Self Limiting Beliefs and Behaviors

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Self-limiting beliefs are the assumptions or perceptions we have about ourselves and the way the world works. These assumptions are “self-limiting” because by holding on to these beliefs, we are in some way holding ourselves back from achieving our goals. We learn these belief systems as very young children, and then we move through life creating experiences to match our beliefs.

Common Self Limiting Beliefs and Behaviors

  1. Labeling: When we struggle applying labels to ourselves such as “lazy” or “stupid” because that is what we have been told about people who struggle.
  2. Taking Responsibility: Taking responsibility can be a good thing, but when we take personal responsibility for every bad thing that happens, even when it is out of our control, we begin to believe that we are at fault for every negative thing that happens.
  3. Mind Reading: When we make a mistake, do we think that we already know how other people are going to react? If a friend didn’t return a text, do we jump to the conclusion that they’re mad at us or thought our last text was stupid? By projecting those thoughts on other people we do not give ourselves the opportunity to truly connect because we always believe that they’re thinking the worst of us. 
  4. Fortune Telling: Have you found yourself thinking, “what’s the point of trying? I know it’s not going to work out.” Maybe those thoughts prevent you from applying for a promotion or joining a class or club. We begin to limit our experiences when we assume that we know how things will turn out. 
  5. Catastrophizing: Do we jump to the worst possible outcome of any scenario? This can feel like a protective measure, that you’re just preparing yourself for any outcome. But what are the odds that the worst will actually happen? Isn’t it much more likely that we can learn from an experience and take some steps forward even when we fail? 

Acknowledging your self-limiting beliefs can help you begin to address the behaviors. It’s not about ignoring them, but rather realizing when it is happening and changing those thoughts in the moment. When we make a mistake, instead of fortune-telling or catastrophizing, can we tell ourselves: “Well, that was a learning experience, and now I know how to avoid doing that again in the future.”. Taking action, even the smallest step, will help solidify your new un-limiting decision. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but rather a step in the right direction. Acknowledge your victories, no matter how small. 

Foundations Asheville Can Help

We serve young adults between the ages of 18 and 24. Our team helps them to develop their strengths and grow into themselves. Our goal is to help them successfully transition to living independently. Along with personal growth through group sessions, we also help our students to develop personal skills such as cooking, nutrition, fitness, gardening, and financial management so that they can live well-balanced lives. For more information please call (828) 604-6570.