What Are Limiting Beliefs?
Limiting beliefs can run very deep. Your beliefs structure your reality. Like are like computer programming your life and determining how you will out-picture your reality. Your beliefs, supportive and limiting are the energy that communicates with your body and impacts your wellbeing.
They have a lot of influence. They shape the relationships we choose to be in. They can determine whether you survive an illness or not – if you believe in your treatment then you are more likely to survive. They impact our behaviour, choices and actions. They open up or close down your connection to spirit. Everything in your life is interpreted through your beliefs, which are programmes, limiting or expanding you. They can get in the way of progress because they are like blocks in our subconscious mind, stored in our consciousness and our physical and energy body. They can run very deep. Some of these beliefs are root, core limiting beliefs and some can be more secondary beliefs.
Some think we come into this world pretty much a blank slate, we do not. Of course early childhood experiences are the first way we get ideas or beliefs about life and ourselves. But beliefs are held in our consciousness and our consciousness doesn’t start and end with this life. Beliefs are based on our assumptions, perceptions and generalisations from our experiences, culture, education and others. It is the meaning we place upon our experiences that creates our belief patterns. Most of the time, we are not conscious enough to consciously choose what to believe, so most of our beliefs are held unconsciously.
Limiting beliefs work like this:
1. They create a distorted or rose coloured lens through which we perceive our reality
2. This lens keeps limits our version of who we are, and keeps us confined to a dualistic, 3D reality, disconnected from our spiritual connectedness
3. We stay confined within a narrow, rigid identity that leaves no room for wholeness, fluidity, joy or potential
lieving these limits, we continue to live within the confines of them, further fulfilling that limiting belief, which helps create our reality
4. The limited identity we align with keeps being reinforced and reflected back, as we continue to out-picture our limited version of reality
Different levels of the mental body
There are three basic levels of thinking which create beliefs; core beliefs, intermediate beliefs and automatic thinking. Deep soul level beliefs are our core beliefs. These are patterns of thought hidden in the unconscious, created from early experiences, parenting styles, deep wounding, trauma, ancestral programming and past life programming. Intermediate Beliefs are attitudes, assumptions and rules and these link conscious thoughts with core beliefs. They are logical extensions of our core beliefs. Automatic thoughts are our surface thoughts which we usually screen out as they stream through our consciousness, synonymous with the monkey mind, our internal monologue, or a mild inner critic.
But the thoughts you’re aware of or you screen out, barely scratch the surface of your mind. Digging deeper there’s deeper layers of cognition that drive your automatic thoughts. These deeper driving forces are ideas or assumptions, like “If I say something wrong, I have failed”. We tend to buy into these assumptions because of our experiences. These assumptions have been tested and fortified over so long, sometimes many lifetimes, so that they form deeply-held core beliefs at the deepest layer of our cognition and consciousness. Beliefs like “I’m useless”, “I’m unworthy”, “I’m unlovable”, I’m a failure”, “People don’t care about me”, “I’m not important”, “People will leave me”, “I will never get my needs met”, “I will never be good enough”, these are all deep core level beliefs about ourselves, life and our relationships. So while core and intermediate beliefs shape the content of your thoughts, automatic thoughts, in turn, work to reinforce our beliefs.
Our intermediate Beliefs are the way that core beliefs influence our perception, interpretation, and response to a situation. This includes our attitudes, assumptions, and rules: conditional statements, evaluative statements such as “It would be terrible if…”. Assumptions statements “if…then…” statements, and rules are “shoulds“, “musts”, “oughts”, “needs” “can’t” like “I must be healed to deserve love” arise from deeper core beliefs, and are either logical extensions, or attempts to cope with a painful core belief. For example, if we feel inadequate and/or unlovable, we might have intermediate beliefs like “I am inadequate so I must work harder than everyone else” or “I am unlovable, so I should expect rejection, that’s safer”.
What influences core beliefs?
Core beliefs are deeply influenced by pre-birth agreements, ancestral & past life programming. While we develop them in early childhood, their origins are in the deepest chasms of our consciousness and at the core soul level of our energy body. Core beliefs are beliefs we hold about ourselves, other people, and the world. They are the absolute truths, often we are so identified with them that we don’t question them and are at the foundation of our self-image: They dictate who you believe you are – worthy, lovable, powerful and how you present yourself to the world. They dictate how you interpret events in your world, your sense of belonging to the world, how you are treated by others and deeply impact your relationships for better or worse. So even if your conscious mind is doing everything it can to heal, your subconscious mind, the deeper belief patterns may be holding unresolved wounds that override your conscious mind.
