How Self-Limiting Beliefs Harm You?

Self-limiting beliefs harm you

You suffer from “Self-Limiting Beliefs” when you repeatedly say to yourself something like these statements:

So, self-limiting beliefs are false assumptions.

You can have false assumptions about yourself. You can have false assumptions about your abilities. You may misinterpret the society or world around you.

These beliefs are tiny inner voices that stop you from starting something new or challenging and tell you, “You can’t!”.

Further, self-limiting beliefs act like mental roadblocks that prevent you from reaching your full potential or doing certain things in life.

For example, when I was a 10-year-old kid, one day a neighbor who was a self-proclaimed astrologer read my palm. After reading it, he told me I would not travel to any foreign destination as it was not written in my destiny.

Those statements etched in my mind as a negative belief, and I believed it for decades. Whenever I thought about foreign travel, I used to remember those words.

I wanted to travel, but that self-limiting belief instilled a deep fear in me. I kept believing it for 30 years of my life after that incident.

You can call it a lack of knowledge or ignorance. But, I believed in that self-limiting belief.

Later, I deliberately started working to shatter this belief, and after lots of inner battles with this negative belief, I got my first chance to travel to a foreign country. After that, I have been able to travel to different countries.

See? What a negative belief can do to you if you really believe it?

Reasons behind such self-limiting beliefs can be anything like your past experiences, fears, and negative inner voices.

So, How Self-Limiting Beliefs Harm You?

Let’s discuss some of the ways self-limiting beliefs can harm you or hold you back:

1. You Miss Opportunities Because of Them

When you want to pursue your goals, self-limiting beliefs come in between. They prevent you from taking any chances in life, which results in missed opportunities.

Due to self-limiting beliefs, you start doubting yourself and get caught in the “I am not qualified” trap.

You may develop a fear of failure. This fear can become so strong that you take no risks at all.

You forget when you take risks, you get new opportunities to learn from mistakes. You receive valuable feedback to potentially get better or even succeed.

Example: Imagine that you have a wonderful idea for a startup. You want to start your own business and you have been dreaming about it for a long time.

But, you have a limiting belief that “business ideas are risky and most businesses fail.”

This self-limiting belief has instilled the fear of failure in you. Now, it is stopping you from taking any substantial actions.

Such beliefs keep you stuck and prevent you from even trying to turn your dream into reality.

2. Your Self-Limiting Beliefs Sabotage Love and Relationships

When you have self-limiting beliefs, you find it hard to approach someone. It happens because you have a fear of rejection.

You may have some beliefs like “I’m not good enough” or “I’m unlovable”. Such beliefs stop you from opening up emotionally. You build walls around you. You avoid intimacy and find it hard to trust another person.

You sabotage love and relationships by pushing people away.

If you believe you don’t deserve love, you may unconsciously create certain situations that can create conflicts in your relationships. Or, you may end up in a breakup.

Due to limiting beliefs, you can misinterpret your partner’s words and actions. You look at them through a negative lens.

When you have self-limiting beliefs, you attract the wrong partners. Those predators who are looking out for emotionally insecure people like you. They may sense your vulnerability and exploit you.

Example: Imagine a person with a deep-rooted belief that “I am not worthy of love and will eventually be abandoned.”

As she constantly fears being abandoned, it makes her hyper-sensitive to any slight changes in her partner’s behavior.

If her partner wants some alone time or he has a busy work schedule, she overthinks about it and fears that he is about to leave her.

She is unaware that such behaviors can create a wall between her and her partner.

Her partner starts feeling unloved or attacked. He starts pulling back to protect himself from her criticism.

As she notices this withdrawal from him, she takes it as proof that she was right and he indeed is going to leave her anyway.

Do you think such relationships will survive?

Such beliefs are harmful to the relationships and prevent you from experiencing true love and intimacy.

3. Self-Limiting Beliefs Can Lead to Stagnation in Your Career

Due to self-limiting beliefs, you don’t aim high. You reduce your ambitions.

If you believe that you are not a good manager or you will never get the promotion you are dreaming about, you don’t go after such goals with your full energy. You settle for staying in your current role or position instead of challenging yourself.

If you have negative beliefs like “People will think my ideas are not important” or “People will think I am stupid”, you keep silent in important meetings. Such beliefs stop you from sharing your perspective. You miss out on potential chances to showcase your knowledge and value.

Self-limiting beliefs let you believe that you don’t have anything interesting to offer. So you shy away from networking events. You avoid reaching out to people in your field.

When you do so, you limit your access to career mentorship and new opportunities that may come through connections.

