and mold our beliefs about our capabilities.
What beliefs hold you back
Before we even begin to figure if we have limiting thoughts or beliefs, we have to examine our childhood and see how we were raised. I’m not one to be against structure and standards/guidelines, but…when things are too strict, it doesn’t give the child the tools or confidence to grow. Sometimes parents can put kids inside boxes.
Like when you are pushed into a certain profession for the family business even though that is not what you want to do. Or you must dress like “this” or dress like “that” because this is how a “good man” and a “good woman dresses”. Or worse yet, instead of giving you constructive criticism your parents criticize you harshly. Sometimes parents don’t realize the weight of the words they carry.
You might suffer from a sense of poor self worth and without knowing it you have been put into a box.
Why is it hard to get out the box?
Shaming tactics and praise keep people in boxes. Early in our lives shame and praise also comes from the same people I mentioned earlier. Those tactics and praise shape our behaviors and keep us in line.
Shaming tactics are used a lot. My favorite is how it is used against mothers. As a mom, man, the shaming tactics come quick and easy and sometimes wrapped in singsong voices. Mothers are judged by the way we raise our children. There are clear rules that good mothers must follow. For new moms especially the questioning and judging is neverending:
- Will you breastfeed or give formula, oh please don’t give formula.
- You’ve already started working out, isn’t that bad for the baby?
- You shouldn’t be breastfeeding out in the open, please cover up?
- You are going back to work so soon, why?
There’s literally no limits of questioning a new mom. I’m fairly fortunate because I raised my kids hundreds of miles from my family, so I was able to do my thing without too much input. But shame is always lurking even when family isn’t around.
It is all about getting to the roots
Questioning current thought can be the best way to break free of limiting beliefs. Ask yourself some of these questions:
Why do we think we can only wear certain things?
What is a good mom? Why do we think a good mom is only a certain type of mom?
Older women can’t wear (insert some fashion taboo)?
Is self care too much for me?
If I don’t wanna make my bed, why do I feel so guilty?
Our childhoods do shape us. And breaking free of those limits means breaking from the need for praise and the weight of shaming tactics. Just like shaming tactics, praise and approval tactics can also be limiting depending on how it is used. Are you or anybody you know a people pleaser? Welp, there you go.
You have to really be self assured, be rooted in your own beliefs and actions, and have the ability to listen yet decline to advice. It isn’t always easy I’ll tell you next week,u that. Finding your voice is key and that is what has worked for me.
I’ll see you guys