Limiting beliefs can hold us back, drag us down, lower our confidence and block our ability to reach our full potential.
So today I’m going to talk about how we can let go of limiting beliefs (and all unhelpful thoughts) and become mentally stronger. It may seem like a difficult thing to overcome, but in fact it is simpler than you might think.
I invite you to consider a metaphor about this.
Have you ever had somebody come to your front door trying to sell you something? Maybe if you’re younger, you won’t have experienced this as much. For those of us who grew up pre-internet days (I’m showing my age here!) door-to-door sales people used to come knocking at the door regularly. They were often selling encyclopaedias, vacuums, make-up or the like.
This is how the sales pitch would usually go.
“Could I interest you in this vacuum cleaner? How’s your normal one operating? You could upgrade, your floors will look amazing….”
I never bought anything from a door-to-door salesman. I would simply and politely say ‘no thanks’ and wish them well on their way.
So how does this scenario relate to limiting beliefs? Well, it can actually offer us a great metaphor for how our minds generate these ideas and beliefs and try to get us to buy into them. Like the salesperson, these thoughts come knocking at the door of our awareness. Trying to get us to buy their sales pitches of beliefs, judgements, and opinions.
Now if a door-to-door salesman came with his vacuum and started his pitch, it’s unlikely that we would just yell “Take my money, I’m in!”, without considering his sales pitch carefully. But this is often what we do with the limiting beliefs. We just buy into them immediately without much consideration.
Politely refusing the buy-in
When unhelpful thoughts come to the ‘door,’ here’s what we can do. We can hear that sales pitch and politely and simply say, “I’m not buying that today.”
I don’t mean to say we should try to push the thought away or block it out. What I’m saying is, we can know that it is simply a thought. A mental event. Not ‘the truth’.
Our mind is a thought-generating machine. It’s constantly chatting away, pitching us all kinds of things it wants us to believe in, but we don’t have to buy into them! Especially if they are not helpful. That’s a choice we have. If we do buy into everything, we might end up with a mental house full of junk and clutter that weighs us down and makes us suffer.
So often in life, we become so attached to the storylines in the mind, that we take them to be the truth. Unfortunately, far too often those storylines aren’t very positive or helpful.
Many of the storylines that we buy into are judgmental and critical of others and even more so, of ourselves. They also tend to focus on what is not good enough, what’s wrong with us and our lives. Our fears and worries. When our mental commentary is unhelpful, it can really hold us back, create tension in our lives and pull us into emotional reactivity.
But we can become more discerning about the beliefs and thoughts we buy into. When we hear a thought that isn’t helpful, we can simply smile politely and say:
“Thanks mind, but I’m not buying that today.”
We don’t have to get rid of the thought at all, we simply don’t buy into it. This helps us to step back from our thoughts, therefore we’re less pulled around by them.
How to handle ‘sticky’ thoughts
Some limiting beliefs and unhelpful thoughts are a bit more charged or sticky, harder to step back from. You may try that first step but you still feel really caught up and hooked by the thought.
In this case you can take a second step and challenge the limiting belief by questioning it.
Here are some helpful questions you might like mentally to ask yourself:
- Is this thought actually true? Can I absolutely know for certain that it’s true?
- Do I want to buy into this story? What could I gain or lose?
- Is this helpful or is my mind just babbling on?
- Does this thought help me take effective action?
- What do I really want to feel, create, or have here?
- How can I make the best of this situation?
- Who would I be without this thought?
- How can I see this in a different and new way?
- What is a different way I could see what is happening?
By asking ourselves these questions and then coming up with the answers we can unhook from the limiting beliefs and find greater mental strength.
Letting go of limiting beliefs takes courage, but it’s worth it.
It can take courage and humility to question our limiting beliefs and let go of certain storylines in the mind. But our willingness to do so, will be equal to our feelings of inner peace, mental clarity and resilience.
So today and for the rest of this week as you go about your day, just remember, you don’t have to buy into everything the mind tries to sell you. It may be a good sales pitch, but if you don’t find it useful you can just smile and say “Thanks mind, but I’m not buying that today!”. After which, you can put your attention back to something more nourishing.
And if you need extra support to let them go, try asking helpful questions for those unhelpful thoughts. Whenever you do that, you will experience a greater sense of freedom – not only in your mind, but also in your life.
I hope this is helpful for you. Thank you for reading, and for being on the path of becoming mentally stronger.
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