It’s taken my entire life to realize that I’m in control of what I believe. And for the most part, all those beliefs I’ve held for decades are complete and total bullsh*t. And yours are too.
Just hear me out.
We all have our own belief systems, and these were formed when we were young. Through our families, experiences, events, and acquired knowledge, we created this little set of beliefs for our life. And most of the time, we are completely unaware of them. But they’re there, running in the background and controlling our every move, whether we like it or not.
So what’s the big deal? We all believe in different things. That’s what being an individual is.
What if I told you many of those beliefs—those thoughts we’ve had all our lives and didn’t even know it—were keeping us from greatness, from getting what we really want from life? Perhaps you’ve heard the term “limiting beliefs.”
Limiting beliefs are beliefs that hold us back, limit our efforts or desires, prevent us from seeing how awesome we actually are, and keep us stuck focusing on the negatives. These limiting beliefs are limiting our potential, silently sabotaging our best efforts.
A belief is “an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.”
But the thing to remember is that beliefs don’t actually require proof. You don’t need evidence or scientific proof to believe in something. And that’s where we get in trouble.
Our whole lives we’ve believed certain things about ourselves—negative things with no actual proof. We’re basing these beliefs on our own life experiences, our family, friends, culture, society, and so on. Which, if you ask me, makes us pretty effing biased.
So what are these limiting beliefs?
Think of those thoughts that pop in your head when you’re not feeling great about yourself, or when you really want to achieve something but you’re hesitating.
I’m too _______ to do that.
I’m not __________ enough.
I don’t deserve it.
Bad things always happen to me.
Anything sound familiar? Limiting beliefs can be (ironically enough) limitless and apply to all parts of our lives. The worst part is that we may not even be aware that they’re there. They like to hang out in our subconscious and play on repeat, hoping we’ll never hit the stop button.
And that’s why I call bullsh*t. Because we do have a stop button. We don’t have to listen to some crappy internal cassette forever. You absolutely can turn off that tape and put in a better soundtrack.
Since beliefs don’t actually require any proof, that also means they can be changed. They aren’t fact. They’re just things that we’ve assumed were true because of whatever happened in our lives. And as humans, we have this tendency to stick to negative beliefs. Our brains really like to stay focused on the negative as a protective measure.
Back in the caveman days, our brains were constantly scanning and focusing on anything that could be negative or dangerous. We were on high alert and fine-tuned to be on the lookout for anything menacing or threatening. That’s how we survived. We constantly looked at the dark side of things: Could this hurt me? Could this be poisonous? Could this eat me?
Fast-forward to today and, for most of us, imminent danger in our daily lives is pretty close to nil. But that instinct to see everything as perilous is still there. The good news is we can actually do something about it! We don’t have to spend our lives in fear of what’s around the corner. We can change those beliefs. We can drop the bullsh*t.
In order to change a belief, we first need to identify it. Look inside and poke around and listen to that little Debbie Downer voice. Once identified, it’s time to put it under the microscope. We can ask ourselves these questions:
Where do you think this belief came from?
Do you actually believe it? Like, really believe it?
Do you have proof that it’s true? Actual, unbiased, third-party kind of proof?
What would you rather believe instead?
When we start looking inward at those beliefs that are holding us back, we can actually begin the process of changing them. Just by acknowledging their existence, we’ve taken the first step to clearing those limiting beliefs. And when we start to see them pop back into our lives, we can recognize them for what they are and let them go again.
It takes time, practice, and patience to clear those limiting beliefs. But, eventually, you will find that for the most part, those beliefs were all bullsh*t.