How to Overcome the Limiting Beliefs that Hold You Back
Faith is where I draw so much of my inspiration and it is the nexus of my knowledge, happiness and actions. I live by faith, which I view as my belief in myself, belief in others and my belief in God. As I’ve matured, I’ve realized the importance of trusting my intuition, believing in my present and having faith that my future will align with the goals and dreams I set for myself.
How about you? Where are you currently in your “faith life”? Ah, see, I threw a curve ball in there. For many people, faith and religion are inextricably linked, synonymous with one another as much as peanut butter is with jelly. Faith is often perceived as in a religious context as the belief in a Higher Power, the dogma or adherence to a particular set of beliefs. As a result, it’s often undervalued.
But this column is not about religion, nor is it about easy-to-make, tasty sandwiches. It’s about the beliefs that shape your mind and in turn, shape your life. Here is how the good folks over at Merriam-Webster define faith:
- a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
- 2a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof <clinging to the faith that her missing son would one day return> (2) : complete trust
Notice that it isn’t until the second definition of faith that we see any mention of God or the belief in doctrines of religion. In the first definition, I choose to focus on the “fidelity to one’s promises.” In the second definition, I love the two words, “complete trust.” This is when we’re on our game in integrating faith into our life. It is here that we believe and do so with confidence.
The Value of Faith
Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof. — Khalil Gibran
Faith permeates our thinking, speech and actions, as it is the agent responsible for giving life to all that we do. In life, we take our thought impulses and back them with faith both in speech and action. We inherently live by faith in aiming for acceptance and in being a member of society.
Faith is often substituted with other values like courage and confidence. Confidence and courage spring from faith in ourselves and others, as well as the causes or actions we feel inspired or compelled to take. Preparation leads to confidence and confidence is essential for living at the peak of self-actualization. The bedrock of confidence is belief in yourself.
Without faith, we could not love! We cannot give of ourselves to someone else, the precious sacrifice called love, without first imagining that it is possible, then believing it into being. Our thoughts give rise to our function and in order to commit the action of love, we must first believe in what we’re doing. This implies that we believe in ourselves and in the individual who will receive our love!
A Story to Tell
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” — Henry Ford
I didn’t believe I was ready. I didn’t believe I could. So I nearly missed out on the love of my life. That’s the short version of how I lost my wife, only to find her again and end up marrying her. Two years before tying the knot, I broke up with my wife for what I thought was the final time. I simply didn’t believe in myself enough. I was immature, selfish and aimless in my direction.
For the ensuing year, which at times felt like an eternity, I dove into what became the deepest, most introspective thought of my lifetime. I cut out a lot of “time wasters” like wasting time on the Internet, partying too often and frankly, flying by the seat of my pants through life. I began planning thing out. In many ways, the rebirth of my writing career occurred.
This personal development was ego-bruising and humbling. But I derived so much value from it, as it helped me regain my mental and emotional footing. I matured and started to make better sense of all that I had been through and the changes I had started to integrate into my life. I hadn’t come all the way yet, but I was on my way. And I knew I had to keep going.
My biggest turnaround was simply believing that I was ready to be a husband to my wife. Believing that I was ready to wholeheartedly embrace life’s journey with her. It was faith first! It was the belief that we belonged together and that I had what it took to be the man I desired deep down. So, I took a shot and tried re-connecting with her.
It wasn’t easy but gradually, slowly but surely, I won back her trust by demonstrating faith in her, as well as fidelity to my belief in myself. I stopped hindering my mind with limiting beliefs. The rest, as they say, is history.
Belief Precedes Action
When you look in the mirror and say, ‘I love you,’ don’t worry if you don’t believe it yet. Love is far more powerful than your limiting beliefs. — Cheryl Richardson
It takes courage and presence of mind to have the willingness to adjust your way of thinking when life presents you with adversity. You either evolve or you stay where you are. Part of the evolution process in thought, particularly when we’ve made mistakes, is forgiveness. Forgiveness is one of life’s strongest weapons for people who keep an open mind.
