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10 Self-Limiting Beliefs That Could Hold You Back in 2024

Hey there, and welcome! Today, we’re delving into a topic that hits close to home and probably sounds familiar—self-limiting beliefs.

You know, those pesky thoughts that can hinder our progress in life without us even realizing it!? 🙂

These limiting beliefs, paired with a negative mindset, can seep into every corner of our lives. Whether it’s money, love, relationships, or our self-image, these beliefs can pose a real challenge.

If this sounds like something you feel you could be dealing with stick around.

This article is here to assist you in identifying and overcoming the self-limiting beliefs that might be holding you back, offering practical strategies to break free from these barriers once and for all!

Let’s get started!

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self-limiting beliefs examples

What is a Limiting Belief?

Limiting beliefs are deeply ingrained convictions or perceptions that we humans hold about ourselves, others, and how the world works.

These beliefs are often negative, self-deprecating, and many times rooted in the “F” word, fear.

They can shape our thoughts, behaviors, and actions.

Beliefs and Mindset

Beliefs are like the foundation of our personal outlook about life and how the world works—they’re the deep-rooted ideas and values that shape how we see the world and make decisions.

Our beliefs are influenced by our life experiences, upbringing, trauma, spiritual or personal beliefs, culture, and more.

It’s important to recognize that beliefs can either empower or limit us in various aspects of life.

Now, let’s talk about mindset—it’s like the attitude we carry around in our mental backpack.

A mindset can either be fixed, where we think our abilities are set in stone, or growth-oriented (growth mindset), where we believe we can develop and improve through self-improvement.

Your mindset can significantly impact how you tackle challenges, embrace opportunities, and view your own potential for growth and success.

what causes self-limiting beliefs

How we may develop our own limiting beliefs

These sneaky limiting beliefs quietly creep in starting at a young age and essentially influence everything we do (and don’t do).

Limiting beliefs are caused by a number of factors, but they all stem from the same place: your brain’s desire to protect you from pain in the future.

This is a fascinating article about self-defeating defense mechanisms by Tony Robbins

Early Influences

Our beliefs often start taking shape in the early years, influenced by those around us. Family and family beliefs play a huge role in the development of limiting beliefs.

Although with the best of intentions, family may inadvertently pass on their own self-limiting beliefs down to us.


Growing up means looking around and sizing ourselves up against others.

Unfortunately, the comparison can game kick in at a very young age.

Weighing ourselves against others can and will trigger feelings of inadequacy and plant the seeds of self-doubt that may blossom into full-blown low self-esteem issues and worse over time.

This is a great article about the comparison trap and how to overcome it. 🙂

School Days

Many limiting beliefs come from our school experience.

Academic pressures, social dynamics, and the pursuit of fitting in can contribute to the development of limiting beliefs.

Our experiences and how we perceive ourselves during these formative years can leave lasting imprints on our self-image for a lifetime!


This is a big one and is another battlefield where comparison plays a huge role in negative thinking and worse.

TV, movies, and social media bombard us with show reels of success, beauty, and the “ideal” life.

When these portrayals don’t align with our reality, it can lead to a sense of falling short.

Traumatic Life Experiences

Difficult or painful experiences, particularly in our early years, can cast a long shadow on our beliefs about ourselves and the world.

Trauma can create a distorted lens through which we view our capabilities and self-worth, potentially fostering limiting beliefs that linger throughout a lifetime if not put in check.

Negative Role Models

Growing up influenced by people who operate in a negative mindset or state of mind for whatever reason can contribute to an overall negative belief system.

As I mentioned earlier, limiting beliefs can be caused by many factors, but they all stem from your brain’s desire to protect you from pain.

If your life experience is riddled with painful memories-defense mechanisms like a limiting belief will step in and try to offer protection from possible pain.

Repetitive Criticism

Consistent negative feedback, whether from external sources or our own inner dialogue, can chip away at our confidence over time and hamper positive personal development.

Repeated criticism can reinforce a negative mindset, creating a self-fulfilling cycle that becomes challenging to break.

self-limiting belief about money

The Most Common Self-Limiting Beliefs Examples

Recognizing these limiting beliefs and how they affect us in a negative way is the first step toward breaking free from their constraints, fostering a mindset of empowerment, and unlocking the door to a more fulfilling life.

