top of page

Not A Subscriber? Not a problem.

Join my email list to get The Butterfly Effect delivered straight to your inbox every month.

Thanks for submitting!

Limiting Beliefs Are Like Safety Goggles (3 Steps To De-fog Them)


Once upon a time, I fell down a rabbit hole.

Not the fantastical kind like in Alice in Wonderland.

But instead, the kind that makes you hit rock bottom.

This was an “I’m not good enough” limiting belief rabbit hole.


Limiting beliefs are the downward spiral of a Fixed Belief Cycle in action:

  • You think and feel a certain way

  • You rationalize the thought and feeling by finding evidence for it

  • You affirm the thought and feeling by accepting certain evidence as truth

  • You embody the thought and feeling by over-identifying with it, resulting in more of the same thoughts and feelings


Limiting beliefs cloud your judgment, wreak havoc on your life, and lead you away from the good life. Let me show you how.


My limiting belief unconsciously guided every thought I had, feeling I felt, and action I took.

It lead me down a dysfunctional-coping-mechanism-slippery-slope:

I turned outward for reassurance and validation.


Two things happened when I turned outward:

  1. People affirmed that I was enough (which comforted me for some time…until their affirmation faded).

  2. People did not affirm that I was enough (which fueled me to try harder in securing their attention, validation, and approval).


Either way, my coping mechanism did not fix the problem.

I altered myself to suit the environment I was in.

I created a mask to hide behind.

I people-pleased.

I performed.


Before long, I didn’t recognize the person staring back at me in the mirror.


I experienced severe symptoms of inauthenticity:

  • low self esteem

  • resentment

  • depression

  • anxiety

  • angst


In other words, I hit rock bottom — and yes, it did hurt.


The good news?


I’m here to share what I’ve learned to get you out of your own insidious limiting belief rabbit holes and closer to:

  • experiencing freedom

  • getting more out of life

  • raising your confidence

  • boosting your self-esteem

  • enhancing your relationships

  • becoming the best version of yourself


But first things first:


What is a limiting belief?

 

Limiting Beliefs Are Like Safety Goggles


Limiting beliefs are the stories we tell ourselves about who we are that hold us back from becoming who we are meant to be. These beliefs limit us from reaching our full potential. — Tony Robbins, The Complete Guide To Limiting Beliefs

Limiting beliefs are like the safety goggles you wear in science class.

In chemistry, you combine different materials that result in chemical reactions.

You wear goggles to protect your eyes (whether the reactions are harmful or not).

You tighten the elastics, keep them on for 45 minutes, and get annoyed when they fog up.


In life, your experiences result in the formation of your lens (your perception of the world).

If you internalize your painful experiences, you will form safety goggles.

The safety goggles act as a shield against the world as you know it.

They protect you from painful experiences in the future.

Unchecked, they start to shape your entire worldview.


Let me give you an example:

  • If a middle school girl has a crush on a boy who doesn’t like her back, this painful experience creates the split-second thought, “maybe I’m not lovable.” Whether she accepts the thought right away or puts it in her back pocket for later, that’s all it takes to start developing her safety goggles (her shield against future heartbreak).

  • If she gets to high school and the boys only notice her friends, then that thought comes up again. Her safety goggles form a bit more.

  • If she gets to college and a guy starts to mistreat her, the middle of her safety goggles fill in. She starts to accept the thought, find more evidence for it, and form a belief. You can read more about this process in Audit Your Beliefs (And Your Life Will Change).


The bigger your limiting belief becomes based on how much evidence you’ve gathered for it, the more your safety goggles develop.

The elastic strap forms around your head and gets tighter and tighter.

The longer you leave these goggles on, the foggier they become.


Since your brain’s filter finds evidence for your current beliefs, it will find reasons why you have these foggy goggles on. Every new experience you have is filtered through this foggy lens and affirms your limiting belief.


Back to our example:

  • Since the girl now sees the world through her “I’m not lovable” lens, any neutral evidence she finds will look like negative evidence. As she encounters more men, she easily ignores the evidence that she is lovable…because she can’t see it!

  • Over time, the belief that “I’m not lovable” becomes so difficult to contend with that she starts to rationalize men away. Her outward rhetoric becomes:

    • “Men are trash.”

    • “I don’t trust men.”

    • “I’m better off without a man.”

And guess what? These new thoughts form more limiting beliefs.

  • If she allows the original limiting belief to run rampant, she closes herself off to the very opportunities that could reshape her lens. If she’s unwilling to think, “Men are good, I just haven’t found the right one yet,” she stifles her chance to meet the right man and fall in love.


Are you starting to see how insidious limiting beliefs are?

How they creep up on you without you realizing?

How they hold you back from the good life?

How they keep you stuck?


“But, Emma!” you say. “I thought we developed these safety goggles to protect ourselves. This seems like it actually causes more harm than good!”


You’re right! Let’s de-fog them b*tches.

 

De-fogging The Safety Goggles in 3 Steps


Man is what he believes. — Anton Chekhov

Although the safety goggles start out as functional, they quickly become dysfunctional.


But humans are adaptable.

The foggy goggles become familiar to us.

What is familiar to us becomes comfortable.

What is comfortable feels safer than the unknown of new beliefs.


Let me tell you something: walking around with impaired vision is hazardous.


