The 3 Hidden Benefits Of Limiting Beliefs


by Joanne Julius Hunold - Date: 2009-10-22 - Word Count: 576 Share This!

Unless you are extremely advanced in your personal development path, you have some limiting beliefs. We all do. You know, the kind of beliefs that either stop you in your tracks, hold you back, or slow you down. The kind of beliefs that you typically do not verbalize, perhaps because you are not aware of them on a conscious level.

Yet, even when we are aware of our limiting beliefs and we realize we want to change them, or let them go; we find it really hard to do so. Why is that? I believe that it's because these limiting beliefs have an upside as well; some hidden benefits.In order to release a limiting belief, first become aware of the "payoff" and then find another way to satisfy the need that the payoff is fulfilling.

Some common limiting beliefs:

1. I'm not good enough.

2. I'm not ready.

3. I don't know enough to...

4. I can't do X because there are people who do it much better than I.

5. I have to wait until I am sure that this will work/that this is the right choice.

6. I'm too old/young/fat/weak/stupid/etc to do...

Some common hidden benefits:

1. The belief helps you avoid something.

2. The belief gets you "off the hook."

3. The belief maintains your status quo; keeps you where you are, safe and comfortable.

Consider the example of "I'm not good enough." You know how it stops you: you hesitate, procrastinate or just don't go after what you want. You don't ask for that job, that promotion, that sale. Why, because you are "not good enough;" you know the answer will be "no." Why bother?

Let's look at how that belief benefits you: you get to avoid rejection, you get to avoid the discomfort of asking. Perhaps asking for a promotion means you need to do some preparation, for example preparing a list of your recent accomplishments, summarizing your reasons for why you deserve the promotion. Well, that takes work. Believing you are not good enough (and therefore you are not going to ask) means you also get to avoid doing all that prep work. Believing you are not good enough gets you off the hook; it absolves you of personal responsibility (well really nothing absolves you of personal responsibility, but this can trick you into thinking you are off the hook).

Hmm, the benefits are starting to look pretty enticing aren't they? Being aware of the upside, as well as the downside, is the first step in releasing old beliefs, beliefs that may not be serving you well. Can you find another way to get those benefits without resorting to the limiting belief? In the example above, can you find another way to avoid rejection, or a way to lessen its sting, that also allows you to believe that you are indeed good enough? Are you so absolutely sure that you are going to be rejected? If you are rejected, will that feel as bad as the feeling you get when you put yourself down?

You hold on to beliefs as long as they serve you in some way. So focus on how the belief serves you as well as how it hinders you. You might just identify a need that must be satisfied (for example to feel "safe") before you can progress. Expanding your limits is not a one-time act; it is a life-long process if you choose (and remember, it is a choice) to step up to the plate.

(c) 2009 Joanne Julius Hunold

Related Tags: limiting beliefs, limiting belief, hidden benefits, common limiting beliefs, belief benefits

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