Limiting Beliefs - How to Identify Them

I once knew of a woman who, as a little girl, dreamed of being the first female president of the United States. She took it seriously enough that she planned a visit to Washington D.C. with her parents when she was nine years old and had printed business cards in hand to give to the Congressmen and Congresswomen that she met which said "Vote for Me in 2036!" with her full name and contact details on the back.

Somehow that dream faded away and it wasn't until one day in her mid-twenties when someone asked her what as child she dreamed of being when she grew up that the thought came into her head of "why didn't I pursue that?" Immediately a conversation flooded into her mind that she had with a minister when she was twelve. Her family were regular church-goers and one Sunday she told this minister of her plans for policy change -- to which he replied "Oh, dear, you may not want to do that.. Faith is like ice cream and politics is like dog poop - you can't mix them together without ruining the good stuff."

Right there, in that very moment, the young and impressionable girl subscribed to the limiting belief that her spirituality and career could not co-exist.

That exact type of scenario is how limiting beliefs can be created. It is a slippery slope as most of these beliefs come from the past and are deeply ingrained in us. They can stem from a variety of ways, from harmful information from an authority figure to a trauma we experience and try to cope with.

These kinds of thoughts can be things like:
·       I am not worthy
·       I am bad
·       I am unlovable
·       I am not enough
·       I am boring
·       I am evil/sinful
·       I always hurt other people
·       I am worthless
·       I am a mistake
·       I will never be loved for who I am
·       I don't matter

How to Identify Limiting Beliefs
Step 1: Be aware of your thoughts
This next week try to be cognizant of the thoughts drifting through your mind. What is your "self talk" that goes on in the privacy of your own head. Keep a journal of some of the things that you may believe and begin to look into how you structured that belief and came to that particular conclusion (often about yourself).
Step 2: Ask yourself "why do I believe that to be true?"
Following the example of the young women she may have thought "I need to have a career that doesn't conflict with my belief system."
Why do you feel the need to do that?
"Because I would rather please God than follow my own desires."
Why do you believe that following that career desire can displease God?
"Because then I would be sinful"
Why do you see that as sinful"
"Because a minister told me that when I was 12"
Looking at is as an adult, with some distance from the situation, do you believe that to be true?
"I guess not. I can stand up for my convictions and still make a difference in the world through policy change. I don’t have to believe in that dichotomy."
Step 3: Realize that identifying all your limiting belief's won't come to the surface overnight
Give yourself some time and space to let your subconscious mind present these beliefs to you in their own time. It is a lifetime sojourn to learn who we are and how to untangle the pieces of information that no longer serve us. And, if you feel that you want someone on the outside with perspective to listen or weigh in, my door is always open. You can either email me at or call my office at (310) 614-0323.