Updated: Sep 4, 2021
Our belief system starts taking shape very early on in life and is influenced by the values and lessons we pick from our parents and family , teachers, friends as little children, our peers while growing up, and our interactions with the world around us as adults.
Over time, these beliefs get ingrained in both our conscious and subconscious mind. The conscious mind refers to the part of our brain that we’re aware of in the present moment, and which governs our feelings, fantasies, perceptions, sensations and memories. However, it is only the tip of the iceberg that is our expansive preconscious – or subconscious – mind.
Over time, our memory and experiences are consigned to this subconscious space of awareness and continue to govern our belief systems even though we’re not aware of it.
These beliefs, eventually, become a guiding light for our life choices. Naturally then, if you have limiting belief – and we all have them in some form or the other – you’ll end up making limiting decisions in that sphere of life.
Eliminating Limiting Beliefs with NLP
With the right approach and guidance, you can slowly but surely break away from these limiting beliefs and chart a new course for your life’s story. The most crucial part of the process is acknowledging that these beliefs are your perception and not facts, even though you may have lived by them all your life. Once you do that, you can leverage the following Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) processes to break free from your limiting beliefs and move on in a new direction:
Observe Your Thoughts
The first step toward eliminating a problem is identifying it. So, begin by doing a thorough and honest analysis of thoughts and beliefs, and list down any that you believe hold you back in some way. Write these down on a piece of paper and look at them intently. While you do this, stay aware of the emotions that each of these beliefs invokes in your mind. Acknowledge the negativity or cynicism you feel in that moment and identify it as a target you want to flush out of your life.
Find An Anchor
Anchoring is a common NLP tool that allows you to replace negative and unwanted feelings with positive, resourceful ones in just moments using the stimulus-response patterns.
To create an anchor for countering a limiting belief, start by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Still aware of the limiting belief and the response it triggers in your mind, think of a happy memory, watch a funny video, go through old pictures, or think of your best friend/partner/children/pets. The idea is to revisit two happy events in your life back to back. The feelings of contentment, happiness and joy brought on by these memories will replace the negative emotions associated with a limiting belief and give you the positivity to make better decisions.
For example, if your limiting belief is that physical exercise is not meant for you. Watch a body transformations video and think of that race you won in school. The association of pain and inability with the idea of exercise will now be replaced by feelings of hope and encouragement.
Build on a New Belief
Once the negative association has been broken with the help of anchoring, it is time to replace your limiting belief with a new one.
If we go back to the example of physical exercise, you now break free from the notion that exercise is not meant for you or you’re incapable of achieving fitness, and reinforce the ideas of ‘yes, I can’, ‘If the person in that video can, so can I.’ or ‘If I could run the fastest in my class, I can do it again.’
Act on Your New Belief
Even though it may seem unnerving and scary at first, you have to change your actions as per the new belief you’ve embraced. So, if you’ve told yourself that you can exercise and get fitter, you start acting on it before that resolve slumps and your old limiting belief seeps back in.
Get on that treadmill, got out for a run, pump that iron, strengthen that core, one step at a time, while reinforcing the ‘yes, I can’ idea in your mind. With consistency and perseverance, not just your beliefs but also your body would transform.
The approach can be applied to eliminating any limiting belief from your life, be it about personal relationships, professional growth, finances, success, health, or giving up on addictions.