A chalk board with part of the word impossible covered by a hand. Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

When you're going through a stressful time, you may be having a hard time gaining self-confidence or feeling like you're doing your best. You might even convince yourself that you're not successful or talented. These are known as self-limiting beliefs.

However, you can learn how to identify these beliefs and even change your thinking to help you keep working towards your goals.

What are Self-Limiting Beliefs?

Self-limiting beliefs are things you assume or perceive about yourself or other people. They hold you back from achieving your goals and living your best life. These negative perceptions or assumptions can also lead you to form unhealthy habits and relationships with others.


Which of these things might lead to you developing self-limiting beliefs?

Limiting Beliefs About Yourself

A man looking worried.

No one's life is perfect. We all have weaknesses and don't always succeed in what we set out to do. However, dwelling too much on what's wrong in your life can lead to limiting thoughts such as:

  • "I'm incapable."

  • "I'm not good enough/not important enough."

  • "I can't do this."

  • "It's not worth it."


You're having trouble finding a new job. What is a self-limiting belief that can affect your goals?

Limiting Beliefs About Others

Two friends having an argument. Photo by Obie Fernandez on Unsplash

If you're developing self-limiting beliefs, you may worry that others are against you or are untrustworthy. You might also compare yourself to other people. Here are some examples:

  • "This person is a bad person."

  • "I'm jealous of something they have that I don't." (examples: more money, a nicer car, a better job)

  • "I'll never be as smart as them."

  • "Everyone is out to get me."


What is something you see in other people that might lead you to develop a self-limiting belief?

Overcoming Self-Limiting Beliefs

A person standing on top of a mountain at sunset. Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

Although it's easy to think you can't change or it's too hard to fix things, there are ways to stop your limiting beliefs in their tracks and take charge of your goals.

First, understand where these patterns are coming from and allow yourself to have those feelings. Then, identify your thoughts and consider how you can turn them into more empowering beliefs:

Flaticon Icon Don't say...

  • "I'm nobody special."

  • "I need to be perfect."

  • "I can't deal with this."

  • "How did I mess this up?"

Flaticon Icon Tell yourself...

  • "I have a lot of talents to share with the world."

  • "I may not succeed at everything, but I'll do my best."

  • "I'm strong and can handle anything."

  • "I can forgive myself and learn from my mistakes."


What is a good way to identify your self-limiting beliefs and initiate change?


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