What is a limiting belief?
During my NLP training, we were learning about a very successful spelling strategy that has shown great results in helping children especially those that have been diagnosed with Dyslexia. Our trainer asked for someone, who was not a good speller, to come forward to assist with the exercise. This lovely lady sat on the chair at the front, to prove how bad she was at spelling and to learn the strategy to overcome it. Our trainer asked her to spell word after word, they became more and more difficult to spell and without missing a beat she spelt every one correctly (just a reminder this was before she had even learnt the spelling strategy).
“I thought you said you could’t spell” our trainer asked
“I was told I couldn’t”
It had turned out when she was at school a teacher had used these exact words
“It’s a good job you are bonny because you can’t spell for toffee”
That limiting belief set in, for over forty years this lady carried a belief that she could not do something, even though she could, even though the evidence was there to see every time she put words on a document, she still held onto the limiting belief.
The problem with limiting beliefs is they are sneaky little critters, they come in all shapes and sizes and they are so ingrained in who we are and how we act. We don’t even feel them there. You know what it’s like when you put on a really amazing, expensive pair of shoes, they are made so beautifully, weighted properly, so when you try them on they just feel like they are part of you. Try walking ten miles in them and you soon start to feel the pain.
This is the same with your limiting beliefs when you try to do something that goes against them you start to feel the pain.
If you take a smoker, for example, it is actually quite easy to get a smoker to not like cigarettes. What becomes more difficult is the limiting belief, they hold, that they are a smoker. Once a smoker stops the cigarettes, they still live with the limiting believe that they are a smoker so they are then fighting against themselves. The belief is so strong and they battle against their actions, I am a smoker, I am not smoking, I am a smoker, I am not smoking. The battle becomes over whelming but this engrained belief is so strong that a large percentage of the time people go back to smoking again.
The good news is you can remove your limiting beliefs and there are many, many different ways experts tell you to how to do this. They go from positive affirmations, to elastic bands to therapy. In later blog posts we are going to go into more detail about the actual techniques.