Beliefs are the foundation of your life. Beliefs are just like maps. We never look at the objective reality as it is. We filter the information through our beliefs. That’s why we have our own maps and our maps are different than other peoples map.
Most beliefs are installed in our brains unconsciously. Some beliefs makes you powerful and some beliefs makes you weaker. For example someone is not afraid on the battle field but get scared to approach a gorgeous woman in a shopping mall.
I know a person who refuses to shake hands for fear of catching germs. Some people wash their hands literally hundred times everyday because they fear imaginary germs. In medical terms this disorder is known as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). These people believe in unseen germs. A limiting belief is operating behind this kind of behavior.
A limiting belief is simply a belief which is limiting you. You feel like you are trapped into a limiting belief. Sometimes you may feel like limiting beliefs are holding you back from achieving your desired life style or your goals.
The first step to overcome a limiting belief is that you should know which belief is holding you back or which belief is limiting you in your life. If you start observing then you may notice that there are many limiting beliefs which are operating in your mind.
Mind is just like a software program and limiting beliefs are like bugs. You should look deeply into this program and observe the code to find out the bugs. Once you find out a bug it is very easy to rewrite the code.
For example recently I saw a person who strongly believe that he will die from heart attack. I asked him, why you believe that you will get heart attack? He replied that his father died from heart attack, his mother died from heart attack, his grand father died from heart attack and recently his brother also died from heart attack.
Look, how he formed a belief that he will also die from heart attack. Actually there are unlimited possibilities of dying but it’s like he is programming his mind for a certain kind of death.
I asked him, “Do you want your children die from heart attack?”
He felt nervous. I told him if you don’t want your children to die from heart attack then you should break this tradition of dying from heart attack. You should find some other way.
If four people in your family die from heart attack that does not mean that the whole generation should die from the same disease. It is just a coincidence. It is not a RULE.
Limiting beliefs are illogical and ridiculous. But when a person hold onto a limiting belief he feels that they are correct and logical. So the first step is to identify the limiting belief.
Once you find a limiting belief then there are many ways to challenge and redefine or re-frame that belief.
“I feel relaxed when I smoke”.
“It is not smoking but it is ‘distraction from your work’ that makes you feel relaxed”
“There are many healthy ways to find relaxation”
“You are destroying your body in a very relaxed way”
“I smoke cigarettes because I love them. “
“More than your life..?” or “More than your wife and children?”
“Cigarette in my hand I feel like a man”.
“That means you feel like a man only for five minutes?”
“I can not quit cigarettes”
“…but you can quit your life”
“It is very difficult to quit smoking”
“So you are expecting to quit smoking while holding this limiting belief?”
“But it will be more difficult for your children to survive after you”
“Close your eyes and tell me which images you see in your mind to make it difficult to quit smoking. Tell me what you tell yourself to make it impossible to quit smoking”
“I don’t like to workout”
“But you are already lifting weights while carrying that extra fat”
“OK, you don’t like to workout in gym but do you like to walk in the park?”
“Do you like this fat a**?”
“I hate workout”
“…rather you should hate that out of shape body”
“You should hate yourself for holding that belief”
“Just imagine the consequences of holding that belief for next five years”
“Just imagine the consequences if you drop this belief right now and start doing workout regularly for next six moths”
“Osho is better than Krishnamurti”
“In my opinion learning is better than comparison”
“They both teach you awareness and not comparison”
“So this is what you learned from Osho and JK?”
“According to whom?”
“What is the criteria?”
“How you measure their greatness?”
“Do you believe that you are intelligent enough to draw that conclusion”
“You are stupid”
“More than you?”
“That is a stupid conclusion”
“That is not my belief, that is your belief”
“My wife don’t love me”
“How can she love you if you hold that belief”
“Which images you run in your mind when you make that statement?”
“How can you love someone when you hold that belief?”
“Does that belief makes you feel good?”
“How could you change yourself so that she will start loving you?”
“I’m sad because my girl friend run away with her new boy friend”
“Do you mean that your happiness is depend upon your girl friend?”
“Do you remember a time when you feel sad but you didn’t had a girl friend?”
“Could you find another gorgeous and sexy woman if you remain in this sad state for next six months?”
“Why are you investing your energy in sadness rather than using that energy in finding a new woman?”
“Teach me how do you make yourself sad. Which pictures you run inside your brain to make yourself sad? What do you tell yourself to maintain that state?”
“I’m frustrated because my husband is cheating on me.”
“Actually you should feel proud that YOU are not a cheater.”
“What will happen if you simply shift your focus on your hobbies and passions?”
“Frustration is not a compulsion. You create it by choosing thoughts.”
“He is not cheating you, he is cheating himself.”
“Can you create that frustration while laughing out loudly?”
“So you have decided to choose frustration and punish yourself for others mistake?”
“I get bored when I study”
“In my view learning is joy and fun, the only thing is that you don’t know the proper strategy of learning.”
“I think you are more focused on the results rather than enjoying the process of learning”.
“Can you find 7 ways to make your study more enjoyable and fun?”
Some more examples:
“Making money is struggle”
“Why do you struggle to make money?”
“Good looking men are unfaithful or unkind.”
“Do you believe that all ugly men are faithful and kind?”
“If you hold that belief for long enough then you will become ugly and disgusting.”
“So you want to marry with someone who is ugly and disgusting?”
“Do you remember someone who was good looking, faithful and kind?”
“Just imagine a planet where everyone is kind and faithful but ugly and disgusting, would you like to live on this planet forever?”
“I have to work hard to be successful”
“Successful people are not hard workers, they are smart workers.”
“I’m not smart enough”
“Because you believe that you are not smart enough.”
“I am too young, people won’t take me seriously.”
“Don’t take people too seriously”
“Do you believe that people will take you seriously in your eighties?”
“I am too old, it’s too late to start…”
“You are not old, you are more matured.”
“If it’s too late then you must start it right now.”
There are many ways to overcome any limiting belief like:
- Create doubt
- Make that belief more ridiculous
- Make that belief illogical
- Exaggerate that belief
- Cut that belief into small pieces
- Show the negative consequences of holding that belief for long time
- Show the positive consequences of releasing that belief instantly
- Create massive pain for holding that belief
- Create massive pleasure for releasing that belief
- Make him aware which mental pictures he run into his mind to limit himself
- Ask him if he repeats any thought (challenge that thought)
- Re-frame (redefine) the cause
- Re-frame the effect
- Use different tone of voice (with limiting belief) and feel the difference. (For example: Take this belief, “I feel afraid of rejection by a woman” and repeat this statement in Amitabh Bachchan’s voice, Sylvester Stallone’s voice, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice or Donald Duck’s voice and you will burst into laughter)
Share your own ways to challenge a limiting belief or a negative belief. If you find this post interesting then share it with your friends. Use these strategies on yourself and with other people to overcome any limiting beliefs.