Do you ever find yourself feeling or thinking that you are not good enough or that you don’t ‘measure up’? Do you want to make a change but don’t know how. The following are limiting beliefs that may be keeping you ‘stuck’:
- I lack motivation.
- I procrastinate too much.
- I don’t have time.
- I don’t have enough resources.
- It’s too late to change.
- I have too many responsibilities.
- I have no clue who I am.
- I have no clue where to start.
Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Let’s explore how these eight limiting beliefs keep you (and me!) stuck:
1. I lack motivation.
Do you really, or are you burned out? This type of burnout usually indicates that you are in an environment that leaves you feeling drained and unsupported. When this happens, you may even start to call yourself “lazy.”
Looking at all these parts of our self, a lack of motivation is essentially connected to a lack of passion. Passion is something that inspires us towards a goal or vision which we look forward to achieving or having in our life. This fuels the search for self-satisfaction. However, when we have been picked on, put down, always told what to do, and not living up to expectations of others etc., we begin to lose passion for whatever we are doing. Over time this leads to a general lack of motivation because the ‘spark’ has been put out by all the negativity around us. Funny how this works within a society which seems to always be there to put us down and feel insignificant making people wonder why we have lost our passion and become unmotivated! The part which is affected most by this is our ‘Heart’ because as the old saying goes… “whatever the heart feels the mind will see”.
Examine your external environment: What situations and people are draining you? Do you feel supported? Do you really lack motivation, or are you just burned out?
2. I procrastinate too much.
Procrastination is a symptom, much like a fever, stomach ache, or headache, and it usually boils down to one thing: fear.
For example, Sarah fears stepping away from the freedom she thought she had in a lifestyle with minimal attachments. Then Sarah realised it was also the fear of failing, of not having all the answers, and of making the wrong decision.
Procrastination I believe is simply the result of fear which clouds our decision making to the point where we fail to take action and hence procrastinate on things. At first this would have been a conscious decision, but over time turned into a subconscious pattern of inactivity fueled by the fear of failure… “why even bother right”?
What is your procrastination a symptom of? What are you afraid of?
3. I don’t have time.
A quote by Lao Tzu says, “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.’” Perhaps the real issue is that you don’t really want to change.
One of the main things that causes patterns of inactivity is an over-protective subconscious. This is just like an over-protective parent who is scared of letting the child ‘experience’ the world for fear of something going wrong. Being like this at a deeper level will make us lazy, unmotivated, always procrastinating, and even lead to weight gain. This is because the subconscious processes are inherently trying to protect us from the outside world and it’s pain, thus stop creating new ideas and living life to it’s fullest. Being like this can also lead to excessive over-thinking, ‘switching off’, always playing the victim role, and even creating addictive patterns as well. It is important to note that the role of the subconscious is primarily to protect. However over years of conditioning, experiences, fear and how we were raised, this level of protection can become a hindrance and is certainly responsible for deep-seated patterns of inactivity also. It’s like an old coat that we just can’t let go of.
What parts of your current situation do you like, and how are they affecting your desire to move forward?
4. I don’t have enough resources.
Focusing on external resources, like money, credentials, and skills, is another tactic we use to give ourselves permission to remain stuck. But lasting change starts internally, with things like energy, willpower, clarity, and passion; and as your internal resources start to grow, your external resources will naturally start to grow as well.
What in your external environment leaves your internal environment feeling uninspired, unsupported, and lifeless? Are you using your external resources effectively?
5. It’s too late to change.
Focusing on some arbitrary time and date by which you’re supposed to have accomplished X, Y, and Z means neglecting to enjoy the amazing journey unfolding right in front of your eyes. After all, who created this timeline by which you’re supposed to live your life anyway?
It is not always easy or say never easy but the day you decide to give up to change your life is the day, it is too late to change it. Believe me, it’s all there in you, all you have to do is stay and muster the courage to change it to the way you want. Are you feeling more and more trapped by my current situation? Maybe you don’t want what your friends have, but do you want to stay as you are.
Do you hold yourself to an arbitrary timeline by which you’re supposed to have accomplished X, Y, and Z? Do you compare yourself to others? What do you really want to change in your life, and what baby steps can you take in that direction?
6. I have too many responsibilities.
If you feel like you have so many responsibilities that you can’t manage to carve out time to start changing your life, then chances are your “responsibilities” have become an excuse for not taking care of yourself.
Who and what are consuming your time and energy? Are these people and situations really your responsibility? How can you start to take responsibility for your own life?
7. I have no clue who I am.
If you feel like you don’t know who you are, then chances are you’ve been neglecting yourself for a very long time.
Maybe life, doing things, distracting yourself has stopped you from taking the time to really figure out who you are and what you want from life. Maybe you have been bouncing from thing to thing, hoping something would stick.
What do you want in life? Where do you want to see yourself in 6 months? A year? What are your values and goals?
8. I have no clue where to start.
Depending on how you chose to look at it, not knowing where to start can either be liberating or completely overwhelming. But it’s usually just an excuse. If there is no clear place to start, then there is no wrong place to start!
The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. Your emotional well-being depends on how you feel about you, as a result of the relationship you have within yourself.
Awareness that you have ‘lost’ your identity is one of the first steps towards finding it again. Psychotherapy and counselling can help you to answer the ‘who am I?’ question. Through psychotherapy and counselling you have the opportunity to explore who you are, what has made you into ‘you’, define your own qualities and attributes, and no longer rely on the external validation of others. This can help you to lose the labels that you have hung around your neck, halt your pursuit for external recognition and find your true identity.
Start somewhere—anywhere. Will you commit to spending time alone, each and every day, to explore these limiting beliefs? Because when it comes to making changes in your life, all you need to do is “Smile, breathe, and go slowly.”