woman with pink hair & text What Are Limiting Beliefs & How To Overcome Them

What Are Limiting Beliefs & How To Overcome Them

One of the biggest blocks anyone will face on the road to manifesting a truly epic life is their own beliefs.

Sounds kind of weird though right? I mean why would you choose to believe in something that limits your own efforts at happiness, love, or success?

Truthfully, while most of us do this, very few of us ever even notice. This is why it’s so important to understand this concept.

It’s not that you can’t manifest what you want. It’s just that right now there are very real thought obstacles standing in your way–and if you don’t do anything about them, they will continue to rule over you (without you even knowing).

I put together a simple guide to help you understand, heal, and reprogram your own limiting beliefs about life, yourself, or your potential.

What Is A Limiting Belief?

A limiting belief is a belief that (accidentally) limits what you think is possible for yourself or for the world.

We don’t consciously intend to focus on limitations! But as children (and even into adulthood) we pick up on the fears and beliefs of the people around us or society at large.

Let’s use the old story about an elephant as an example.

When the elephant was young, its keeper tied it to a post to prevent it from wandering away. The young elephant quickly learned that it could not roam past its leash.

However, the elephant grows up and eventually becomes much bigger and stronger. The same post that once limited its movements when it was young could easily be removed. However, the elephant still believes the post has power over it so it doesn’t even try to pull itself away. It learned at a young age exactly how far it could go and even though as an adult that’s no longer true, it’s still held hostage by that idea. At one point, the post is what kept the elephant in line but now it’s the elephant’s own beliefs.

Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford

Top 10 Self-Limiting Beliefs:

Self Limiting Beliefs

“I’m too old to try that.”

“I’m not good at public speaking.”

“I’m bad with money.”

World Limiting Beliefs

“There aren’t any good single men in this town.”

“People like us can’t do that.”

“Rich people are just different.”

Life Limiting Beliefs

“You’ll never make it so there’s no point in trying.”

“I don’t have enough time.”

“I already missed the boat.”

Your limiting beliefs are often tied up to your four (toxic) inner voices:

The Inner Mean Guy/Girl (“You’re too ugly to date that person.”)
The Chicken (“You’re not smart enough for that job.”)
The Brat (“What makes you think you can do that?”)
The Weather Reporter (“There are no good single men.”)

One tell-tale sign of a limiting belief is the use of black or white, always or nothing language. In truth, life is not so cut and dried!

Where Do Limiting Beliefs Come From?


The psychology of limiting beliefs is that we create beliefs about ourselves or the world that aren’t objectively true.

Many of our limiting beliefs about the world do not come from our lived experience. They are the ideas and fears of those who raised us, those who were around us, and even those of the media/society at large.

If your parents had limiting beliefs about money (like so many of us!) then you probably picked up those beliefs too. “Money takes hard work to earn.”

Repetition and outside influence are powerful enough on their own. But these external ideas can become especially deeply embedded if we picked them up during a Small-T Trauma event. (ie. Being made fun of for asking for a toy, etc.)

Your Experiences & Feelings

However, we are responsible for some of our limiting beliefs too.

Many times we create limiting beliefs based on our feelings.

“I can’t have a good relationship because I’m too angry all the time.”

Obviously to the outside viewer, this isn’t a true and factual statement at all. However, it might feel very real inside of our own head.

But what’s really happening is that we’re creating a “rule” for life that part of our brain thinks is protecting us from something. The ironic thing of course is that it’s ALWAYS that very thing that will set us free from our negative feelings.

We’re really blocking ourselves from doing something because of our current feelings–not because we can’t actually do that thing. Then we do nothing and those feelings compound and compound while also making us more and more terrified of doing the thing we need to do. As you can see, this becomes a difficult cycle to break.

In the end, it’s not so important to know where your belief came from. It’s more important to notice the belief and understand how it’s blocking you.

While the limiting beliefs are not actually true or useful, they do represent our brain doing its best to try to protect us from future pain. Your brain has learned that love or money is hard so it’s doing its best to prevent you from having anything to do with those things–even though your conscious mind might very much want to.

The Overcoming Limiting Beliefs Exercise

So now that you know what a limiting belief is and what caused it, let’s get on with the process of overcoming them.

Overcome Limiting Beliefs Step #1:

Write Down All Your Beliefs

If there’s an area where you feel lack, limitation, or struggle, try doing a brain dump to start to see your own thoughts.

It’s our unexamined habitual thoughts that have the most power over us. One of our biggest barriers to seeing our own limiting beliefs is simply the fact that we don’t get curious and examine them.

So let’s do that!

Take a blank piece of paper and just start writing out your most dominant thoughts. Our aim is to make a list of limiting beliefs. No editing here please! The point of this exercise is to see ourselves without a filter. Most of us think that the private thoughts in our own minds are unimportant and inconsequential. But that’s not the case! The more you opt into a thought (like “It’s impossible to find love after 35.”) and the more you repeat it, the more power it has over you.

