Do you have a subconscious limiting belief holding you back ? Maybe you aren’t even sure what it is, you’re just struggling to attract something and have a sneaky suspicion it has to do with a limiting belief buried in your subconscious.
I know the feeling. We’ve all been there at various stages of our lives.
Subconscious limiting beliefs are usually at the crux of why you’re not manifesting, why you struggle with self worth, and why you struggle to take action even if it’s something you want. In this article, we'll discuss how to identify what the belief is and flip it to create a belief that supports you, empowers you and motivates you.
If there’s something you’re not seeing results in, no matter how hard you try, your subconscious limiting beliefs are usually the culprit. Because they are the sneaky puppet master behind the scenes, sometimes you aren’t consciously aware of how they limit you.
That is why it is so important to identify your subconscious limiting beliefs, break through them, and rewrite your story. So, if you want to get rid of your limiting beliefs once and for all, settle in and get comfy. I’m about to show you how.
What are subconscious limiting beliefs?
Abraham Hicks says that a belief is just a thought you keep thinking. I would add to that definition by saying a belief is a thought you keep thinking with emotion.
Our brain forms actual information superhighways, electrical impulses, called neural linguistic pathways, which connect experiences to emotions, thoughts, habits and behaviors. It’s like a reference point for your brain.
Together with your subconscious, those neural pathways formed when you were very small. Your subconscious mind formed those beliefs with the best of intentions to keep you safe.
The primary life stage of programming is between the ages of 0 to 7 years, maybe up to 25, but predominantly 0 to 7. As babies we’re born as blank slates, without memory or an operations manual. You had to learn EVERYTHING you now know from scratch.
You had to learn what was appropriate and inappropriate, what was safe and what was unsafe, and what was important and unimportant – but of course, it would be exhausting and impractical to remember all of this consciously.
This is how the subconscious mind was formed. As we get older and start interacting with our environment, we learn that certain things are acceptable or unacceptable through perceiving a fear based reaction from others.
Maybe we encountered it when we tried to touch a hot plate, didn’t share our toys, heard a priest’s passionate sermon about the evils of money, or got picked on at school.
The strong emotional response that you felt in that moment signaled to your brain that this experience was important. From there, your impressionable brain created strong “rules” i.e. beliefs about life. It searched for evidence to support those beliefs, and is continually looking for evidence up until now.
Now mostly, beliefs are helpful. Remember that many subconscious beliefs process our environment on autopilot. We all have subconscious beliefs that shape our perspective, emotions, thoughts, and actions.
However, a limiting belief is one that is unhelpful and holding you back, maybe even sabotaging you, when it comes to attracting something or living up to your potential. The worst part is, sometimes this happens without us even being aware of it.
Your subconscious mind has a positive intention for every belief – even the ones that don’t serve you. A limiting subconscious belief is fear based: your subconscious mind formed it to protect you from what it perceived as a threat to your physical or emotional wellbeing. It is extremely protective, and has a powerful override mechanism, designed to keep you safe.
This is why you might absorb information consciously and intellectually – like after reading a self help book – and feel like you’ve had a breakthrough, but your subconscious is trickier to convince.
Your subconscious limiting beliefs are why you don’t follow through on a goal, or feel blocked by the Universe when you’re manifesting.
Jordan Belfort uses a great example of beliefs being like a governor in an engine. Imagine you’re driving the most powerful sports car in the world. Even though it’s high powered, it can only go as far as the governor will allow before it stops the flow of gas.
The car itself is unlimited in its potential, but while the governor runs the show, it will never be able to reach a higher speed.
“A limiting belief ... stops you from charging forward when you should and causes you to pull back when you shouldn’t.” — Jordan Belfort
Even though traditional law of attraction literature teaches that we attract what we think about, the reality is a little more nuanced.
We’re actually attracting from our subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is the powerhouse telling us what to think or feel about an experience.
This is why affirmations and thinking positive can feel forced or fake. While consciously you may think these things, or want to think these things, energetically you’re out of alignment because your subconscious is still vibrating at fear and lack.
This is also why there is a lag effect between affirmations and thinking positive and what shows up in our reality. Ultimately until the subconscious mind is reprogrammed, it will still affect what’s showing up.
Further, your subconscious beliefs not only dominate what you’re thinking about, believing and feeling, but also what you’re NOTICING.
If the subconscious is programmed to NOTICE lack, it’s going to filter out any evidence of abundance.
With that being said, there is a way to reprogram and rewrite your subconscious beliefs into ones that serve you and help you attract what you want.
I will disclaim this process by saying that it isn’t all sparkles and sprinkles, especially if your beliefs are rooted in past heartbreak and trauma. It verges into the territory of shadow work, and sometimes even requires working with a licensed therapist in certain cases.
