woman feeling confused

Self Limiting Beliefs Are Preventing You From Being Successful

Everything you set your mind to is possible. The secret to designing your dream life is to become aware of your self-limiting beliefs & change your mindset. 

There is no limit to what you can do when it comes to living the life you desire. The only thing holding you back from realizing your full potential is your lack of self-belief.

If you wish to achieve a higher level of success but find yourself getting in your way, keep reading. This article will make you understand why you’re doing that.

self limiting belief

If you go back to your earliest childhood memories, you’ll probably recall times when you were fearless, when your curiosity led you to places you wouldn’t dare to go now.

So, what happened?

What happened to that fiercely adventurous little girl who wanted to take over the world?

Throughout our childhood and as we grow older, we are bombarded with rules about what to say, how to behave, and what to do.

We are tamed!

As a result, we may form some self-limiting beliefs and, in some cases, fail to recognize our full potential.

If you want to learn more about this subject, I highly recommend Glennon Doyle Melton’s eye-opening book Untamed.

What do self-limiting beliefs mean?

Let’s dive into what exactly constitutes a limiting belief.

First of all, all humans experience limiting beliefs.

The majority of people dream of becoming successful, abundant, and fulfilled. However, at the same time, they have a belief system that limits their ability to be everything they can be. 

When you think about it, this doesn’t make much sense.

Why would anyone constantly repeat negative thoughts that would create adverse outcomes? Or that leave you stuck exactly where you are?

doubt or believe

So, a limiting belief is something you believe to be true that, in some way, is limiting your potential. They are beliefs that hold you back.

Limiting beliefs keep you from pursuing your dreams and ambitions and living the life you’ve always wanted.

Limiting beliefs prevent you from doing stuff like:

  • dating the guy you want
  • leaving the job, you hate
  • starting that course, you’ve been dreaming about
  • apply for the promotion you deserve
  • become wealthy
  • start an online business
  • change career paths
  • travel the world
  • show your face on IG Stories
  • run the marathon
  • having a healthy lifestyle
  • become the next President.

beliefs create beliefs destroy
“Beliefs create, and Beliefs destroy!” – Tony Robbins.

Limiting beliefs examples

What are the most common self-limiting beliefs?

Have you ever found yourself wanting to do something, but then you say something like:

  1. “I can’t. I’m not good enough.”
  2. “I’m not fit enough.”
  3. “What if I fail?”
  4. “I’m not that beautiful.”
  5. “I’m not smart enough.”
  6. “You need to have money to do that.”
  7. “All the good ones are taken.”
  8. “I’m too old now.”
  9. “I’m too young to do that.”
  10. “I don’t have enough time.”

These are some self-limiting belief examples that maybe sound familiar to you.

In a nutshell, limiting beliefs keep you from becoming the person you want to be and doing the things you want to do.

If your unconscious thoughts make you look like a victim, consider replacing some of your negative self-beliefs with more positive, actionable, and responsible affirmations to regain control. 

How are our beliefs formed?

To begin with, we need to understand that a large percentage of our beliefs are developed in our early childhood. Some psychologists believe that most of our behavioral patterns, beliefs, and habits are formed by the age of seven. Then they transcend throughout our lives.

childhood esperiences affects our beliefs
Photo by Jep Gambardella from Pexels

As children, through our learning and life experiences, we form opinions about life and the world in general. However, other aspects may contribute to creating our beliefs/limiting beliefs. Numerous factors influence our development and programming, but the major influencers are as follows:

#1 Parents/Guardians

There is no doubt that our parents/guardians have the most significant influence on our upbringing, as well as the formation of our identity and outlook on life. However, other family members, such as older siblings, close grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins, play an important role in this as well.

Every family has its own set of beliefs, morals, and principles. And, whether intentionally or unintentionally, such beliefs are passed down from one generation to the next.

Such beliefs could be related to:

We could also shape some beliefs according to how we observed our family behave, how we heard them speak about various topics, and how they talked to us.

families affect our self limiting beliefs


You’d always see your parents/guardians working double shifts to support the family. And, as you recall, they never allowed themselves to take a break or have some fun. Then you most likely formed the belief that in order to have a family, you must work hard in order to earn enough money to provide for them, even if it means being unhappy and not having time to spend with them.