Limiting Beliefs about Money

Limiting beliefs about money is a big one and can take various forms.

Beyond scarcity beliefs, some may think, “I’m not good with finances” or “my family has always been poor.” or “I will never have enough money ” or I’m just not a numbers person”

Sound familiar? This is a great resource about the scarcity mindset that you may want to check out.

Fear-Driven Beliefs

Fear often fuels limiting beliefs. Thoughts like “I’m too old to change” or “I’ll never overcome this fear” are examples.

Fear-driven beliefs hinder personal growth, preventing us humans from embracing change and new opportunities.

Related: F.E.A.R=False Evidence Appearing Real (coming soon)

Negative beliefs about Relationships and love

In relationships, limiting beliefs extend to thoughts like “I’ll always be disappointed,” “I can’t trust anyone.” or “I am unworthy of love.”

Limiting beliefs about love creates barriers to forming meaningful and vulnerable connections.

Learn more about negative self-beliefs and love here.

Limiting beliefs about Self-worth

Limiting beliefs that lead to low self-esteem may include thoughts like “I’m not talented” or “I don’t deserve happiness.”

These types of self-limiting beliefs erode confidence and can impede personal and professional success.

Limiting belief system about Change and Uncertainty Challenges

Limiting beliefs about change or uncertainty may manifest as “I can’t handle uncertainty” or “Change always brings negative consequences.”

Embracing the idea that change can lead to growth is crucial for navigating life’s inevitable twists and turns.

Limiting Belief About Mental Health and Wellness

Having a limiting belief about our mental health can involve thoughts like “I should be able to handle everything on my own” or “Therapy is only for those with serious problems.”

Acknowledging the importance of mental well-being and seeking support when needed is crucial.

Limiting Belief about Physical Appearance

Most of us feel strongly about our physical appearance. I know I do.

Limiting thoughts and beliefs like- “I’ll never lose this weight,” or “Ugh, I can’t stand my nose.”

Constantly comparing ourselves or stressing about our supposed flaws can seriously mess with our self-esteem and cause deep feelings of shame and even self-hatred.

And then there’s that ever-present fear of judgment, thinking people are sizing us up solely based on how we look.

And, oh boy, the age game. Feeling the pressure to look a certain way or worrying about getting older—it’s a real downer.

Limiting Belief about Age

This negative belief says if you’re on the younger side, you lack experience, and if you’re on the older side, you’ve missed the boat, and it’s too late.

Hear me when I say age is just a number. And for you older folks (like me), it’s never too late to tackle new things in life!

Repeat after me: It’s never too late, it’s never too late, it’s never too late! 🙂

Defeated Before You Start Mindset

This this when we continually feel defeated before we start. You may continually focus on your perceived weakness’ or question your ability to do A, B, or C.

Stuck in the past or Worried about What lies ahead

Being stuck in the past or consumed by worry about what lies ahead are two manifestations of limiting beliefs that hinder personal growth.

Being stuck in the past involves dwelling on past mistakes or experiences, preventing one from embracing new opportunities or perspectives.

On the other hand, being stressed and worried about the future hinders progress and stifles potential.

Both scenarios are traps and feed a limited belief mindset.

self-limiting beliefs

How to Identify Limiting Beliefs through Self-Reflection

Navigating the landscape of our own self-limiting beliefs can be like embarking on a treasure hunt within our minds. The key is self-discovery through self-reflection.


Self-reflection is a process of introspection and thoughtful contemplation about one’s thoughts, feelings, experiences, and actions.

Engaging in self-reflection is a valuable practice for personal growth and overcoming limiting beliefs. It involves taking the time to introspect and examine your thoughts, emotions, and actions.

Through self-reflection, you gain a deeper understanding of your motivations, identify patterns, and become more aware of any self-limiting beliefs that may be holding you back.

This process allows for conscious adjustments, fostering a positive mindset and encouraging continuous improvement.

Think about what you are thinking about

Start by tuning into your thoughts and feelings—consider them like signals from your inner compass.

Reflect on moments when you feel stuck, anxious, or hesitant.

What narratives repeat in your mind during these times? Journaling can be your treasure map; jot down your thoughts to unveil patterns.

