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What are limiting beliefs ??

Updated: Jan 12

I found this very interesting article Psychcentral.com and I thought it was worth sharing.


Here's what I find painfully interesting about limiting beliefs.

To the brain, beliefs and facts are pretty close to the same thing. The same part of your brain that lights up when perceiving something you believe is true vs. know for a fact. This informs a common conundrum:

How does one go about convincing others that their false beliefs are, in fact, false ?

And who is anyone to make the attempt, given we're all in the same boat, unable to (absolutely) distinguish belief from fact ?


Fritz Perls had his solution:

"I do my thing, and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations. And you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful. If not, it can't be helped."


Perls legendary sentiment probably reflects (or perhaps initiated) the modern attitude.

"Why should you worry about what other people believe ?"

To each his own and all that stuff.


But that's NOT the problem. Yes, of course, let everyone do his or her or their own this, by all means !!

And sooner or later you realized how much other people's beliefs affect you. For example, your parents' beliefs probably determined the majority of who you think you are. But that's NOT the issue either.


HERE IS (MY) ISSUE.

How can I, as a mere mortal, have any idea whether what I believe is actually true or not ?

And the answer is.....I CANNOT !!

Period !

Part of the reason for this is the brain thing mentioned above. The other part has something to do with the pervasive nature of subjectivity.


In all this, the only thing you might care about is how to stop believing things that harm you. For example, believing that YOU will NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH is bound to cause you undue stress. Believing you deserve bad thing in life so you might as well settle...another real-life example of how harmful limiting beliefs can be. All of us leave childhood with an infinitely tangled web of personal beliefs. And they often conflict with each other. They can pop into your mind unannounced and ruin the day, can't they ?


You might consider any emotionally overwhelming situation to be mixed up with a personal belief. Even a panic attack is mingled with awful beliefs, such as "something is awfully wrong...I am going to die".


Beliefs are powerful. They may be the ultimate human superpower, to transform life itself into a journey of personal meaning. Limiting beliefs can make your journey a descent into a living hell. So, how does on go about changing a limiting belief ??


PROVE IT WRONG.

Learning how to change a belief is as simple as looking out the window. Imagine that you believe it's raining outside. Plans for the day that might be affected by the rain must be altered, etc. Then, you take a look outside. It's a nice, sunny day. No rain. No clouds. What happens to your belief that it's raining ? It vanished because you just proved it to be categorically false.


All else being equal, how do you change a belief ?

By providing evidence to the contrary. This is the most common thing in the world. You might be convinced that you're going to be late for something. Then, traffic opens up and suddenly you relax, no longer believing in the tardiness that seemed inevitable just moments before.


TO BE FAIR, THESE EXAMPLES ARE WEAK.

We might call them "non-emotional beliefs" if there could be such a thing. We may not be attached to their accuracy. Beliefs about ourselves - who we are and what is meaningful in life - those are a different matter altogether.


When you believe that you are defective in some way as a person, it's not easy to let it go. And we may not even what to when it comes down to it. Yet, the sample principle is relevant. We change our beliefs by proving them wrong !









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