What are Self-Limiting Beliefs?

“I’ll never get that promotion.” “I just can’t do it.” “I’m not good enough.” Does that sound familiar? These are called self-limiting beliefs and sometimes we tell ourselves this because of negative past experiences we try to protect ourselves from. If we let them, these thoughts can devalue our worth and throw us off the right path. Here is everything you need to know about how to combat these beliefs.

What are Self-Limiting Beliefs?

It’s essentially an inner dialogue that deceives you into believing something negative about yourself. It can attack various aspects by…

  • Personalizing – something terrible happens and you blame yourself no matter how unrelated
  • Filtering – ignoring the positives of a situation to magnify the negative
  • Polarizing – believing you are either perfect or a failure with no in between
  • Catastrophizing – hypothesizing the worst-case scenarios that haven’t happened

The Consequences

Over time self-limiting beliefs start to instill a negative mindset. It may decrease your motivation and result in feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Other consequences include…

  • Failure to Capitalize on Opportunities – you become convinced you can’t do anything so you don’t take the opportunities in front of you
  • Perfectionism – you believe you are never good enough
  • Relationship Difficulties – your constant criticizing may seem insecure and can lead to blaming or criticizing others

Combatting Self-Limiting Beliefs

Knowing your worth and ability can make a huge difference in personal and professional success. It takes a bit of practice and some support from your community, but in time you can become a master at combatting self-limiting beliefs. Here are some tips to help you get started.

  • Find your trigger– The first step to combatting self-limiting beliefs is to become aware of what triggers them. What times of the day do you feel the worst about yourself? What are you doing during that time? What are you saying to yourself? The more you are aware of the triggers, the more you can combat them.
  • Reality Check – Self-limiting beliefs are tricksters that tend to hyperbolize the situation. Sometimes, telling yourself the facts and taking a quiet moment can calm your mind.
  • Affirmations– Replace the self-limiting beliefs with their positive counterparts and you will start training your mindset to switch from negative to positive. Try these 8 affirmations for your life, career, and business.
  • Treat Yourself Like Your Best Friend – Would you ever say those things to your best friend, husband, or child? Of course not! So, why are you saying it to yourself? You deserve to be treated with respect, love, and empathy.
  • Goal Orientated – Instead of thinking about what you can’t do, think about what is possible. What can you accomplish right now that moves you one step forward?

Self-limiting beliefs do not disappear overnight, so find a professional community dedicated to supporting each other’s dreams. The International Association of Women helps thousands of women around the world find resources, gain new skills, and increase their network with the right connections for them. Each of our members can find accountability partners to keep them on track to achieve their goals. Find out more here!

Plus for more advice on overcoming limiting beliefs, connect with IAW member, Laura Hearn, a certified business and entrepreneurship coach, military spouse, and mom who helps women build and scale their businesses with confidence. Her business, LH Consulting LLC, with various programs, a podcast, and a blog tailored for women entrepreneurs.

  1. Olivia Brennan, LCSW

    Given the downward spiral of social media, positive anything is sorely needed. Our leaders are negative and a role model must be established. Thanks for this presentation

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