Forgiveness does not just apply to those who have hurt or wronged you. It applies to the relationship that you have with yourself. Learn to forgive yourself — give yourself a break from self-criticism and limiting beliefs. These limiting beliefs hold you back from reaching your biggest goals, living with clarity of mind and experiencing loving, fulfilling relationships.
I decided to emphasize some steps
Steps for Empowering Beliefs :
- Create time — ideally at the beginning of your day, to set the tone — for inspired, believing thoughts
- Give life to your thoughts and beliefs with enthusiasm and ambition
- Lock those thoughts in by believing in yourself and in the people in your life. Think about these relationships throughout your day.
- Believe in yourself to follow the path that leads to achieving your goals. Be accepting that you won’t understand or know in advance each step of the process but that you won’t doubt yourself and of course, that you’ll never give up
Obstacles to Living with Belief:
- Negative mindset
- Feeling like you are stuck and cannot move forward
- Feeling like you have nothing to look forward to
- Difficult circumstances (Misfortune in your life: losing a job, family member or friend that is ill, “information asymmetry” or feeling of uncertainty and being so close, yet thinking you are so far)
Remember: we all get what we tolerate. So stop tolerating excuses within yourself, limiting beliefs of the past, or half-assed or fearful states. — Tony Robbins
I’ve had plenty of conversations with business professionals, friends and famous people that currently — or at a previous point — simply could not see a way forward because they were so focused on doubting themselves in the present. Their biggest enemy was the way they perceived themselves or how their company, fans or circle of friends saw them.
It took a step outside of their arena to realize how valued they were by the outside world and to realize how much they had accomplished. It was then that they could better value themselves. Limiting beliefs are often derived from when we are too tough on ourselves. If we fall short of lofty expectations, our worlds come crashing down.
It’s one thing to set goals, it’s much different to live in dismay and heartbreak if things don’t work out exactly according to our plan! Because what is a plan, anyway? It’s a set of marching orders. It’s a road map or game plan. Well, guess what?
Road maps don’t always account for detours.
And game plans are meant to be adjusted if victory in not in the cards.
It’s with this understanding we come to realize that we are often so close to victory, we can practically taste it, yet we don’t always realize it. It’s then that we must stop blaming ourselves. It does us no good to think that our world has come crashing down and we’re back at square one.
We may be 97% of the way there but think about it: in what challenging endeavor — where you have succeeded — did that final 3% come easy? Nothing worth achieving ever comes easy. It’s the hard that makes it great! It’s the hard that teaches us, refines us and works toward perfecting and steeling our mindset.
Don’t make things harder than they need to be. Don’t limit your thoughts, which limit your creativity. Don’t limit your beliefs about who you are, because it disrespects your past (all you’ve accomplished), undermines your present (living with self-confidence in the moment) and damages your future prospects which are born from the confidence, daring and faith of now.
You will lose and lose mightily if you trudge on with a lack of confidence or frustration from your current circumstance. Sure, we all have to experience suffering and lows in order to reach the high peaks of happiness. Despite how much I write about optimism as a mindset, I’d be a charlatan if I told you that I didn’t have moments of doubt or times of negativity. I do. All of us do.
It’s the believers who reduce these times to mere passing moments — mile markers on the highway that soon fade into our rear-view, as they give way to the vast new horizons on our landscape. These vast horizons are the empowering feelings of self-belief, self-motivation and enthusiasm for our position in life. From that vantage point, there’s no limit to what you can do.
Please be so kind as to share with others and recommend my piece if you enjoyed reading. Also, please consider following me here on Medium! I encourage you to reach out to me and share your thoughts, if you wish. Subscribe to my newsletter via my website and Like my Facebook writer’s page! My book, A Values-Based Approach to Living will be out in Spring 2017. I’m so grateful for all of your support as I live out my journey. I fully support yours. Keep Going!