Challenging Your Limiting Beliefs


By Dawn Parry

Have you ever broken a cup and found yourself thinking �That�s just typical of me! I�m so clumsy!�? If so, you could be living less than your best life, thanks to your negative belief structure!

Beliefs are thoughts or ideas that are accepted as fact and are no longer questioned. The dictionary definition of a belief is: �A principle accepted as true or real without proof. An opinion, a conviction.� They have great power over us and continually shape the direction of our lives.

But where do they come from? Well, beliefs are formed in childhood and adolescence and come from other people and external sources such as parents, friends, family, teachers, the media and religion. In short, anyone or anything which has ever had influence over us. They are created early in life but then stay with us and influence our behavior throughout the rest of our adult lives.

Children receiving positive encouragement from parents and other influencers will grow up with positive self-beliefs, whereas children who were criticized, ridiculed or blamed are likely to have a far more negative belief structure as adults.

Frighteningly, it is a general rule that children under five receive ten or more negative phrases from their parents for every one positive phrase. Given that the subconscious mind accepts all messages with equal value, is it any wonder that children grow up, erroneously believing negative things about themselves?

The human mind acts as a filter to our perceptions so it accepts information which is in line with our beliefs and filters out anything which does not fit our picture of life. Consequently we often hear negative comments about ourselves whilst simultaneously blocking out any positive ones.

This damaging effect can also work as a self-fulfilling prophecy, in that we tend to get what we expect out of life. A negative belief structure can make us less likely to take risks and live life openly. As Henry Ford once said: �Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't, you're right!�

But the good news is this: we always have the opportunity to revisit, challenge and rewrite our beliefs.

Try writing down a negative statement that you currently believe about yourself, then think of examples from your day-to-day life that prove this belief to be untrue and write them down too. Keep this list then add to it with more positive examples as they occur over the next week. The more evidence you collect, the easier it will be to start accepting that this is in fact just a limiting belief, rather than the truth.

Affirmations are another useful tool to help replace incorrect beliefs - these are positive, personal and present-tense statements which are repeated many times a day and can have a powerful impact on beliefs and consequently behavior.

Negative self-beliefs don�t need to hold us back - we can surrender them and build instead a strong and supportive belief structure from which to grow. And as motivational guru Anthony Robbins says: �The most important opinion a person will ever hold is the one that they hold about themselves�, so why not start improving your opinion of yourself today? Who knows what you will achieve when you do!