Example: Let’s assume that a person called “Amit” is a software programmer and works in a small IT company.

He has a limiting belief, “I am not logical enough to become a great programmer.”

Due to this limiting belief, he feels there is no point in taking an advanced course in programming or learning a new programming language.

He avoids experimenting with his current coding techniques that could expand his skillset.

He plays it safe and would rather work on repetitive tasks instead of trying new challenges or asking to be a part of big projects.

He forgets that his manager knows about his lack of risk-taking. So when an exciting or challenging project comes, his manager will not consider him for it.

He forgets that his limiting beliefs are stopping him from growing in his career. He won’t be getting good promotions or career opportunities that his other colleagues may get.

4. Self-Limiting Beliefs Have Negative Impact on Your Mental Health

When you indulge in constant negative self-talk, your harsh inner critic loves it. It tells you why you are a failure or why you are not good enough.

Your negative self-talk lowers your self-esteem.

Your self-limiting beliefs can make you anxious. If you constantly fear failure, judgment, or unworthiness, this creates a state of chronic anxiety. You become hyper-vigilant about negative feedback and what others say. You constantly worry that you may disappoint others.

If you believe in beliefs like “I’ll never be happy” or “Things will never get better”, you don’t realize you are becoming hopeless and desperate. These are signs of depression.

Self-limiting beliefs increase your sensitivity to stress. Such beliefs magnify your everyday setbacks. When you do something wrong or when someone throws a minor criticism towards you, you feel catastrophic about it.

Example: Imagine a person named “Tanya” who has a limiting belief, “I’m not good at making friends. People don’t like me.”

Due to this limiting belief, Tanya avoids social gatherings and thinks she will face rejection there.

If she indulges in a conversation with a potential friend, she obsesses over it afterward. She replays every word and gesture because she is convinced that she said something wrong or she is secretly disliked. In other terms, she overthinks.

As she avoids social contact and indulges in constant self-talk, she feels isolated and sad. Due to the recurrence of these feelings, she shows signs of depression now.

She has no idea that her current situation is because of her limiting beliefs and what a limiting belief can do to her.

5. Self-Limiting Beliefs Prevent You from Reaching Your Full Potential

Due to self-limiting beliefs, you limit your dreams. Your ambition becomes low.

Let’s see the following two beliefs:

  1. “I’m not smart enough for that.”
  2. “People like me don’t achieve those kinds of goals.”

With such beliefs, you are limiting your scope of growth. You stop dreaming boldly. Instead of striving for excellence, you settle for mediocre or average things in life.

You obstruct your growth and shrink your definition of success.

You don’t realize that self-limiting beliefs create fear of failure and it stops you from trying anything new or challenging. And, do you think that you can grow personally and professionally if you don’t challenge yourself?

Limiting beliefs encourages you to stay in your comfort zone. This leads to avoiding stretching yourself and testing your true abilities.

Self-limiting beliefs create self-doubt and fear of rejection. These keep you from applying for the dream job, approaching a potential partner, asking for a promotion, or starting your own business.

Example: Let’s imagine that there is someone who is a writer. Let’s call her Manya. She has a deep-rooted belief “I’m a terrible writer”.

She has some talent but she is not aware that her limiting beliefs are stopping her from growing as a writer.

She avoids sharing her work with others for feedback or abandons a project at the first sign of difficulty. Because she doesn’t believe in herself.

If she keeps believing in this belief, she may never develop her true writing potential. She may remain stuck with a limited view of her capabilities.


So, we have understood here that self-limiting beliefs are those false and negative assumptions we hold about ourselves.

We become our enemies and create unseen barriers to our happiness and success.

Self-limiting beliefs don’t let us explore our true capabilities and let us lose opportunities.

Henry Ford has said it right in the following quote:

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.

— Henry Ford

If you believe you can’t do this or that thing, you are right. If you think you are not smart enough for a promotion, you are right. If you think you are unlovable, you are right.

If you don’t want to be known as a person with limited capabilities or looser, stop negative self-talk. Such talks can erode your self-esteem.

Negative beliefs can contribute to mental health issues.

It is important to remember that your potential is not fixed. You can remove artificial roadblocks created by your limiting beliefs.

Remember that self-limiting beliefs stop you from living a fulfilling life and achieving the desired success.

Recognize such beliefs and challenge them. Take control of what you are saying or thinking.

Destroy negative beliefs and inculcate positive beliefs and you will witness how your life has started changing.

May the Force be with you!

By Rajesh Sharma

Rajesh Sharma is a freelance IT Consultant who have found his new passion in writing. On this blog, he writes about Social Experiences and shares tips on improving them.

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