- Limiting beliefs are beliefs we hold about ourselves that are not true, and that can hold us back personally and professionally.
- When you find a limiting belief is holding you back, ask yourself 3 simple questions and rewrite the answers as truth statements!
Are your limiting beliefs limiting your growth?
A limiting what? This was my initial reaction the first time I heard the phrase “limiting belief.” I was having a conversation with my personal coach and the term came up several times in conversation. I remember thinking to myself, “what is she talking about?” I’d later come to find out that limiting beliefs were a major factor holding me back personally and professionally in life.
What is a limiting belief?
To put it simply, it’s a story we tell ourselves, that we believe to be true, but when we really break it down, it’s not actually true. Without sounding redundant, it’s a belief that limits us, or holds us back.
And a distinction that is important to make now before we go any further is that even though the beliefs aren’t true, they feel real. They are real, because they are beliefs we have often held onto since we were kids! When I coach educators on how to break down the limiting beliefs that hold us back, the first way I do so is by sharing the following example!
Let’s take a look at an example!
Growing up, I had a belief that in order to be “good” I had to get good grades. It was as simple as that. In my head, if I got 90% or higher, I was a good person. Notice I said person, not student. I based my worth and value on the grades I received. This belief then generalized to other areas too.
- If I couldn’t figure out something the first time, I was a failure.
- If I received feedback that I perceived to be negative at all, then I was a failure.
- If I didn’t do it “perfectly,” I was a failure.
See the pattern? These beliefs held me back because they kept me from trying. More than that, they kept me from growing. Limiting beliefs pop up all the time. If you ever stop and listen to the language you are using, you will quickly see how many beliefs we use in a day. Words like, I can’t, I’m not able to, I should, I have to, and I need to are all examples of potential belief statements.When it comes to breaking down beliefs, as with so many other skills, this may take time and practice. Remember to give yourself grace, trust the process, and love who you are at all times! Click To Tweet
So what can we do when we find a limiting belief is holding us back?
We break it down! When I find a limiting belief, I ask myself three simple questions:
- Is this actually true or is it made up?
- Does everyone else believe this to be true about me?
- Is it serving me at all to believe this?
If any answers are no, it’s a belief! Now comes the fun part! Now it’s time to re-write the belief into the actual truth. Let’s take my example above.
In order to be a good person, I had to get good grades.
Now that I know that is a belief, I can re-write it into a truth statement. What does that statement look like? It looks like: Who I am as a person has nothing to do with the grades I receive. I am proud to be who I am, at all times.
Through this process, I realized that I hid behind this belief for so long because I didn’t know how to stand strong and proud of who I was. By realizing why I was hiding, the belief I was holding onto was able to be broken down with ease!
Here’s another example.
Belief: In order to be an effective teacher, I need to stay late and arrive early.
Not only does this belief have “I need to” in it, but it also starts with “in order to,” which are two big signs that this is a belief! So if this is a belief, the next question is, what is the truth statement?
The truth statement here is I am the exact teacher my students need every single day![scroll down to keep reading]
It gets easier!
When it comes to limiting beliefs, just remember: The only thing limiting about limiting beliefs is the power we give them to limit who we can be.
When it comes to breaking down beliefs, as with so many other skills, this may take time and practice. Remember to give yourself grace, trust the process, and love who you are at all times!
About Lindsay Titus
Lindsay Titus is a K-12 Behavior Specialist with a license in behavior analyst. As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Lindsay coaches and trains educators on the study of behavior and how to implement evidence based behavior principles in simple and easy ways! With experience as a classroom special education teacher, and behavior specialist in public schools, residential placement, and private settings, Lindsay enjoys working with all educators looking to reignite their passion for education, connect with all students, and conquer challenging behavior in any classroom setting.