Overcome Limiting Beliefs Step #2:

Ask Yourself: Is This True?

There’s a big difference between a fact and a belief.

Facts can be proven or observed by other people. They will always be true.

Beliefs are neither of those things. For example, if the belief “There are no good single men in this town” was actually true, that would mean no one in town would be in a good relationship. Your brain might have interpreted not going on any amazing dates in two years as a drought everywhere but when you look a little closer, that’s clearly not the case.

Challenge yourself to find an exception to every rule in your own mind. If you can think of even just one time where this belief didn’t hold true, then you know it’s a belief and not a fact.

And if it’s just a belief, that means you can choose to believe something else instead.

You get to believe whatever you want about life, God, your body, your potential.

(However, just a caveat here! Science is always factual.)

Overcome Limiting Beliefs Step #3:

Ask: How Is This Belief Serving Me?

Everything is here to serve a purpose or carry a message. So let’s get curious about what’s happening in your mind.

Maybe your limiting belief is protecting you from something. Maybe your limiting belief is “blocking” something you’re afraid of.

Be open and honest with yourself about what you think this belief is actually doing for you. (ie. “saving” you from the pain of heartbreak, etc.)

Then let’s flip it to the other side and see the reality of what its creating:

How is this belief getting in my way? What is this belief preventing me from doing?

We only cling to these beliefs because we think they are helping us! But when you realize how much accidental harm they’re causing, it will become a lot easier to release them.

Overcome Limiting Beliefs Step #4:

What Do You Want To Believe Instead?

Life creation is about more than acquiring physical objects. It’s about designing your life from the inside out–including your own beliefs and feelings.

So ask yourself: what do you want to be true about love, money, etc.?

If you believed in abundant money, what would your beliefs be?

If you believed in abundant love, what would your beliefs be?

If you believed in the abundance of your own potential, what would your beliefs be?

To rewrite your new thoughts, there are a few things you can do:

Choose The New Belief

Actively choose your new belief when you notice the old one popping up. Eventually, your brain will start to choose the new belief all on its own.

Subconscious Work

Some of my favorite manifestation tools are subconscious tools like hypnosis and subliminals. Basically, these audios allow you to get directly into your subconscious mind (so they work much faster than affirmations do!).


Collect Evidence

Our brain is largely Monkey See Monkey Do. So giving your brain “proof” of what you want to be true will help rewire that new idea into your subconscious mind.

My favorite way of doing this is to create an evidence list. Write down anything and everything you notice that might prove your new belief to be accurate.

This doesn’t have to be factual, provable evidence! Your interpretations of any event is good enough. We did that already when we wired the old belief in the first place and we can use the same thing to rewire in something new.

Overcome Limiting Beliefs Step #5:

Wash, Rinse & Repeat

Your limiting beliefs became strong because you’ve thought them over and over again. So replacing them will require a little patience and practice! (You have a lot of old programming to rewrite.)

Don’t get mad at yourself when the old belief pops up. Just direct your attention to what you want to consciously believe and get on with your life. Eventually, the new thought will replace the old one and the old one won’t show its ugly little face so much anymore.

Even with a lot of reprogramming work, in our darkest times, our old limiting beliefs can pop right back up again. Be gentle with yourself and just keep going! You are human and life can be hard sometimes. The important thing is to ultimately remember that you are the one in charge.

Limiting Beliefs FAQ:

How to identify limiting beliefs?

A limiting belief is any belief that is limiting you or harming you in some way. Most of our beliefs are not scientific facts. They’re just opinions! So what good is it for you to hold onto the beliefs that harm you when you could choose ones that support you instead?

How do you reverse limiting beliefs?

Reversing a limiting belief can be done in a few different ways. Basically, you need to internally rewire your mind to prefer your new belief over the old one. That can be done through affirmations, hypnosis, EFT and many other tools.

What is the opposite of a limiting belief?

The opposite of a limiting belief is a supportive belief: a belief that you consciously choose to hold onto. Hopefully this belief aligns with your core values and your future desires! Because if it doesn’t, why are you holding onto it in the first place?

How do you reframe self-limiting beliefs?

One of the best ways to reframe limiting beliefs is to simply notice the belief and think about the very opposite belief. Instead, of thinking “Money is hard to earn.” you could choose “Money flows to me easily.”

What is the root cause of limiting beliefs?

Most limiting beliefs are beliefs we picked up in childhood. They might be something your parents told you (“We’ll never be rich.”), something you saw on TV or heard on the school playground. A limiting belief can come from almost anywhere. But the younger you are, the bigger the emotional impact, or the more often you hear it, the more likely it will be to stick.

So what did you think? What surprised you to learn about limiting beliefs? What’s a stubborn limiting belief you’re working on releasing?

The bottom line is that thinking the way you’ve always thought will continue to create the results you’ve always gotten. If you’re ready for something different, challenge yourself to begin to think differently! It really is the key to changing almost everything.

Jenn Stevens The Aligned Life

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