How to Let go of Limiting Beliefs: a Nuts-and-Bolts guide

Why do people not get what they want? I believe it’s two reasons.

  1. They don’t know what they want. They haven't done the introspective-natured work about their values, what they want out of life, what kind of lifestyle they want to live, what kind of work engages them, etc.
  2. They feel they don’t deserve what they want.

If you know what you want, and you believe you deserve it, then ultimately, nothing is stopping you from achieving it. Any obstacle in your way, which there will be many of, will be no match to you because your belief will be stronger than any obstacles that can get in your way.

This article will focus on reason number 2.

How can we fix the fact that we don’t feel worthy or deserving of our success?

The reason why you don’t feel worthy is because of past events that have happened to you, that have led you to adopt beliefs and assumptions about who you are as a person. Your story of who you are might be a self-perception that doesn’t fit the story of someone successful.

This requires zooming in on the specific past events and dissecting them. We need to understand the different factors at hand that led to whatever negative outcomes happened. In doing so, you can gain a clearer picture of why this has nothing to do with your ability to interact effectively in an environment, but was rather the result of many different factors.

Everything can be tracked back and made sense of. There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of us. We’re all just human beings. Any negative perception of yourself is based on falsehood. That doesn’t mean your feelings aren’t real. Your feelings need to be felt and are often at the root cause of subconscious patterns. You must begin to relate to your feelings in an accepting, nurturing, and loving way.

Here are 4 steps that help make this process more concrete:

  1. Write out the past experiences that have led to your current undesired behaviors and attitudes.

Focus on the areas of your past that still affect you today. What areas of your life do you still struggle with because of your past? Map out the parts of your life that have led to these issues completely and fully. Gain clarity about the different factors at play. This will allow you to understand your past failures, and be able to work with them.

For instance, let’s say you’ve been trying to lose weight for some years now, and have continued to be unsuccessful at it because you have a habit of eating too much chocolate. When, where, and how did your pattern of eating chocolate arise? Perhaps it was a learned behavior from parents or friends, that was passed onto you at an age where you didn’t know any better. Maybe you felt out of place with your work or school environment at the time and decided to engage in eating chocolate as an unconscious coping mechanism to create an identity that would allow you to save yourself from the cognitive dissonance of realizing that you actually do want to fit in with your environment but are scared. This process can be facilitated through awareness of psychological theory. Ultimately though, it just comes down to reinterpreting events that happened to you rationally, and accepting your past so that you can move forward.

  1. Adopt a healthy mindset to effectively manage negative emotions about self-perception that will inevitably pop up.

Moving forward comes from understanding first and foremost that your life needs time to heal. It takes time and commitment to get yourself back on track. In order for time to heal us and allow us to move forward and for our lives to continue to grow in a positive direction, we need to understand how to effectively manage the negativities we’re bound to encounter.

To continue the example from before, a good way to approach this problem behavior of eating too much chocolate is to simply start by bringing awareness to the problem. How do you feel when you’re eating the chocolate, and how do you feel before and after it? Start practicing the simple act of accepting the feelings that come up when you’re aware. Your mind may start to produce negative, self-hating thoughts about your behavior. Bring a nurturing acceptance towards it. You can continue right along with eating chocolate. Simply be aware of the entire process. You may find that awareness alone is curative. Awareness will make you understand the problem, and therefore the solution. The solution is clear already, just don’t eat the chocolate. Perhaps it’s the problem that was hidden.

A good next addition to this is to ask simple, and easy questions that you want to get the answer to, like “How can I make dieting, weight loss, and being more active easy and seamless?” A good start could simply be to walk more. You can bring your favorite people, or music, podcasts, and audiobooks along with you. The simple mindset of being a baby stepper can lead to transformational change and can begin to chip away at your old self-perception.

  1. Radical acceptance.

Letting go of our limiting beliefs is not possible without radical acceptance. Beliefs are stored as emotions in the body. This might sound like some woo-woo nonsense, but it’s true. It’s true for all of us. The truth behind this will be readily apparent to you if you take psychedelics in a good setting. Some current popular advocates of psychedelic-assisted therapy include Tucker Max and Tim Ferris. To learn more, check out this highly valuable blog post here

You can’t live your life just looking for positive outcomes. You have to accept the entire full spectrum of emotions when they arise, in order to have a peaceful and prosperous life in the long run. This is contradictory to our positive self-help culture. Mark Manson is an author and writer who blogs a lot about how the downsides of self-help culture, and has even started a movement called negative self-help to counteract it. The reason why self-help culture can be harmful is that it makes you feel guilty for feeling bad when that’s a normal part of being human! There becomes this expectation that I should always be positive. The healthier response is to accept how you’re feeling, and still respond to the moment as best as you can. If you need some to recuperate yourself, that’s okay.

  1. Radical self-responsibility

Once you know how to accept is when you can begin to be truly self-responsible. This is key. You can’t be truly responsible without knowing how to accept yourself. The reason why is because your ego will get in the way. If you aren’t trained in the art of radical self-acceptance, you will have a bunch of things you like and a bunch of things you don’t like. As long as you stay within the circle of things you like, you’ll be happy. Once you leave that circle, you’ll be unhappy. Being truly responsible requires you to leave the circle, and you won’t know how to handle it. You’ll start creating excuses, will quit, etc, and this will ruin your self-esteem. When you’re trained in the art of radical self-acceptance, you will perceive things outside of your comfort zones as challenges that will make you grow, and round out your character.

You will then be able to move into active surrendering. As you move forward in your goals, you will actively let go of your limiting beliefs, by feeling the associated emotions and allowing them to run out. Yes, this is how it works.

Hopefully, I didn’t miss a nut here or a bolt there. Until next time.

A Psychology Undergrad sharing wisdom through insights about psychology, self-development and spiritual growth.