“I’m Not Good Enough” Limiting Beliefs & How To Overcome Them
There’s a fleeting moment when it still feels like a dream. As though that big scary idea might actually be possible for you.
You get excited about the potential. For what could be. Could this be real?
And then, just like a child’s balloon bursting, that dream exploded. It’s gone. Because past beliefs told you not to bother, this isn’t for you. Your limiting beliefs come out to play, telling you “I’m not good enough”. And you believe them.
So you stop before you even begin. After all, why disappoint yourself?
Now, that’s a depressing read! But it’s a story that’s familiar to all of us. You’re far from alone in this. We all battle with limiting beliefs.
The good news? There is another way. Where you can move forward. Where you can turn “I’m not good enough” into “I’m enough”. And where those painful “truths” you tell yourself start to fade into the background.
It’s time to rewrite your story.
What is a limiting belief?
I’m pretty sure that you’ll have experienced limiting beliefs without even realising it. They can be subtle and they can be momentous. But what they always have in common is that they’re holding you back.
A limiting belief is a story you tell yourself that limits your potential.
When you have an idea, a dream or a goal, your limiting beliefs hold you back from even trying to achieve it.
For example, if you think “I’m not good enough”, that limiting belief will stop you from trying new things, speaking up or putting yourself in new situations. Meaning that you’re going to miss out on potential opportunities (and the joy that comes with them!).
Examples of limiting beliefs: how many of these sound familiar to you?
I have a coaching client who experiences limiting beliefs in everything she does. Her mind will tell her “I’m too young, that’s why they don’t respect me” or “I’m not good enough, that’s why I can’t pursue that goal”.
And she gets stuck. Because her brain is actively limiting her potential. More often than not, this comes from past experiences. Your mind is trying to keep you safe, rather than risking the possibility of change.
Here’s what a limiting belief might sound like in practice:
- “I’m not good enough”
- “I don’t belong here”
- “They’re too good for me”
- “That’s not for people like me”
- “I can’t do things like that”
- “I’m not confident enough for that goal”
Sound familiar? Here’s what to do about it.
How to spot that a limiting belief is holding you back
One of the first signs of a limiting belief is negative self-talk. You’ll notice that you’re telling yourself that you’re not capable before you even begin.
This can then evolve into procrastination, perfectionism and over-generalisations, as you take a step back from the action you need to take.
The impact? Missed opportunities. Low self-esteem. A lack of desire to try something new. Shying away from certain situations or people. And self-sabotage.
Working on your own self-awareness can be a powerful tool in the process of combating limiting beliefs. You might find that it’s helpful to work with a coach to help uncover the beliefs that’ve been holding you back.
Once you know how to recognise your limiting beliefs, you’ll be able to start questioning any other beliefs you have then identify additional limiting beliefs.
Switch from limiting beliefs to empowering affirmations
Once you’ve identified your limiting belief, it’s time to question it. With a little work (and a little more time) you’ll likely find that you’ll be able to transition away from this limiting belief into an empowering confidence-building statement instead.
1. Question the limiting belief
Ask yourself, is this belief really true? Is it true all the time?
If it isn’t true, is it something that you should continue to believe? Try to look for real evidence. The chances are, you’re going to find it difficult to find any “proof” to back up this limiting belief in your everyday life.
Instead, you might well find yourself with a lot of evidence to the contrary. Yes, you’re going to disprove your belief!
2. Understand its influence
What impact does this belief have on your daily life? What is it stopping you from experiencing or achieving?
Once you understand the influence of your belief, it becomes a little easier to work past it. You’ve got added motivation to do so.
3. Discover its root cause
Every belief comes from somewhere. It’s highly unlikely that your limiting belief just appeared one day without cause.
This might take a little digging but try to trace your limiting belief back to its origin.
What did it protect you from previously? Is this protection still required?
4. Remove your judgement
It’s natural to get frustrated with your limiting beliefs. But judging yourself won’t get you anywhere!
Try looking past your limiting belief and making it empowering instead. How can you contradict this belief? Explore affirmations and proof to the contrary, as you remind yourself of just how much you’re capable of.
Your coach’s action plan: an exercise to combat your limiting beliefs
I love to use this exercise with my coaching clients. And now it’s yours to try too! You’ll need some time to yourself, pen and paper, and somewhere comfortable to sit.
- Sit quietly and think about what beliefs might be limiting you
- Write these beliefs down in a column (Column A) alongside a description of each one and how it appears
- Draw another column (Column B) and write down the empowering belief that each limiting belief can be converted to, alongside evidence that these empowering statements are true
Here’s a quick example:
|“I’m not good enough”
|“I’m good enough”
|“Nobody respects me”
|“I am respected”
The statements in Column B can then be used as mantras, affirmations or empowering statements that you can remind yourself of daily!