We live in fear of not having enough. Those of us who feel short of money, time, love or anything else feel that the things we crave are difficult to come by. Meanwhile, those of us who do have enough fear losing what we have. We want the good things to last forever and never change. Even many wealthy people struggle with feelings of scarcity, terrified they will lose what they have. It often seems that the richer people get, the more they cling tight-fistedly to things. We likely all experience these feelings to some degree, and they can really hold us back. But where do they come from?
We all have a number of unconscious beliefs about ourselves which limit our potential. These are usually shaped by our childhoods or other past experiences. Those who have been single for a while may have the limiting beliefs that they are unattractive or unlovable, for example. These beliefs could stem from being bullied in school, a past rejection and so on.
Beliefs like this can lead us to fall into a scarcity mindset – “meeting people is really hard”, “no one will fall for someone like me”, “it’s too late to meet someone”, and so on.
Why are these beliefs so damaging? They may lead us to stop trying to meet people, and become withdrawn or even bitter. On the flip side, we may become so desperate to meet someone that we pursue anyone who is available, regardless of whether they’re a good fit. But both bitterness and desperation are likely to put people off, creating a vicious cycle.
Personally, I probably have the most limiting beliefs with regards to money. This definitely stems from my childhood – I grew up in a low-income family, and though I always had my needs met, I worried about our situation from a young age. For a long time, I believed earning a healthy income meant doing a boring nine-to-five job. I had resigned myself to always being short of money, and hoarded up what money I had, reluctant to spend it even on things which added value to my life.
When I started earning a decent income freelancing, my worries lessened, but I was surprised to find that they didn’t go away. I worried about losing a client and being left with less coming in than going out. I had plenty of savings to back me up, but I felt convinced I wouldn’t be able to find more clients if I lost any. This is a classic example of the scarcity mindset; I felt that clients were in short supply and that I wasn’t good enough to keep them or win them over.
So for many of us, limiting beliefs are the problem. But what’s the solution?
The Law of Attraction
The Law of Attraction is essentially the idea that what we believe creates our reality. So if we have the limiting belief that we can’t start a successful business, then we probably won’t be able to do so! But if we have a positive belief – “I know I can start a business which supports me financially” – then chances are, we will succeed. The key thing here is that we have to firmly believe that what we want is coming to us, without letting doubt get in the way. That means banishing those limiting beliefs!
The idea that we can just believe things into existence may sound like magical thinking, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Letting go of worry allows us to direct our energy towards more positive things which will help us achieve our goals. And it makes us happier, braver and freer, which tends to attract more opportunities our way. When we have complete faith in what is coming, the universe conspires to help us get it.
Acting without fear
To progress, we need to realise that scarcity is an illusion. Abundance is everywhere when we stop limiting the possibilities. If we relax and trust that we will be taken care of, things will come to us.
That doesn’t mean we don’t need to put in any effort – we are unlikely to get our dream job without sending out some applications, and we won’t meet our ideal partner if we never leave the house! The point is to do what’s necessary without being held back by fear. There’s no need to be afraid if we’re certain of success.
Of course, sometimes we do lose things – money, a relationship, a job. Change is part of life, and to a degree it’s inevitable. But there’s often a lesson to be learnt from the loss, and something even better just around the corner if we trust. When I lose something, I often find it wasn’t really serving me in the first place, and see it as an exciting opportunity to try something new.
Tips for overcoming limiting beliefs
This is all well and good, but our limiting beliefs are deeply ingrained and won’t just disappear. We have to work to overcome them. So what can we do?
- Figure out what they are. The thing with limiting beliefs is that they’re unconscious. So think about an area in your life where you’re experiencing feelings of scarcity – maybe you don’t believe you can find work you love, for example – and ask yourself why you believe that. You may think, “I don’t have enough skills”, or “I’m terrible at job interviews”. Whatever you come up with, write it down; once you start writing, you may be surprised by what comes out.
- Ask yourself whether those beliefs are really true. Look for evidence to the contrary – remember an interview that went well, for example. If you’re struggling, ask someone who knows you well to help. Write down all the reasons why your limiting beliefs may not be true.
- Notice your thought patterns. When you start feeling despondent, see if you’re slipping back into these old beliefs. Look back over the counter-arguments you wrote to remind yourself that those beliefs are false.
- Take steps towards achieving your goals. Let each minor success remind you that you can and are proving your limiting beliefs wrong.
In this way, you can slowly unpick your limiting beliefs until you hopefully stop believing them altogether. Good luck!