“Women are the most powerful force in the world. They have always been.” – Nelson Mandela
Women are indeed an incredible force—however, they are very often limited by their own beliefs. Limiting beliefs can be incredibly harmful to a woman’s life and success, limiting her achievements, opportunities, and happiness. Such beliefs can stem from many sources, some of which may not be immediately noticeable.
It is vitally important to understand what limiting beliefs are to help you identify whether or not you are holding yourself back. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most common limiting beliefs that women face and provide tips on how to overcome them.
What are Limiting Beliefs?
Did you know that, according to the National Science Foundation, our brains can produce as many as 50,000 thoughts per day. Ninety-five percent of these thoughts are repeated daily. These negative thoughts lead to limiting beliefs.
A limiting belief is a thought or opinion that limits your potential or restricts your ability to achieve something. It is a belief system that is serving you in a negative way. Limiting beliefs can form from:
- Your upbringing
- The culture you were raised in
- People’s opinions of you
- And more …
They can often stem from things that happened to us when we were younger, which is why they can sometimes come up unexpectedly later on in life. Limiting beliefs are like a self-imposed glass ceiling. If left undealt with, they can prevent you from reaching your full potential.
Examples of Common Limiting Beliefs that Women Face
There are many limiting beliefs that women face—far too many to list here. Of course, they can vary from person to person, but many women face similar obstacles when it comes to their belief systems.
Let’s explore seven of the most common ones to provide a better understanding of how they may be holding you back.
“I’m not good enough.”
This is something that most people struggle with at some point or another – but it is an especially common belief that holds many women back from taking on new experiences or going for opportunities they might not otherwise take advantage of. Limiting beliefs like this one often stem from low self-esteem and can affect your confidence, happiness, success in relationships/marriage, career choices you make, etc.
“I don’t trust people.”
This is a common limiting belief that may stem from your past experiences – someone close to you deceiving or betraying you, for example. Limiting beliefs like this one can make it hard to form new relationships and friendships because of the negative view you have towards other people.
“I don’t deserve success/happiness.”
This limiting belief usually comes from a feeling of unworthiness. You may feel like you don’t deserve the good things in life or feel that you have to work harder than others to achieve success.
“The world is out to get me.”
This type of limiting belief often comes from a lack of trust and can make it difficult to take risks and be open to new experiences.
“I can’t do it.”
This limiting belief is often fear-based, and it can stop you from trying new things or achieving your goals.
“It’s not worth it.”
This limiting belief usually comes from a place of pessimism and can keep you from pursuing opportunities that could be beneficial to your life.
“I can’t change.”
This limiting belief is often based on a lack of self-belief and can restrict your ability to grow and improve as a person.
Overcoming Limiting Beliefs
Identifying your limiting beliefs is the first step on the road to overcoming them. Once you have identified them, you can start working to replace them with more positive and empowering beliefs.
Here are a few tips that might help:
- Start by acknowledging the limiting belief. Don’t try to ignore it or push it away. Just be aware of the thoughts that are holding you back.
- Challenge the limiting belief. Ask yourself why you believe that thought; what evidence do you have to support the limiting belief? Is it actually true, or is it something you have assumed to be true without checking if it’s accurate first?
- Question your limiting belief. Once again, ask yourself why you hold this particular belief. What would need to change in order for your limiting beliefs to be true?
- Find the limiting belief’s opposite. This can actually help you to change your mindset around things. For example, if one of your limiting beliefs is that “I don’t deserve success”, try thinking about what its opposite would be instead, ie. “I deserve success”.
- Create a positive affirmation. A statement that you can repeat to yourself on a daily basis that will help to reinforce your new, more positive beliefs. For example, “I am capable of anything I put my mind to” or “I trust people and believe the best in them”. Limiting beliefs are often fear-based – but positive affirmations can act as a counterbalance to that fear. For example, “I don’t deserve happiness” is countered by “I am worthy of love and happiness”.
- Change your view of the world. This one can be a bit more difficult, but it is definitely possible. If you can start to view the world in a more positive way, it will help to change your limiting beliefs over time.
- Replace limiting beliefs and create a new ‘belief system’ for yourself. This involves creating a set of beliefs that will act as a foundation for your life.
- Take action. The best way to overcome limiting beliefs is to take action and put your new beliefs into practice. Start with something small, like asking for a raise at work or going to the gym even when you don’t feel like it. Putting your new beliefs into practice will cause them to become more ingrained and habitual. As we have said already—limiting beliefs are often rooted in fear—by taking action, we can overcome that fear.
- Create an accountability group. By sharing your limiting beliefs with other people, you will be less likely to give into them. An accountability group can offer you validation and support when those beliefs creep back in and can also serve to motivate you to overcome them because holding yourself accountable is a great way to avoid letting other people down.
- Create an action plan. Because limiting beliefs are usually based on fear or pessimism, by creating an action plan, you can combat that fear. An action plan is simply a list of things you are going to do in order to achieve your goal – this could be anything from setting a deadline for yourself to making a budget and sticking to it.
The bottom line is that limiting beliefs—while having the potential to be very powerful—are just thoughts. They don’t have to control you, and you don’t have to believe them. They can be overcome with a bit of effort and determination. The most important thing is to be willing and open to making a change. Limiting beliefs can hold you back from achieving your goals, so overcoming them will give you the freedom to live the life that you want.