#2 Experiences

Another factor that influences our beliefs is our personal experiences and the emotions we associate with them at the time.

school experiences form self limiting beliefs


You had a crush on a boy when you were a kid who didn’t reciprocate your feelings. Worse yet, he made fun of you. With that in mind, you believed that all boys are mean, hateful, and jerks. And it’s possible that you’re still holding on to that belief. Given that you’ve long believed that all men are jerks who will never love you back, that subconscious belief could be the reason you keep sabotaging your relationships. Always looking for things in your environment to serve as “reasons” to believe he will be a jerk.

#3 Education

Another thing that plays a vital role in shaping our belief system is our education. Whoever teaches us has a significant impact on our beliefs, whether positive or negative. 

Why is that?

First of all, they hold an authoritative position that we must adhere to. Secondly, most of our knowledge is based on information, ideas, and beliefs, which our teachers, counselors, and guardians shared with us. Lastly, when the information comes from someone who you look up to and respect, you are even more inclined to accept that information as the truth. 

teachers help form our beliefs


In high school, during a lesson, you were asked a question that you answered to the best of your knowledge. However, the teacher was disrespectful and told you that was a stupid answer. She continued by saying that you will get nowhere in life if you continue like that. All of your friends started laughing at you. You started believing that you are stupid and that you don’t have it in you to succeed. 

#4 Media

Nowadays, the media (TV, Radio, Magazines, Digital websites, etc.) shapes our world and, as a result, unavoidably contributes to the formation of our ideas and opinions. This means that the media literally can shape public opinion to suit the interests of those who create it.

In a democratic society where officials are elected and laws are enacted based on the popular vote, the media is quickly becoming one of the most powerful tools for influencing public policy. Some even claim that governments use the media to influence people’s political beliefs in order to further their agenda.

Furthermore, the media, particularly social media, contributes to the formation of new trends and ideologies.

 media shapes our culture and so our beliefs


When you were younger, you and your family liked watching cop shows on television. It just so happened that cops were running and arresting black people a lot of the time. Unconsciously, this may have led to the belief that black people are more likely to commit crimes.

That isn’t to say that all media channels and programs are harmful. Because the media also does many positive things, however, that is not the point of this article. We need to keep in mind that whatever we are exposed to is shaping our beliefs. So be careful whom you’re following or listening to. 

#5 Our friends 

Our friends have also had a significant impact on us. Again, this does not imply that we should not have friends or that we should not seek advice from them. But now that we’re looking into where some of our beliefs came from, it’s a good idea to analyze them to see which ones still hold water and toss the ones that don’t!

We should remember that when our friends gave us advice, they were probably young and inexperienced, just like us.

Our friends have also had a significant impact on our self limiting beliefs


In high school, you secretly had a crush on the most popular guy in school. Your friend discovered your dairy one day and saw the love messages you had written to this guy. She told you right away to forget about him and that he is out of your league. And that boys like him are only interested in girls with attractive bodies, not intelligent ones. Of course, she didn’t say it to hurt your feelings. She wanted to protect you. She didn’t want you to get hurt. However, you subconsciously began to believe that you needed to have a great figure to date a good-looking guy.

These, of course, are just a few examples of how our life experiences, environment, and the people around us could have potentially influenced our belief systems and self-worth. 

Other aspects that might influence our belief system could be religion, society, etc. 

Of course, most of our major influencers (except for probably the media) all wanted what was best for us, but at the same time, they were all experimenting on us as they went along. 

As children, we believe anything we are told. Everything we see and hear is literally true to us. We are being programmed to shape our reality and our overall worldview. As a result, this could be a risky time.

How Are limiting beliefs attracting the opposite of what you want?

As you can see, we all tend to limit our potential through a series of limiting beliefs about ourselves (our ability and identity), others, and the world in general. 

The critical thing to understand is that having these limiting beliefs and a lack of self-worth isn’t always because you went through some extensive trauma in your life. Even just small things like the examples above could have affected your belief system. 

