A limiting belief system is any belief system that does not enable you to achieve what you want in life. These vary from anxieties, fears, phobias to believing that you cannot change, whether it be weight, that you will never get over being depressed, you will never find a partner in life. How many limiting belief systems might you have that stop you from progressing in life?
We are, in many ways, ruled by our past beliefs. From the moment we’re born, we absorb the world around us. The early attitudes, beliefs and behaviours we were exposed to can become an inner dialogue, affecting how we see ourselves and others.
For example, the positive behaviour and qualities our parents had helped us form a positive sense of self as well as many of our values. If we felt love, acceptance or compassion directed toward us, this nurtured our real self and the positive feelings we have about who we are in the world.
However, the critical attitudes and negative experiences we withstood formed and fuelled our inner voice. Early rejections and harmful ways of relating affect a child’s self-perception, not to mention their point of view towards other people and relationships in general.
In the very beginning, our frame is formed by our parents and the environment in which we live, both of which have a substantial influence on how we are raised — our morals, values, the support, love and praise we received, etc. This all creates the frame for the picture of our life.
Our canvas is the bed in which information can be stored, the paint is how we interpret our experiences and the artist is designing the outcome of our experiences with colour and depth. The result is a painting that defines all our beliefs and structures, whether good or bad.
For example, being born into family where the parental frame is distorted, incorrectly fixed and loose. This would have an impact on how the canvas would form which could be slightly rippled and distorted. In turn this would have a knock-on effect on how the paint is applied, giving a less desirable finish by the artist.
This reflects a child that is born within a distorted environment, where love and support aren’t consistent, where they are not praised for doing good, where they are put down for failing or are constantly judged, determining their thoughts, decisions and behaviours.
This forms the beginning of the child’s core limiting beliefs; low self-esteem, social anxiety and many other negative assumptions are formed by core limiting beliefs. These limitations create a limiting filter that we look through, determining how we react to our experiences as an adult, dictating what we like and dislike. Limitation begins.
Our parents are a major influence in how our beliefs, morals, values are manufactured and whether that be perceived as negative or positive. If for instance the child is born into an environment where love, care, support and encouragement are not consistently maintained we may find that a child will start to build beliefs in line with this leaving them with a skewed outlook on life.
Love, care, support and encouragement provide an environment whereby a child will feel safe and secure allowing them to flourish.
If children are brought into an environment in which these fundamental needs are not provided for and they are subjected to constantly being belittled, punished, picked on, ridiculed, are uncared for, and in which parents constantly argue, then the child will begin to create complexes based on how this makes them feel.
If any of these situations are persistent enough, the child will begin to form anxieties aligned with this behaviour based on how this makes them feel. This is when our core limiting beliefs systems are forms.
There are two main limiting belief systems that we have that have a detrimental effect upon us: – Low self-esteem and social anxiety.
These are the foundations that underpin all anxieties.
Low self-esteem – Our sense of self is developed mostly unconsciously as we process and store our life’s experiences and take on board the judgements of others. If, for example, we grow up in a family whereby we are constantly put down and belittled, we’re more than likely to begin to believe that we are a bit worthless. If we grow up in a loving, accepting family, we are much more likely to develop high self-esteem.
The more inconsistency within the family network, the more the esteem is lowered. If approval, love, care, support and encouragement are not consistent or the child is not told he or she will amount to much or constantly told off they will begin to believe they are bad, causing the child to form a belief in line with this, entering every new situation with this as the filter.
Social anxiety — is felt because the child has a need to be loved, truly accepted, valued, to fit in. Love enables a child to build a sense of self. It allows the child to create a mental robustness. So growing children want to please mum and dad and siblings etc. They want to fit into the group, be a part of the group, share the same values and beliefs as the group. The want to be socially accepted.
Social anxiety – is formed out of the need to protect the child from judgement. Ultimately, the child just wants approval, love, care, support, encouragement and attention from their parents/social group.
Children are constantly pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules, keeping secrets, hiding them from parents, siblings etc. Imagine the feeling of having to declare all that you have done wrong. You’d feel judged. Social anxiety is felt, and a defence is formed for protection.
Our limiting beliefs form the basis or filter through which we anticipate our experiences. These begin to create our anxieties and worries.