How to Identify & Shift Limiting Beliefs
What is a limiting belief? If you have read self help books, do any kind of mindset work, or have studied manifestation, you probably have heard this term before, but what exactly is a limiting belief and, more importantly, how can you identify and shift them into more empowering thoughts?
In short, a limiting belief is a thought that isn't in alignment with your goals, who you want to be, or the life you desire to live.
The tricky part is that these are thoughts you've been thinking for a while, possibly your whole life, that have become beliefs you sometimes don't even realize are there. They are just running in the background of your mind aka your subconscious. Since you've accepted these beliefs as truth, your analytical mind doesn't question them when they pop in your head and allows these beliefs to dictate your emotions, decisions, actions, habits, and eventually your life.
Here's a quick example...let's say you desire more money in your life. But you believe rich people are greedy, money is the root of all evil, and if you do earn more money it will just be taken by the big scary tax man. So even though you say you want to earn more money, your subconscious is saying the exact opposite with these beliefs. This duality prevents you from thinking of new ways to increase your income, taking more action at work or your business, or doing anything differently to improve your financial situation because your brain doesn't want you to be greedy, evil, or broke again when the IRS takes it all.
So how can you identify what beliefs aren't serving you and more importantly transmute them to empowering ones so they stop sabotaging you? There's a few ways I'll share later in this blog, but first let's discuss a bit where these thoughts that become beliefs even came from.
Where Do Limiting Beliefs Come From?
From the time you are born until the age of 6 years old, your brain is the delta and theta waves. These slower brain waves open up your subconscious which is very susceptible to believe everything (this also happens when you meditate, do breath work, or EFT Tap which is why people use those modalities to access and rewire their subconscious like I am about to teach you.)
Your analytical or conscious mind that lives in the frontal cortex of your brain acts like a filter for your subconscious picking and choosing what you decide to believe is true. Unfortunately, that doesn't really kick in until about 12 years old and doesn't fully develop until age 25.
As a child living with these slower brain waves and lack of a fully functioning frontal cortex, you believed everything you were taught, heard, or saw from your parents, caregivers, teachers, friends, etc. Overtime you accepted it as truth because your frontal cortex wasn't there yet to call "bullsh*t!" and decide what you want to be true for you. This is where some of your limiting beliefs were formed and why it can be so hard to identify them yourself even with a fully developed frontal cortex.
Limiting beliefs may also arise from the experiences you go through and your perception of them at the time, what you hear and see often on tv, social media, etc, or from your friends, family members, or co-workers. This is why it is so important to be aware of who and what you allow into your space as well as what you are thinking, feeling, and choosing to believe.
Luckily, the more you become the gentle observer of your thoughts, quiet your mind, and do this inner work, the easier it is to acknowledge the limiting beliefs, alchemize them into empowering ones, and affirm them until your subconscious runs them on auto-pilot. Here's a few ways to start that process...
IDENTIFYING LIMITING BELIEFS
Take some time to get quiet with your brain and real with yourself. A lot of the time we are too busy to even really pay attention to our thoughts which makes it even easier for the unhelpful ones to slip through, get played on repeat, and become a belief. So get cozy, grab your journal, and let's dive into your brain together! First, let's get clear on your goals or the life you want to create through visualization and notice what thoughts & emotions come up. After you are done daydreaming use the first two prompts below.
*prompts taken from Manifested It! The Journal week 2. Click here to learn more!
Another really powerful journaling practice is to make association lists for a variety of different words! Basically anything that comes to mind when you see the words I am about to share with you get's written down so you can slowly go through the lists and see which thoughts on that topic are serving you and which can be shifted. Grab another piece of paper and write whatever pops in your head when you read....
That should be a pretty good list to get you started! You may have already identified a few beliefs that aren't in alignment with your goals or who you want to be just from doing those exercises! Acknowledging is the first step to shifting them. Continue with the rest of the journal prompts and see if you can alchemize them into more empowering thoughts that you can then affirm into beliefs. (This blog on the 3 A's outlines this process more and I will explain it further in this blog as well)
If you haven't acknowledged any limiting beliefs popping up yet, that's okay! Like I said, these are thoughts you've been believing for awhile and it can be hard to identify them on your own. This is why I offer 90 Minute Tap Through Sessions on a variety of subjects so you can get another perspective to help you see the not so helpful thoughts and shift them with EFT Tapping. Click here for more details and to see if you would benefit from this type of coaching.
You may also recognize throughout your day certain thoughts or even things you hear from others that don't feel good or align with who you want to be. Write them down and come back to this blog to start shifting them when you get the chance! Which takes me to the second way to identify limiting beliefs...
2. Be the Gentle Observer of Your Thoughts (and others!)
Throughout the day you have over 50,000 thoughts. Obviously, it is impossible to acknowledge, alchemize, and affirm all of them at once. But by slowing down once in a while to ask yourself the questions below when talking about anything really, you can start to easily see which ones are serving you and which ones need to be tweaked a bit.
"Do I feel stronger or weaker?"
"Do I feel more or less power?"
"Do I feel expansive or limited?"
"Do I feel more energy or less?"
