Learn How to Change Your Limiting Beliefs

Many of your beliefs have no connection to reality. They're ideas that you've developed yourself or that others have made you believe. You need to change them to empower yourself!
Learn How to Change Your Limiting Beliefs
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

You can take several steps to change your limiting beliefs. Firstly, you need to recognize them. They’re the ones that undermine your self-esteem and confidence. Then, you have to reinterpret your internalized perspective of the world. This will allow you to identify the cognitive and emotional traps that don’t allow you to growth and prevent you from being happy.

However, this exercise isn’t easy, as many of these limiting beliefs have accompanied you for as long as you can remember. During childhood, many of these ideas and interpretations that erode your personal growth become ingrained into your mind. For example, phrases like “You’re not worthy of that” or “Don’t even try”. These kinds of thoughts undermine both your identity and potential.

Limiting beliefs hold you back

It’s quite curious that, even though these misconceptions aren’t useful, they remain with you throughout your life. For example, although you might be highly intelligent, if you don’t believe you are, you’ll probably never succeed because your insecurity prevents it.

This is basically due to the depths at which your limiting beliefs are ingrained in you. They’re seeds that plant themselves deep in your psychological strata. In addition, they go hand in hand with your fears, which is why they tend to escape from any reason and logic. However, with commitment and certain strategies, you can deactivate them.

A man sitting on a rock thinking maybe about changing his limiting beliefs.

How can you change your limiting beliefs?

There are some surprising facts concerning limiting and false beliefs. For example, you don’t tend to pay a lot of attention to things that were said to you during your childhood and adolescence. Nevertheless, every experience and word you heard at this period in your life shaped who you are.

Dr. Elke Geerts from Maastricht University conducted an interesting study. She concluded that, if a group of children is made to believe that they’re allergic to a food (eggs, for example), they’ll reach adulthood believing that they’re still intolerant to it. Furthermore, there have been cases where ingesting these foods has provoked a reaction such as an upset stomach or vomiting.

What you believe shapes you. However, people don’t only form limiting beliefs in adulthood. The way you interpret certain experiences in adulthood can also cement new false and damaging ideas that can markedly damage your feelings of worth. One example might be an emotional break-up, after which you might tell yourself “Love just isn’t for me”.

What limiting beliefs are you holding on to?

Throughout your life, you’ve been in contact with various sources that led to limiting beliefs. They could’ve been passed on by your parents or from school. Indeed, you may be scarred by certain words or experiences from this period in your life. Or perhaps they originated from an emotional relationship or an exhausting job where you suffered a lot of stress.

You probably internalized an experience or belief. In order to disassemble it, you first have to identify it and analyze how it came about. Then, you’ll see how harmful and unrealistic it really is.

“We learn our  belief systems as very little children, and then we move through life creating experiences to match our beliefs.”

 -Louise L. Hay-


The back view of a woman.

What you believe isn’t the truth, you built it

If you want to know how to change your limiting beliefs, think about this. It’s true that, at some point in time, someone made you believe something about yourself. It’s also true that you shaped an image based on that belief. An image that now accompanies you wherever you go, limits you, and makes you unhappy. Now, you need to remember that this belief isn’t the truth. In fact, it’s you who built it. For this reason, you must also tear it down.

How to do it

  • Uncover your limiting beliefs. Ask yourself where they’re coming from and why you pay so much attention to them. Have they actually been helpful?
  • Reflect. How do you see yourself in the future if you continue with these beliefs? How’d you like to feel in the near future? Do you think your limiting beliefs will help you achieve what you want?
  • Clarify and establish new beliefs that are in tune with what you want to achieve. One example might be to say to yourself, “I know that life is complicated sometimes but I have the psychological resources to deal with problems. I deserve to feel good. I deserve what I want, and I must strive to get it. I’m worth it”.

Finally, to understand how you can change your limiting beliefs, you just need to remember to do one thing. Keep questioning. Question the emotional baggage you’re carrying around. Especially those “I can’t”, “This isn’t for me”, “If I do it I’ll just fail again”, and “It’s far too complicated and too late for me to learn” kinds of beliefs.

Start recognizing your worth and deactivate those cognitive and emotional universes that limit your potential.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Geraerts, E., Bernstein, D. M., Merckelbach, H., Linders, C., Raymaekers, L., & Loftus, E. F. (2008). Lasting false beliefs and their behavioral consequences. Psychological Science19(8), 749–753. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02151.x

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.