If you never challenge your limiting beliefs, you’ll never loosen the elastics enough for your safety goggles to un-fog.


There are 3 steps to take to challenge your limiting beliefs:

  1. Become aware of the patterns.

  2. Identify the ones you have.

  3. Stop affirming them.


This graphic represents the process you must take to challenge your limiting beliefs. First, become a detective. Second, put the puzzle together. Third, reframe the story you tell yourself.

 

Step 1: Awareness of Patterns


It doesn’t feel good when limiting beliefs are affirmed.

When they are, we usually engage in a coping mechanism.

Procrastination, distraction, turning outwards, eating, drinking, etc.


Pay attention to your actions and patterns. They are the clues.


What emotions do you keep feeling?

What evidence do you keep finding?

What excuses do you keep making?

What phrases do you keep saying?

What actions do you keep taking?


Become a detective. Keep these questions in mind as you go through your daily life.

 

Step 2: Identify Your Limiting Beliefs


The clues you’ve gathered are puzzle pieces.

Put them together to see the full picture.

When you do, you will see a story.


Below are common stories we tell ourselves:

  • Self: “I’m not charismatic enough” or “I’m too old.”

  • Money: “Money is hard to come by,” or “I’ll never make enough.”

  • Love: “I’ll never find the right partner,” or “True love doesn’t exist.”

  • Career: “I’ll never get that promotion,” or “I don’t have enough experience.”

  • Health/Wellness: “Eating healthy is boring,” or “I don’t have time to exercise.”

  • Relationships: “People don’t like me,” or “It’s hard to build genuine connections.”

  • Mark Manson’s article How to Overcome Your Limiting Beliefs gives many more great examples.


What stories do you tell yourself that may be holding you back?


If you hate puzzles, take the Enneagram personality test. It will tell you your core fears, desires, motivators, etc. If you want a free option, use Truity’s version here. (Disclaimer: people hate on the Enneagram due to it’s origin. Do your own research and make your own decisions.)

 

Step 3: Non-Affirmation


Once you’ve identified the limiting belief you want to change, you can either:

  1. reframe the negative evidence you find to become neutral or positive

  2. seek out evidence to support the opposing belief


Let’s go back to our example from earlier where the girl has an “I’m not lovable” limiting belief.


Below, we will reframe the negative evidence she gathered to become neutral or positive.

  • Evidence: A college guy mistreats me therefore I’m not lovable.

    1. Reframe to neutral: “I am currently tolerating mistreatment from a college guy.”

    2. Reframe to positive: “This mistreatment has opened my eyes to what I want in a relationship. I’m one step closer to finding a man who treats me well.”

  • The evidence never changes. The interpretation does.


Now, we will seek out evidence to support the opposing belief.

  • Evidence to seek out: I am lovable.

    1. Instance 1: My family is so happy that I am coming home from college to spend the weekend with them. Since they love me, I am lovable.

    2. Instance 2: My friend was having a bad day so she called me. She said, “you always cheer me up and make me feel better.” Since you call people you love when you’re feeling down, and she called me, I am lovable.

    3. Instance 3: My dog is always so happy to see me. I know dogs love everyone, but I’m taking this as evidence that I am, in fact, very lovable indeed.


The reason these work?

When you give your brain a task, your brain is wired to do the task.

If you give your brain the task to find every brown item in the environment you’re currently in, your brain will find the brown items. (Seriously…look up from the screen and find something brown.)


As you de-fog the safety goggles, something truly magical happens…

 

It’s Time To Get LASIK Eye Surgery


“It's really time for you to see through the absurdity of your own predicament. You aren't who you thought you were. You just aren't that person. And in this very lifetime you can know it. Right now, the real work you have to do is in the privacy of your own heart. All of the external forms are lovely, but the real work is your inner connection.” — Ram Daas, East Forest - Sit Around The Fire

This graphic shows what happens when you challenge your limiting beliefs. The safety goggles that you've formed from painful experiences fog up over time. If you challenge your limiting beliefs, the goggles de-fog and you become free.

You can’t control your painful past experiences.

You can control the degree to which they guide your life.

You can control the present beliefs you hold and the future actions you take.


As you find evidence that goes against your limiting belief, the elastic strap loosens.

The safety goggles that were once suctioned to your face start to give.

As this happens, air gets in and the fog starts to fade.


You start to see colors and shapes in your peripherals that you haven’t noticed in a long time.

You feel how restrictive these goggles have become and you want them gone.

You’re empowered to find more evidence for supporting beliefs.

Your vision starts to come back.


It’s like waking up after getting LASIK eye surgery.

Suddenly, you can see clearly what you couldn’t before.

Your field of vision expands, your lens is fresh, and you are free.


Whether you keep your foggy goggles on or take them off is up to you.

Time will tell which one you’ve chosen.

I wish you the best of luck.

Commenti


I commenti sono stati disattivati.
transparent copy.png

I write about the connection between personal growth, online business, and psychology to offer you tangible steps for your own transformation.

I'm emma

Actor, Writer, & Content Creator

Small changes,

big impact:

Values Mock Up.png
Free Cheat Sheet

Values shape our beliefs, behaviors, and choices. If you want help defining your values so you can start living in alignment with them, download the Cheat Sheet for free below. 

bottom of page