Any thought that you answered weaker, less powerful, limited, or less energy to is a limiting one you can now use the Three A's or any of the other techniques I am about to share with you to shift them.
You can also use these questions when talking to others, watching TV, or reading the news. This is another great way to recognize what beliefs feel empowering and get to stay or which are ready to be tossed away! Simply ask yourself "Is that in alignment with what I want to believe and experience?" and then take yourself through the questions above to confirm if what you heard, saw, or read is something you want keep.
3. Pause when you say "I am/have", "I always", or "I never"
There will either be super empowering beliefs that follow such as "I am hot af!" and "I always get the job done!" or more limiting beliefs such as "I never win anything!"
When we say the words "I am" the subconscious sees that as part of your identity. It's just who you are and forever will be! Those words combined with "always" or "never" solidifies it even more. Luckily, there is an easy way to shift these beliefs by stacking evidence against them.
For example, if you said "I never win anything!" after losing yet another Instagram giveaway, stop for a second and acknowledge that thought as unhelpful. Then ask yourself "is this ALWAYS true? When did I win something?" and create a list of all the spelling bees, science fairs, sporting events, claw machines, drinking games in college, scratch off tickets, and anything else you have ever won at. This will help you brain to see that statement isn't true and make it even easier to shift that thought like I am about to teach you more!
SHIFTING LIMITING BELIEFS
There are two main techniques to shifting any belief, but multiple ways to do it so I will share my personal favorites I use for myself and clients! Once you acknowledge some beliefs you'd like to rework using the tips above, you can either use repetition or rewiring, or a combination of both, to shift these thoughts into more helpful ones!
1. Repetition with the Three A's
We briefly touched on the Three A's - acknowledge, alchemize, and affirm - already in this blog and there is an entirely separate blog and Youtube training from my course Manifested It! on this topic so I am going to give you another example so you can see it in action!
Goal/desire: meeting the one and living happily ever after
Limiting Belief: When scrolling through Tinder you think to yourself, "it is so hard to find a good partner these days! There's just no one worth dating out there anymore"
Acknowledge: Pause for a second and recognize that thought isn't in alignment with what you desire aka finding a partner. You could say to yourself "Hmmm this thought isn't serving me."
Alchemize: Now is your chance to transform this belief into one that does align with your goals. You can do this by asking yourself "is that really true? What's a more helpful thought to think?" It may also be helpful to search for evidence like we discussed above to prove to your brain this isn't true. Maybe you'll think of your friends that just got engaged or that nice person you met at work!
Affirm: Lastly, decide what your new empowering thought is and repeat it until your brain believes it! In this example, maybe your affirmation will be "there is so many interesting and new people out there I haven't even met yet!" or "I'll meet the one at the perfect time. I love being surprised by the Universe with my desires!". Now anytime that limiting thought from before pops up simply repeat your affirmation to shift your thoughts.
Again, I want to emphasize how important repetition is! The more you repeat the new affirmation, the more your neurons fire together and eventually wire together to turn this phrase into a belief for you. Try writing it on sticky notes around your home or program it as a reminder in your phone so you don't forget to say it! Use your new affirmation for at least a week before changing it or adding another one. This will give your brain time to fully embody and believe it!
2. Rewiring with EFT Tapping
If you notice a difference with the Three A's after using your new affirmation for a week and that old limiting belief doesn't pop up anymore, you may be able to skip this step since your brain has probably already rewired to that new way of thinking. BUT some beliefs are more deeply routed or complex and require a bit more reworking. This is where I like to bring in Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Tapping!
EFT Tapping uses acupressure points on the body to calm the brain into alpha and theta waves which quiets the analytical mind and opens up your subconscious. This combined with talking through the limiting belief and repeating certain phrases or affirmations helps to rewire the neurons responsible for the limiting belief. You can read more about the science, history, and how to use it here!
If you have done EFT Tapping before (maybe every Tuesday with me over on Youtube), you can create your own customized EFT Tapping for your limiting beliefs using this video below! I highly recommend going through the journal prompts above before starting this video so you have an idea where this limiting belief came from and what empowering thoughts you want to shift it to.
If you have never EFT Tapped before and want to see for yourself how powerful this technique is, you can book a 90 Minute Tap Through Session with me (your spiritual bestie and Certified Master EFT Tapping Practitioner) where I lead you through everything I just taught you in this blog!
Together we will chat about your goals and life so I can begin to identify what believes are holding you back. Then I will guide you through a customized EFT Tapping to clear away the limiting beliefs and reprogram more empowering thoughts into your subconscious. Lastly, I will teach how to listen to your intuition and create an aligned action plan to help you begin to work towards and eventually manifest the life you desire!
Remember, repetition is KEY for whichever tips and techniques you use from this blog! You have been listening to your limiting beliefs for years so it may take some to program in those more empowering affirmations and feel an internal shift. Keep doing the work, trusting the process, and returning to these journal prompts or EFT Tapping as needed.
So, what beliefs have you identified and are ready to shift so they stop sabotaging your goals and instead empower you?! If you need ANY help or have questions from this blog, please comment them below or hit me up on Instagram @magically_tarasimone. I am always happy to chat and help in anyway I can!
Until the next blog, stay magical!