As explained above, everyone has their own set of limiting beliefs based on their life experiences, but the two most common limiting beliefs are:

“I can’t,” and “I don’t know how.”

I dare you to keep track of how many times you say “I can’t do that because…” or “I don’t know how to do that…” during the day. You’ll be shocked how often these phrases come up in conversations. And these are just two examples of limiting beliefs; we have more!

When we repeat these limiting beliefs to ourselves, what we really are doing is ensuring that we remain precisely in the situation we are in. That occurs because we restrict our thinking and are not open to what else is possible.

That is why they are known as limiting beliefs because they limit our potential.

So, what exactly does that imply?

The first step toward shifting from limited belief thinking to infinite thinking is acknowledging and accepting that we are responsible for the reality we have created for ourselves.

We are co-creating our reality. As a result, we are internally accountable for the external experiences we have.

Whether you think you can or you can't you're right

Because our brain is merely a pattern recognition system, whenever we are confronted with a situation, our brain always asks two questions:

  • Have I seen this before?
  • Is this safe or dangerous?

Our brain is always searching for what is acquainted and whatever it knows is safe and has seen before.

That is why we become so confined and stuck in our comfort zone.

So, whenever we try something new outside of our comfort zone, our brain goes bananas.

“What’s this? This isn’t you; this isn’t the person you identified to be. Danger!”

As a result, our mind creates resistance.


Suppose you have always identified yourself as a shy person who never exposes oneself. Or perhaps something happened to you that shaped you in this way. That is the unconscious identity that you have created for yourself over time.

Maybe you were always picked up last when you were in high school. So, you constantly kept telling yourself that you are someone who is always left behind and that you are not seen. 

As time passed, your mind grew accustomed to that idea and accepted it as truth in order to keep you from feeling excluded or rejected. As a result, this now prevails in your life because it is now a belief (a limited belief) that you hold, and as a result, you are more likely to be exposed to the exact situations.

Consequently, now whenever a situation arises in which you must be seen, such as giving a presentation at work or appearing on stories, your mind goes crazy and resistant because it can’t identify with that person. That is not you!

so, how to change your limiting beliefs?

As highlighted in the above examples our mindset and perception of life are made up of the sum of our positive and negative beliefs. Our subconscious belief system, which is at the core of who we are, determines everything in life, including how we see things, feel about them, and react.

Initially, limiting beliefs can still be modified. But as time passes, we accumulate more proofs, comparisons, and evidence that prove that these ideas are correct (this is because we perceive life from that perspective). 

As a result, the more we constantly think about and act on these ideas, the more they become rooted in our subconscious. Until we eventually accept these beliefs as our truth. And from there on, these beliefs become so deeply ingrained in our nervous system that we aren’t even aware of them, and we act on them naturally and automatically. And we haven’t let go of them since. 

Even if there is plenty of evidence to the contrary, we hold on to them!

Even if they present us with a blurred view of reality that only exists in our imagination, we hold on to them!

And we cling to them even when they prevent us from living the life we truly desire!

limiting beliefs limit our potential

How do we shift these limiting beliefs?

#1 Identify a goal you want to achieve.

#2 Next, learn how to identify self-limiting beliefs. You can use this FREE Worksheet and ask yourself 10 easy but powerful questions to identify what limiting beliefs are holding you back.

#3 Lastly, once you have identified them, it’s essential to take it a step further and understand how to overcome limiting beliefs efficiently. 

>> This is just a summary of the process. Read the full article here.

Final thoughts

Limiting beliefs define our reality and keep us from following our dreams and ambitions. They limit our potential.

That is why it is so important that we must be open to and aware of these common limiting beliefs to shift to infinite thinking.

If you’re not getting where you want to go in life, start by questioning your beliefs.

Your mindset could be preventing you from achieving your goals.

Remember that these self-limiting beliefs are only in your head. You can change them!

In conclusion, you can learn more in this article to see how you can rewire your brain to create new beliefs and, consequently, create a new reality for yourself by using the power of self-loving affirmations!

Pin it for later 

>>Read more: Positive Self-Confidence Affirmations Can Empower You To Love Yourself

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