However, it is important work and absolutely worth doing. Once you identify your beliefs and cast the light of awareness on them, their power over you weakens and you have the potential to change your life.
Which subconscious limiting belief is holding you back most?
Whilst we all have limiting beliefs in many areas of our lives, from love to money, it’s most beneficial to focus on targeting one belief at a time.
You may identify a belief in one area, like money, that is emblematic of a pattern you run in other areas too. As you work on this belief, you may suddenly become aware of that same pattern popping up in other areas. Continue to work through the below process.
You may already have an area of your life in mind: something you’re working on and not making steady progress in. This is a good indicator that there’s a subconscious belief pulling the puppet strings.
Step 1: Get clear on your limiting beliefs
The first step to break through a limiting belief is to get clear on what it is. Take some time alone, distraction-free.
You might do some deep breathing, listen to music on low volume, or meditate beforehand.
Take out pen and paper and think about the area of life you feel stuck in. Let’s look at money as an example.
Recently, I did this myself. I thought about my relationship with money. I asked myself the following questions:
When I think about [money], what is the first thought that comes to mind?
How did I experience [money] when I was growing up?
What negative situations, or conflict situations (e.g. arguments) about [money] did I experience growing up?
What did my caregivers/spiritual leaders say about [money]?
What catchphrases do I remember hearing about [money]?
What was my first experience with [money]?
How was money dealt with in my earliest romantic relationships?
There’s no need to censor or judge what comes up for you. Allow it to flow freely from your pen.
Now, think about how you language this area of your life. Look for ways you attach your identity, your ability, or absolutes like ‘I always’ or ‘I never’.
Any statement that you make about the area you’re stuck in that begins with:
I am ...
I always ...
I never ...
I can’t ...
I should ...
I’ll never be able to ...
Every time …
… is a direct clue toward uncovering your belief system. When I ran this exercise around money, here are some of the beliefs I uncovered.
I’m always broke.
I’m mathematically dyslexic.
I can’t afford it.
I’m irresponsible with money.
I’m not a good saver.
Money can’t buy happiness.
I have to work really hard to earn money.
I need an unexpected windfall/lottery win to save me from my situation.
People who care about money are shallow/snobby/selfish.
The government/tax man has it stitched up so I can’t get ahead.
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Every time I make money I get an unexpected expense.
I always have too much month at the end of my money.
Perhaps you have a similar list in areas like love, business, or health and fitness. Some of these beliefs might be confronting to discover. Now that they are out of your head and on paper they are in the conscious plane.
They cannot hide from you and wreak havoc in the shadows anymore, because you’re now aware of them. From this space, you have the power to transform them.
Step Two: Flip the script
I love this part of the process because you now get to explore what you want to be true, and use the old beliefs as a template for creating new ones.
For each belief you wrote down, flip the script and write it out as if it was a belief that supported you.
For example, the belief that I’m irresponsible with money becomes I am a savvy custodian of the money I receive.
Or It’s selfish to be rich when others are struggling becomes It’s selfless to be rich because I will have a greater capacity to give.
You can also write a letter to the Universe acknowledging and forgiving yourself for your old beliefs, releasing them, and embracing your new empowering beliefs.
Now that you are aware of these beliefs, it’s easier to catch yourself in a thought. Note when that thought seems to pop up most for you. When you catch yourself in an unhelpful thought, ask:
Is this really true?
If thoughts attract things, is this thought attracting what I want?
(if not) What is a thought that would instead?
If I was an attorney in a courtroom disputing the case against this limiting belief, what would my argument be?
How would I argue FOR the helpful, empowering thought?
Repeat the helpful thought (to yourself or aloud), and even write it down if you can.
Now see if you can find ways to focus on that thought, and finding evidence that it’s true. Play a game with yourself for the next half hour.
For example: How can I focus on all the ways that I am abundant? How can I focus on all the ways that I am loved and lovable? How can I focus on all the ways that owning a business is fun and profitable? How can I focus on all the ways that I am healthy and fit?
Make it fun! The Universe loves fun. And the more you feel good, the more good feeling thoughts you will have, and the more good feeling thoughts you will attract.
Step three: Create evidence for the new belief
The next step is to show your subconscious evidence to support the new belief. The more evidence you can show in favor of your new belief, the faster it will take hold.
You can look on YouTube, read biographies, watch documentaries, or even look for fictional characters: ANYTHING that shows your subconscious what’s possible and mounts evidence to provide a solid argument FOR your new empowering belief.
For me, to help me heal my money story, I went in search of:
Stories about people who lead more blessed, fulfilled and generous lives because of their wealth
Stories about wealthy people who are also kind and generous
Stories about self-made billionaire women
However, the most effective way to create a new evidence bank is to show your subconscious mind through personal example.