Observe Negative Self-limiting Beliefs

Pay attention to your self-talk, that casual chatter inside your head.

Notice recurring themes—are they uplifting or self-deprecating? When faced with challenges, be curious about the thoughts that arise.

Do you hear whispers of “I can’t,” “I’m not,” or “It’s impossible”?

These could be clues to your limiting beliefs.

Observe Behavior

Observe your behaviors, those actions that feel almost automatic. Are there patterns that align with your beliefs?

If you tend to avoid certain situations or procrastinate, there might be a belief at play. Seek feedback from trusted friends or mentors; they might offer insights that you’re too close to see.

Remember, identifying your negative beliefs is a journey, not a destination.

yes you can overcoming limiting beliefs-

Practical Ways to Overcome Limiting Beliefs

Overcoming or eliminating limiting beliefs can be a challenge; there is no doubt about that, but take heart!

With a sincere commitment, you can overcome your limiting beliefs and move forward in life, replacing negative and limited beliefs with a fresh new mindset for growth.

Use Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations are a powerful tool for fostering a constructive mindset and overcoming self-limiting beliefs.

By regularly reinforcing positive statements about oneself and one’s capabilities, individuals can reshape their thought patterns and boost self-confidence.

I truly believe that positive affirmations can help to build a more optimistic outlook, promoting self-love, and creating a foundation for personal growth.

Whether written down, spoken aloud, or internalized, incorporating positive affirmations into daily routines can be a transformative practice, helping to break free from self-limiting beliefs and cultivate a more empowered and resilient mindset.

Click here to learn more about positive affirmations.

Visualization Techniques

Visualization techniques involve creating mental images of success and overcoming challenges.

This practice reinforces a positive and empowered mindset for future success.

Turn Negative Thoughts into Positive Thoughts

Challenging negative thoughts is an active process that involves examining the evidence supporting or contradicting limiting beliefs.

When you idedtidy a negative thought- come up with an a new beliefs to replace them. .

For example, challenging the belief that “I always fail” involves listing instances of success or valuable lessons learned from setbacks.

Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals is crucial in disproving the belief that success is unattainable. Breaking down larger goals into smaller, achievable steps provides a sense of accomplishment.

For instance, starting with a goal of running a mile instead of aiming for a marathon allows for achievable progress.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your routine is a powerful strategy for cultivating a positive mindset and tackling limiting beliefs.

Taking a moment to be present and engage in mindfulness exercises helps quiet the mental chatter, reducing stress and fostering a sense of clarity.

Meditation, whether guided or self-directed, provides an opportunity to observe and detach from negative thought patterns.

Related: The Benefits of Daily Meditation

Spend time with Positive Influences

Surrounding yourself with positive influences is another game-changer when it comes to shaping a positive mindset and kicking limiting beliefs to the curb.

Hanging out with people who uplift and support you can create a vibe of encouragement and optimism.

On the flip side, spending time with negative influences can feed into self-doubt and pessimism.

Whether it’s friends, family, or mentors, choosing to be around those who inspire and motivate you contributes significantly to personal growth.

Consume Edifying Media

Have you ever heard the saying, Garbage in-garbage out?

Consuming uplifting content is key to fostering a positive mindset and breaking free from limiting beliefs.

Negative media tends to feed into fear, doubt, and pessimism, while positive and enriching content serves up inspiration and valuable insights that can reshape how you see things.

Opting for feel-good material, like motivational podcasts, informative documentaries, or success stories, can contribute to personal growth and help you maintain a more optimistic outlook.

Celebrate Achievements

Celebrating achievements, no matter how small, is crucial in overcoming limiting beliefs.

Acknowledging and celebrating your successes will reinforce a positive self-image and can do a great job of countering the belief of constant failure. 🙂

Seek Professional Help

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Therapy is always a good idea!

And, when it comes to overcoming deep-seated self-limiting beliefs, therapy can provide the extra strategies and support to help conquer a negative or limiting mindset once and for all!

Adopt a Growth Mindset

Embracing a growth mindset is pivotal in cultivating a positive outlook and overcoming limiting beliefs.

A growth mindset involves seeing challenges as opportunities for learning and growth rather than insurmountable obstacles.

