Limiting Beliefs – What They Are & How To Change Them
So what exactly are ‘limiting beliefs’?
Well, a limiting belief is ANY belief that you have that ‘limits’ your life in some way, or is in some way disadvantageous to you (be aware that what you believe might be advantageous may in fact be seriously limiting!).
But what does this mean?
Let me see if I can explain;
In order for human beings to ‘make sense’ of the world we inhabit, from an early age we create ‘codes’ that allow us to make sense of what we see and experience.
These ‘codes’ can be referred to as ‘belief systems’ and we will tend to use them in the same way, until something happens that makes us consider ‘modifying’ or even ‘re-writing’ them – this usually occurs when we encounter ‘contradictory’ information, something that indicates that our belief system is in need of ‘tweaking’.
For example, what do you see here? An old woman or a young ‘parisian’ woman?
I Believe in Santa Claus
OK, I don’t, but I certainly did some years ago.
When I think back to those ‘heady’ days of my childhood I can easily remember the ‘nights before Christmas’ when I tried to go to sleep filled with the excitement of all the lovely presents that Santa was going to deliver to the bottom of my bed the next day.
My belief in Santa created a whole range of ‘lovely and exciting’ emotions and I would definitely say that this particular belief system ‘benefited’ me.
Of course, I don’t believe in Santa anymore, so something had to have ‘happened’ for me to change my belief.
Well, what happened was that when I was about 6 years old, a friend at school told me that Santa wasn’t real and that I should search around the house before Christmas to find where my Mum and Dad had hidden all the presents.
So that’s what I did and rather unsurprisingly (now) I found them under their bed, and from that moment on my belief system changed.
Because I had ‘discovered’ a piece of ‘evidence’ that was so contradictory to what I had previously believed, that I HAD to change my belief system completely!
But Believing in Santa is a Childish Belief System!
That’s true, but actually a significant number of the belief systems that people ‘walk’ around with on a day-to-day basis are also ‘childish’, or at the very least, were ‘formed’ during childhood.
Examples of Limiting Beliefs
- Walking on the cracks in the pavement brings bad luck
- If it’s not perfect it’s not good enough
- People in authority should be feared
- Phobias can never be changed
- The only way I could be a millionaire is if I win the Lottery
- You should always think about the mistakes you make
- The Earth is FLAT not round – visit Flat Earth Society
- Lucky charms influence outcomes
- Getting things wrong is bad
- You must ALWAYS respect your elders
- You cannot change the path of your life
- People are always out to ‘get’ you
Are Some Limiting Beliefs More Important Than Others?
Despite the name ‘limiting beliefs’ there are some limiting beliefs that have very little impact on your day-to-day life, for example, “you should never wear brown shoes with black trousers” – it’s limiting because the underlying ‘idea’ behind this belief is that it will somehow ‘look wrong’ and that people observing this clothing ‘error’ will make a negative judgement about you.
The ‘reality’ is that the vast majority of people probably don’t care about your choice of shoe colour and it’s unlikely to to have any major negative impact on your life. Unless, that is, that you had a ‘boss’ who had the same belief and who fired you from your job for making this sartorial error. In which case, you have some real evidence to support this belief!
There are Three CORE Limiting Belief ‘Domains’
Whilst the vast majority of limiting beliefs have very little day-to-day impact, our beliefs-based CBT programme specifically draws attention to THREE ‘core’ beliefs that can have the most SIGNIFICANT impact.
- Your ‘Locus of Control‘ – your sense of power over your own life
- Social Pressure – how much you worry about social judgement or what people think about you (also known as Social Anxiety)
- Self-Esteem – how you think about yourself
You can read more detail about each of these ‘core’ limiting beliefs by clicking on each phrase.
Transform Your Thinking & Overcome Limiting Beliefs
Tranceformental CBT is available as Online Therapy if required
The Tranceformental programme is a highly successful & pragmatic psychological training course, run over 10 sessions, that will teach you everything you need to know to understand your problem, identify how unhelpful thinking and limiting beliefs might be reinforcing the issue, and then show you how to make any changes to your unhelpful thinking styles or maladaptive safety behaviours that you may have developed as part of your coping strategies.
Our Tranceformental CBT programme is an evidence-based, research supported approach used by mental health practitioners around the World.
Free Initial Consultations for Limiting Beliefs
The consultation is free and lasts around 50 minutes.
During this consultation we will discuss the various types of psychological therapy that are available to you and make a considered recommendation based on your individual personal circumstances.
Initial consultations are also available as part of our online counselling service.
At Tranceform Psychology we emphasise the importance of the therapy relationship in helping people to bring about effective change, so its important to be able to ‘meet’ to discuss our change programmes BEFORE proceeding.
Our policy is to help people make a fully balanced & considered decision about undertaking mental health work with us, including both the financial and personal implications.
Buy Our Self-Help Book
The Restrictive Realities of Belief is Paul's recently authored self-help book containing everything you need to know about how mental health problems are 'realised' through the socio-cultural beliefs that we acquire over our lifetimes and what you can do to bring about effective change.
You can read a synopsis of what this book is all about on this page:
It is currently available as a 307 page A4 PDF file for just £19.99 which you can purchase here using PayPal. Your copy of the book will be sent by e-mail.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a proven, evidence-based form of mental health counselling for developing a fundamental understanding of the dynamics of your problem, but also for learning new coping skills and strategies for sustainable change over your life.
The full course costs £795 which you can pay for on our fees page.
Tranceformental CBT is available On-line as well as a one-to-one format in the clinic.
Visit Online Counselling for more details.