You have to do the thing that terrifies you most. Fear is your subconscious mind going berserk, flailing its robot arms shouting ‘DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! DANGER!’
This might look like:
Doing a Facebook Live
Signing up for a coaching program
Joining the gym/signing up for a yoga class
Joining a dating website
The more you step outside your comfort zone, the more you stretch the confines of what is possible to your subconscious mind. You will open it up to new opportunities, possibilities and ways of thinking that it could never have entertained from inside your comfort zone.
When you get out and show your subconscious mind that you are safe even when doing the thing you fear, it expands and can never go back to its previous limitations.
This step won’t be without its challenges. In fact, your subconscious is likely to go berserk.
Past patterns may suddenly start to go into overdrive, or you may suddenly remember things you’d hoped would stay buried.
Reframe it as a good thing. The past is resurfacing because your subconscious is ready to deal with it. Your fears are coming into the open so that you can conquer them.
When you feel afraid, get excited! It means you’re on the verge of a breakthrough.
The worst thing about fear is fear itself. The more that we avoid fear, the more power we give it, until our entire lives become dictated to by our amygdala (the fear centre in our brain).
Fortunately, the amygdala can be educated. We can show it what it doesn’t need to be afraid of.
This helpful article by Susan Biali Haas for Psychology Today likens the experience of facing your fear to proving to a child there’s no monsters under the bed.
Simply telling a child “there’s no monsters” under the bed will do little to erase his belief. But encouraging the child to come out and look for the monsters with you will do more to convince him.
The more positive experiences you have around the thing you fear, the more you teach your subconscious mind that it isn’t a threat.
Fear’s allowed to come for the ride and give suggestions: it’s just not licensed to drive the car anymore.
Step 4: Affirm in the new belief
Words are spells. The words we say to and about ourselves and the world around us become reality. They are programming our subconscious mind.
I have a love/hate relationship with affirmations. It’s kind of like squats. (Stick with me, I’m going somewhere with this.)
Have you ever followed one of those squat challenges to get a Kardashian booty and ended up with massive legs and a pancake bum? If so, it probably happened due to the same reasons affirmations don’t work for many people.
The two reasons your squats don’t work are the same two reasons your affirmations aren’t working: 1. Preparation work 2. Technique
If you’re not waking up the glutes and getting them firing and activated before you squat, you’ll mostly recruit whatever muscles automatically show up for the job.
Glutes can be lazy. If they can see your quadriceps have it under control, they’ll go back to sleep.
Secondly, if there’s no mind-muscle connection while you squat i.e. you’re not executing the proper form and focusing in on the glutes as you execute the movement, once again you default to the quadriceps.
Now back to affirmations.
If you haven’t done the last three steps in this process and leap straight into the affirmations, they’re going to feel forced and fake. This is because you haven’t done the pre-work to activate the subconscious mind.
However, once you have done the "activations" i.e. the inner work, affirmations will become a lot more effective – but only with the right technique.
When you’re saying something unhelpful to/about yourself, what’s also usually going on? That’s right! You are usually also experiencing a strong emotion.
A thought combined with an emotion triggers the subconscious mind to sit up and pay attention and sets the law of attraction in motion.
So when we stand in the mirror and say ‘I am rich and abundant’ when we feel desperately broke, it will do little to create a shift in our subconscious mind.
We have to create a mind+muscle connection, just as we would when we’re exercising our bodies, in order for the affirmation to become effective.
So tomorrow I want you to try something different.
Do something fun to get your heart pumping beforehand. You might have a dance party, or an orgasm, or go for a run. Physical movement that gets your body primed, energized and surging with endorphins is an unbeatable precursor for affirmations.
Think about the new quality you want to attract. Let’s stick with money.
How would you stand if you were abundant? Would you be tense, or relaxed? Would you be hunched inward, or tall, expansive and powerful?
Look in the mirror and stand as if you had what want to attract. Changing your physiology will create a biochemical response.
Breathe deeply and notice the change in your state. Imagine you are looking not into a mirror but into a time portal at the you in the future who is abundant and rich. Feel those feelings surge up within you.
How do you feel when you are abundant and rich? How do you feel gazing at the abundant, rich version of you?
With that emotion deeply in your heart, repeat your affirmation aloud, at least three times. Watch your eyes sparkle and listen to the deep resonance in your voice.
Now, just like starting a fitness program, one, three, or even ten sessions at the gym likely won’t give you the Kardashian butt you want. You may start to see results quickly, however to truly program your subconscious mind, it takes consistent practice until the old belief atrophies and the new belief takes hold.
Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments below. Share with me: 1. The #1 limiting belief keeping you stuck and 2. The new belief you are replacing it with.
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