Limiting Beliefs – What Are They?

Have you ever made a statement like “I’m not good at math” or “private practice is not for me” or “why does this always happen to me”? These are examples of limiting beliefs that put you in a corner of your own making and often falsely define you.

Before we talk about limiting beliefs, let’s define belief.

  • According to Google – A belief is an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
  • According to Wikipedia – A belief is an attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is true.

Our beliefs affect the way we feel, act, and behave. Whatsoever you believe will frame your interpretation of life experiences and construct your reality.

Now, let’s define limiting beliefs –

  • limiting belief is something you believe to be true that limits you in some way. The limiting belief could be about you, other people, or the world. [1]

Limiting beliefs can have a number of negative effects on you. They could keep you from making good choices, taking new opportunities, or reaching your potential.

Ultimately, limiting beliefs can keep you stuck in a negative state of mind and hinder you from living the life you truly desire.

To get a visual of how limiting beliefs can hinder you, let me tell you a story I call:

The One Rope Prison

A woman took her son to the zoo one day. As they were passing the elephants, her son suddenly stopped, he was confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages.

The little boy asked his mom, why these elephants stayed bound when it was obvious that they could, at any time, break away from their bonds?

She saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to break free. Here’s what the trainer said to them:

 “Well, when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the one rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The mom and the little boy were amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

The moral

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

Also, like the elephant, many are prisoners of their past, imprisoned by limiting beliefs and hindered from living the life they truly desire.

The biggest challenge with limiting beliefs is that most of us don’t even know we have them and if we do, they can be hard to identify. If you want to break free from the subjugation of limiting beliefs, you must identify and reframe them to undo their conditioning.

Next week, I will share a list of 100 limiting beliefs to help you identify yours.

Now, it’s your turn to share. What are some of the limiting beliefs you’ve overcome in your life? Please share in the comments below. And, if you liked this article, please share it with a friend.

Until next time, remember to Empower, Connect, and Promote each other’s success.


[1] Jane. (n.d.). Habits for Wellbeing. Retrieved 09 20, 2020, from

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