This growth mindset fosters resilience, encourages a willingness to take on new challenges, and promotes a sense of empowerment. YES!


Journaling creates a dedicated space for recording and dissecting thoughts and emotions. It’s not just about documenting; maintaining a journal becomes a compass for tracking progress, recognizing patterns, and confronting limiting beliefs.

Personally, I’ve discovered that journaling works wonders in cutting through the mental chaos or brain fog.

My journal is like a roadmap, allowing me to trace my moods and pinpoint triggers, which, in turn, proves invaluable for identifying my limiting beliefs or negative mindset across various facets of life.

Behavioral Exposure

Behavioral exposure involves gradually exposing oneself to situations that trigger limiting beliefs.

Facing fears and challenges can build resilience and diminish the power of a negative belief or mindset.

Example: If social situations trigger anxiety, gradually attending small gatherings can desensitize individuals to fear.

Seek Constructive Feedback

Constructive feedback can be a proactive approach to challenging limiting beliefs.

Seeking feedback from trusted individuals provides objective insights that challenge and contradict limiting beliefs.

Remember: You’re asking for constructive feedback, not criticism. There is a difference. 🙂

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors.

Through CBT, individuals work on restructuring cognitive distortions, replacing irrational thoughts with more balanced and realistic perspectives.

On a personal note, I have had cognitive behavioral therapy and found it super helpful in dealing with a negative mindset and limiting beliefs that were brought on by past trauma and fear.

Feel free to reach out if you want to chat about it. I’m an open book, always happy to share my experiences!

Resource: Cognitive Restructuring Techniques for Reframing Thoughts

self-limiting beliefs examples

FAQs: Limiting Belief Examples and How they Hold us Back

What are Inherent biases?

Inherent biases are unconscious and automatic attitudes or stereotypes we hold toward specific groups, influencing our judgments and decisions without conscious awareness.

These biases, rooted in factors like race or gender, can lead to unintentional discrimination. Recognizing and addressing these biases is crucial for fostering inclusivity and promoting fair treatment.

Could my limiting belief or negative state be holding me back at work?

Absolutely! These beliefs often act as invisible barriers, influencing your thoughts, decisions, and actions in ways that may hinder your professional aspirations.

Common limiting beliefs related to career include:

  1. “I’m Not Qualified Enough”: Believing that you lack the necessary qualifications or skills for your dream job can lead to self-doubt and reluctance to pursue opportunities.
  2. “I’ll Never Get Hired”: Feeling that you’re not competitive in the job market can undermine your confidence, discouraging you from applying for positions aligned with your aspirations.
  3. “Fear of Failure”: The fear of negative experiences may hold you back from taking the necessary steps to pursue new opportunities.
  4. “I’m not Worthy of Success”: Believing you don’t deserve success or recognition can lead to self-sabotage and a reluctance to put yourself forward for your desired positions.
  5. “I Should Stick to What I Know”: Limiting beliefs may convince you to stay within your comfort zone, avoiding taking risks.
growth mindset

Final Thoughts: Self-Limiting Beliefs + How to Break Free

We’ve uncovered common examples of limiting beliefs, from money worries to self-image struggles.

Identifying these thoughts is like turning on a light in a dim room—it can lead to a better life!

Through self-reflection, we unveil past patterns that might hold us back, whether in money, relationships, or self-perception.

With the power of self-awareness, we rewrite negative scripts into stories that propel us toward positivity.

By journaling, using positive affirmations, practicing mindfulness meditation, and making new goals, we can shake off limiting beliefs like dust from an old book and start writing an uplifting narrative.

By challenging and replacing these beliefs, we’re not just redecorating our mental space; we’re creating a mindset that cheers us on, pushing us toward the awesome life we dream of. 🚀

Happy New Year!

XO, Christine

christine mathews

I’ve been keeping it real since 1963. 🙂

I’m a child of God, a wifey, mama, grandma, full-time creative, domestic engineer, and self-care enthusiast.

I am obsessed with all things makeup and skincare and love getting my hands dirty out in the garden, my art room, or in the kitchen, whipping up something yummy for the fam.

I’m always down to chat and love collaborating with other creatives and brands alike!

Feel free to reach out anytime!

XO, Christine

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