Limiting Beliefs - Why We Keep Them and How to Get Rid of Them

Our brains like to contribute thoughts to us that don’t serve us very well. 

There are a lot of fancy reasons why, things that have to do with our “primitive” brains and our “pre-frontal cortex,” but for our purposes, it’s just helpful to know that every thought that we think is NOT a fact.

Sometimes they are just sentences in our heads.

And those sentences can be optional.

Cool beans.

Many times these sentences come in the form of a limiting belief about ourselves or others and usually sound like a complaint. They also create a very familiar, and often, unpleasant emotion.

Like this:

  • “I’m not enough. I need to be fixed!” And that thought makes us feel terrible. 

  • Or. “He’s a jerk.” And that thought makes us feel justified and superior.

  • Or maybe we have a thought like, “We’re so busy. There’s not a lot of time.“ which makes us feel powerless or even overwhelmed.

Often, when this kind of thought occurs to us, we just want to crawl under the covers and sleep. Or buffer with a Netflix binge. Or cookies. As long as they are the chocolate chip kind, with LOTS of chocolate chips.

Warning: This is the part where we need to take a good look at ourselves. It might just make you a teensy bit uncomfortable. But that’s o.k., right?

Pain = Gain, as they say.

There’s an ugly side to hanging onto these beliefs. We get lots of payoffs. Like being RIGHT! We get to make others wrong. We get to be in control, or maybe we get to avoid a situation where we are the ones feeling controlled. Here’s a good one. We get to totally JUSTIFY our behaviors because everybody else is wrong. 


O.k. I said it. It wasn’t that bad, right? 

Oh. And there are winners and losers. We forget that we don’t need to create sides. 

Nothing works when that happens. It’s so much better when when everybody wins? Right?

Unless it’s The Utes playing BYU. (Just kidding.)

ANYWAY… the bottom line, when you really look at it, is the fact that all of the above is a simple math problem. And with payoffs, we have costs, too, which can seem just as terrible. (Hint…none of this is terrible. It just IS. We get to do with it what we want and kick it to the curb.) aka. FREEDOM! 


Here’s the sum total of the costs that occur when we hang onto those limiting beliefs. 

We lose out on love. And connectedness. And our vitality suffers. And our well-being is compromised. Let alone our ability to share ourselves openly with the world (let alone the person we are having our complaint about.) And we are left feeling less than satisfied and we are certainly not fulfilled.

Oh, and you might want to ask yourself THIS question…

“If I choose to keep this thought, what is my most probable, almost certain future?”

Maybe it’s worth letting our limiting beliefs go. Cleaning up anything they have caused for someone else in our lives. Or with ourselves. (It’s called repentance and forgiveness.) And it really isn’t as hard as we think.

I learned this from my daughter a few weeks ago. She told her dad (who needed to do a little apologizing to my sister because he was annoyed that she forgot how to turn off our alarm and the police were called. Oops. AND not a big deal, but he thought it was. haha.) She said, “Dad. Saying your sorry really isn’t as hard as it seems. It only takes a second or two. And afterwards, it’s SO great. All of the awkwardness leaves the room and everyone just gets to move on! Perfection.

Wow. What a concept!

After we’ve cleaned something up, either with someone else or ourselves, I like to use a little trick I learned at The Landmark Forum. For those of you who may not know what that is, it’s a self-development program that lasts a weekend. A weekend well-worth my time, even though I got a little tired of sitting on their hard chairs. Come on people. Cushions next time.

ANYWAY…try this out…

I am creating the possibility for myself and my life of BEING __________________________, _________________, and ___________.

Enough would be a good one. Or how about, Powerful. Or Content.  And then look for ways to BE that commitment.

It is like magic. Your brain will have a job. And it has a job anyway, my friends. It is always up there working away at trying to prove the sentences in our heads as true. Why don’t we give it a sentence that is worth the effort it’s going to put out anyway…as this type of effort is going to give you a result that you actually want!

To learn how to do this effectively, go to my home page and click on the button that says, “FREE COURSE.” It’s just a little conversation, no pressure, and I listen to your problems and help you figure out a quick way to get them solved.


Sue NelsonComment