As we are often not consciously aware of our core beliefs we manifest situations which activate core beliefs, shaping our perception and interpretation of situations. We tend to filter incoming information to accept information that fits the core beliefs we hold, and discounts anything that contradicts our belief. Changing your core beliefs requires work at different levels, as they are deeply held and in different parts of your consciousness. We discuss ways of changing them later, but changing them will fundamentally alter your view of yourself and your world and change the kind of reality you are manifesting for yourself.
Does the subconscious block us from healing?
Sometimes we are not quite ready to heal something, we need to journey a bit with it and really get it, imbibe it, until we are ready to let it go. Strong limiting beliefs can block our ability to heal. But in and of itself the subconscious mind does not block us from healing. We all have resistance to doing things that are good for us, but this is not because of the subconscious mind. Inner conflict happens because when we do change, it needs to be at the right time in the right way and to the right extent. Often when we try and change, and it doesn’t work, it’s because one of these is out of balance. We are trying to change too much, too fast or not at the time time for us to change. We have lots of false starts with change, this is normal and it’s like trying to jump start a car, eventually it starts up, but the process can be hit and miss and a good test run is never a bad thing since we learn through it. We have to get more prepared to following the Tao within us and it’s pace for us.
The resistance we have to change can also be down to fear of what would happen if we did change. Working through that fear, transmuting that fear is important, as well as respecting the time of change. The point is that healing doesn’t take place only on our terms. We have all heard cases of spontaneous healings, despite death sentences given by doctors. The most helpful thing we can do for ourselves is to stay open-minded and believe that anything is possible. This way it’s easier for the right information to get through to us.
Part of you may see the challenge or illness as an upside or benefit, which is better in some way than being well. This means you perceive there is a benefit to your challenge.
Many of the limiting beliefs that are blocking you won’t make logical sense, at least at first. In fact, some could probably be categorized as shocking. You discovering blocks you never thought of. This will give you the opportunity to work on things you never knew existed, taking new directions and getting results you’ve never gotten. The big-picture idea here is to slowly release all the subconscious reasons that your body, mind, and spirit have to not heal. There will probably be a lot of reasons.
Physical symptoms or emotional challenges arise when we are not living in alignment with the part of us that is emerging and whole. We are held back and sometimes propelled forward in an accelerated way by toxic relationships, compromising our needs for others, or doing a job we hate. Transmuting limiting beliefs is necessary if we want to make permanent shifts and avoid the risk of relapsing.
In practise how do we establish a limiting belief?
It usually takes more than just a minor experience to create a limiting belief. However its necessary to remember that we are generating limiting beliefs that are already dormant in our consciousness ready and waiting to be triggered as they need healing and its only when we perceive a limiting belief, face the suffering they cause and then are forced through difficult experiences to heal them that then we are liberated.
Imagine as a child your mum has to go into hospital urgently with a splitted disc, but this hospital, like many hospitals in the early 1980s in Great Britain didn’t allow children in the wards. Lets say this child also couldn’t yet verbally communicate and couldn’t also understand verbal communication. Perhaps the child was also breastfeeding. After two weeks the mother comes out of hospital to return to the child, but the damage has already been done. The child has already experienced severe abandonment issues, trust issues and a deep soul wound has been retriggered bringing with it all the old limiting belief systems, such as “I will be abandoned”, “I am unlovable”, “Life is difficult”, “People I love will leave me”, and an intermediate, conditional belief might be “If I love someone they will leave me so I must not express my life”, “I need to withhold love in order to avoid rejection”. Then it might be “I am bound to be rejected”, “I am boring and people will leave me”, “I will be abandoned if I care for someone”.
A strong of beliefs, feelings, thinking patterns begins to emerge around this experience and defense mechanisms get activated like in this place it might be a lack of emotional expression. Let’s say you have figured that to avoid being rejected you just live without emotional expression and without telling your partners that you love them. Lets say after a while your partner forces you to go to therapy to face this lack of emotional expression. But on facing the issue, the immense fear of being abandoned comes up and paralyses the individual. The person might not understand why but this is how they feel. The subconscious mind simply gathers information from our experiences and then responses based on conditioning and feedback it receives.
Our subconscious mind creates rules to direct our behaviour. Different levels of our being hold wounds. Early wounds often get frozen emotionally in the body, and this is where the release and healing needs to take place. Later wounds, where we are cognizant happen at the mental body level and so need to be understood at that level. We create stronger neural pathways for our beliefs as we reinforce them with later experiences, patterns of feelings and thinking.
Bruce Lipton’s groundbreaking research proves that you can influence your DNA and cells through you environment. That your DNA is mutable, it’s not fixed and you can change your biology. This is important since we believe by and large that our make-up is fixed. His research suggests that your biology changes if you change your subconscious beliefs. Aligning with healthy beliefs and clearing out limiting beliefs actually paves the way to being free and healthy.