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Limiting Beliefs

Photo by Gala Darling

I never know what I’m going to write until I actually sit down to write it. Actually, the less I think about it, and just allow myself to relax into the flow, the better the writing usually takes shape.

My state of mind has everything to do with the quality of the final result. Thus, the lack of writing produced in the first 10 months of 2010 – as I was recovering and overcoming post-partum depression.

The biggest gift I received from the Good Mood Blogger contest was, that in entering it, a mental shift took place in me that pushed me over the edge of the mental blockage I was “stuck” in. And for that, I felt like a winner from the very beginning.

The mental blocks (aka. Limiting beliefs) we experience in life – not just in writing, but with taking action toward goals we want to accomplish – can have a detrimental effect which dramatically change the stories of our lives.

A few weeks ago, in the TSN Insider newsletter, I talked about the negative effect my mental blockage regarding money had on my life. The result of that was unconscious self-sabotaging of the success I had, until my physical reality matched that of my beliefs. I was literally pushing opportunities away, and doing so unconsciously.

It is worthwhile, to observe ourselves, and our emotional reactions towards certain topics. And if we have an inverse reaction, examine and reflect on why we may feel that way. Keep reflecting, and questioning yourself, and drilling deeper into the possible mental blockages or limiting beliefs you may have developed about that topic.

For example, if you want to make more money, or be more successful in your field of expertise, notice how you feel towards and talk about people with more money or more success than you. Are you feeling jealous or judging them with a negative lens in the privacy of your mind?

Another example, you want to be an artist, let’s say a painter, but you can’t seem to find time to lift a paintbrush. Or the an opportunity comes up for you to advance your painting career, but you come up with excuses that takes you away from the opportunity. In this case, examine what fears and possible limiting beliefs you may have about being an artist?

You may consider me to be a writer, because, I’ve been writing on TSN for over 3 years now. And given that I make a relative living doing it, I would qualify to be called a writer. But in my mind, I never believed that about myself, until very recently.

English wasn’t my first language. I spoke my first English sentence when I was 10. And having been placed into ESL classes for many years, along side all the other immigrant children, I didn’t enter my first non-ESL English class until I was 15 or 16.

I always considered myself to be weak in the English language and avoided it. I always felt insecure about my grammar and spelling. And wouldn’t let anything I’ve written see the light of day, until it got read and edited by someone more qualified – like a native speaker.

In high school, I loved English class – especially escaping into the dreamy world of a good novel. But I was also scared of them, scared of book reports and essays. I felt exceptionally nervous of exams, where I had to compose essays under pressure – my mind would blank out of fear, so bad that sometimes I would shake like a little dry leaf, and I would end up doing badly, which further strengthened my belief that I was bad at English.

In my last year in high school – when your grades mattered the most for entrance to University – I took 3 math classes (calculus, statistics and geometry) to offset my grade average for the low grade I got from English class.

For the midterm exam, I remember working so hard, and thought I had done well. Until I got the result back, which was disappointing. When I went to ask my English teacher about it, I remember vividly the look on her face and the puffy strands of gray hair she wore, when she said something along the lines of, “You are a bad writer. In fact, so bad that you should not be allowed in University.”

I was heart broken.

From that moment on, I was terrified of what University would hold. I was scared to write, and I believed her in saying I was a bad writer. I ended up pursuing a Bachelor in Math, and specialized in Computer Science, because, that was the only thing I could do that avoided my fear of writing.

When I was breaking up with Adam, years ago, one of my big fear and hesitancy was that I would loose my editor, my proofreader, essentially my safety net for Think Simple Now. I was so afraid that I actually considered being in a relationship that I wasn’t happy in.

Since the relationship with Adam ended, my step-dad and later Jeremy took over the responsibility of proof reading all my writing. This is one of the main reasons why articles took so long to turn around. And why I feel so liberated with the TSN Insider email list experiment – unedited, unproof-read, just a stream of ideas, raw, directly from me to you. It’s imperfect, and it’s okay.

It wasn’t until I entered into the Good Mood Gig contest, when the mental shift took place in me, for the first time in 3 years as a professional blogger, I actually considered myself to be a qualified “writer”.

In the meanwhile, I had given up many opportunities to become a writer who can make a good living being creative – like saying no to a book deal from a respectable publisher; or saying no to opportunities to guest post on some of the highest trafficked sites; or ignoring some highly profitable sponsoring campaigns by national brands; or at the height of TSN’s growth and rising popularity in 2008, I decided to stop blogging.

It’s all laugh-able now, but sometimes, when I think about them, they make me a little sad, and make me want to kick myself for being so “stupid”. But let bygones be bygones. All experiences were crucial in leading me up to this moment, and all the lessons where necessary to help me grow, and to help me find my true calling. So in the end, it wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

We’ve all made mistakes as a result of living unconsciously, and while it is worthy to examine them from a place of learning, there is no value dwelling in them in a state of guilt or regret.

If you are feeling stuck in certain life areas, or find yourself avoiding certain topics; look within and see what limiting beliefs you may be carrying, that is causing you to feel stuck. You may have to dig deep – for many of these unconscious beliefs are deeply rooted, and have been with us since we were children.

One of my unwritten goals for this year is to discover, uncover, and undo some of my own limiting beliefs, and unconscious habitual patterns that I unknowingly acquired as a child.

It is going to be a marvelous and fruitful journey.

What are you working on this year? Share your thoughts on Limiting Beliefs or any other topic in the comment section.


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Want more articles than the blog posts on this site? I’m currently experimenting with more frequent writing that reflects on something I’ve learned each day, or something that made me happy. This article was extracted and then polished from the TSN Insider Newsletter. You can subscribe here to receive my “TSN Insider” emails.


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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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28 thoughts on Limiting Beliefs

  1. Sara

    Really enjoyed this clear article thanks. Its amazing how you become your label . I was constantly told as a child that I was anxious and perfectionistic because I had a lot of stomach aches. I kept saying that i difnt feel that way. Turns out I’m celiac. Sometimes limiting beliefs are not yours so beware the limiting beliefs of others ESP authority adults/ drs etc ;)

  2. Omar

    Tina, I love you article. It was wonderfully written and phrased. It, easily, reaches inside and delivers the message.
    Thank you.
    I wrote down some notes from it serving the purpose I reached to your article and site in the first place. Yes, I’ll dig inside of me to find those limiting beliefs that hinder a lot of aspects in my life.
    Thank you and God bless you.
    Happy new year.

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