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Can You Believe That?

Written by: Mark D. Lakowske, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Have you ever tried to change something about yourself or life’s circumstances, but things just don’t seem to change for you?

Maybe you start strong and enthusiastic, but then your follow through tapers off until you’re back where you started. Or you experience the fear of not taking true action called procrastination and perfectionism. Whatever it is that's holding you back from pursuing your goals & living your best life there is usually an underlying subconscious belief that stops you in your tracks.

Understanding and developing new beliefs are a key piece towards your progress & success!

Beliefs are important. They are the guiding force in our lives that give us direction and even meaning. At their core they are simply a thought or an attitude that something is true; and we are all very familiar with what our beliefs are.

Limiting beliefs are a thought that you keep thinking & hold to be true about yourself, about others, or about the world; but unlike a regular belief, this belief usually makes you feel negatively and it limits or stops you in some way.

There are MANY different limiting beliefs. Here are just a few of the common ones:

  • I’m just not good enough.

  • Taking care of myself means I am being selfish.

  • I am not smart/disciplined/skilled enough to... XYZ.

  • I can’t say no. If I say no to people, they will hate me.

  • I can’t have this and have that too.

  • I’m not lovable.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

These ideas that restrict us can be formed from almost anywhere. We can have personal experiences that lead us to developing certain blocks. We can pick up limiting beliefs from our families or how we grew up. It’s not just our families who can influence what we believe; our friends, co-workers, group members can and do influence us too. The very society we live in or even the world at large can impose standards that generate limiting beliefs. Religion often shapes & defines which attitudes are accepted or not accepted; and often leads to very rigid beliefs. Limiting beliefs can be created and get stronger based on the story we keep thinking and telling or the excuses or fears we keep using.

No matter where or when they were formed, limiting beliefs reside deep in our subconscious mind and they play in our maze of thoughts, ride the rollercoaster of our emotions and run amuck in the amusement park of our conscious life. These types of beliefs are really no day at the park! A lot of the time it can feel like we are just standing in a long line that never moves. That gets frustrating when we can see the fun ride just up ahead that will make us happy…but can’t seem to get there.

At their heart limiting beliefs have good intentions and are just trying to help satisfy the two goals of our mind – survival & growth. They are actually defence mechanisms that help you avoid the possibility of negative emotions.

At one time in the past you developed or took on limiting beliefs to help in some positive way. Maybe they helped by steering you clear of hurt or frustration, kept you from disappointments, failure or even harm. At one time being navigated away from these problems & negativities was a good thing.

When our minds notice specific similar situations now that you may have suffered from in the past it gets triggered and does its best to stop the negative things from happening again. So it begins to alter your thoughts, feelings and behavior. That will then causes blocks in your ability to be in healthy relationships, achieving a goal, getting a new job, going on a trip or to a family party, speaking in a group, making more money, losing the last 15 pounds, speaking your truth, letting go of anxiety & depression or any number of things that relate to the limiting belief. In short, limiting beliefs lead to the opposite of what you truly want.

So how can you begin to move yourself past those limiting beliefs so you can choose new ways of thinking and believing that serve you better than the old ways ever could?

First, I think it’s important to remember that your beliefs are just thoughts…strong, deep thoughts yes, but thoughts nonetheless and thoughts can be changed. I always find it’s good to empower yourself by giving yourself permission to change your mind. Sometimes we forget that we can do that, don't we!?

Do that right now – Take a deep breath in and release it while saying – “I am at choice and I choose!” Again breathe in and exhale – “I am at choice and I choose!” Be in this moment and reclaim your power of choice. “I am at choice to let go of the old thoughts and old feelings that aren’t serving me any longer and I can choose what thoughts and feelings to embrace.”

Everyone’s favorite neighbor, Mr. Fred Rogers, would often say –

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”

In other words, identifying the limiting belief is how you start being able to manage it. Maybe you already know exactly what it is, perhaps not. If you need to discover what your limiting beliefs are I would suggest thinking about the things you would like to achieve but aren’t currently having success with. Notice the justifications you think about not doing said thing.

For example I used to have a limiting belief that I couldn't exercise because I had asthma and it would cause me not to breathe, so therefore I shouldn’t do any exercise.

Within the limiting belief and reasons why you can’t, you’ll usually find the truth and also the why/way you can get past it. When you know that, you’ll have a starting point to start to make adjustments.

In my case I realized I was generalizing and lumping ALL exercise into the limiting belief. The truth is, some exercise IS better than none. So I made a list of all the things I COULD do that gave me a workout without putting strain on my lungs. I could walk (at whatever pace suited me and I enjoyed it), I could swim or walk laps in the pool, I could use gym equipment that put no pressure on my lungs. I felt more accomplished and that made me want to stick with it too. I also had the realization that I didn’t have to push myself till I got winded; I could take a break, rest and that was okay. I wasn’t a failure for resting, I was still putting in effort towards my goal to be healthier.

Having these realizations shifted my belief. I’m now choosing to believe that I can exercise in my own way and at the same time use that time to learn something new by listening to educational podcasts! Win-Win!

Speaking with a friend, family member or mentors about your limiting beliefs can be helpful too. They will have an outside perspective and can help you identify key points to consider because they won’t be thinking of your limiting belief in the same way.

Side Note: Some people have several limiting beliefs, so don’t feel like you need to tackle all of them at once. That would be overwhelming. Instead focus on the largest one, the one that really trips you up most.

Realize that if you are dealing with a limiting belief most are founded on falsehoods and are untrue. Beliefs aren’t necessarily fact and if they are harming or stopping you then they don’t have to be your truth any longer. Once you identify the disruptive belief start to question it by asking:

  • Is this belief really grounded in fact or is it just opinion?

  • If it’s someone’s opinion, whose opinion?

  • Do you want to continue living based on that opinion/thought?

  • What do you really think? What’s your opinion about it?

  • What feels better or more aligned with you or who you want to be?

  • What are the supporting facts that tell you that this is grounded in opinion rather than facts?

  • Have I always thought this way? If not, What’s changed?

  • What evidence, if any, counteracts my belief?

  • Imagine what it would be like to think of the opposite of my belief.

  • By thinking this belief is it helping me or hurting me?

  • By thinking this belief is it progressing me towards or away from my goals?

  • (This one is kinda fun!) How would I think about this belief if I were someone completely different (Eg. a teacher, a doctor, your favorite celebrity, various people of different religions or backgrounds or from other parts of the world.)

These questions are specifically designed to help you expand your awareness and perspective on the subject that the belief centers around. You might learn that it’s not quite what you were thinking after all and will lead you to a better way of thinking about things...

It’s also significant to consider what the consequences to your life are if you continue holding onto the limiting beliefs. Ask yourself questions like:

  • How will holding onto the limitations serve you?

  • How will it deprive you, stop you, shrink you?

  • What will you not have, have to give up or sacrifice?

  • What will keeping this limiting belief do to your mental, physical, emotional state over time?

  • Do you want to live with the consequences for the rest of your life?

  • Can you live with the consequences getting worse?

  • Are the consequences acceptable to you or not?

Once you have identified those aspects ask yourself – What do I want to believe instead? Adopt a new thought that feels better and make a choice about what you want to believe…remember, you can always change that too if you find it doesn’t fit… but make a more positive choice.

Someone once told me “It’s not enough to just know, you must also do.” Once you’ve chosen a new belief around that topic that suits you better you have to take action and start implementing it in your life.

For example – if the limiting belief was “I could never write a book”, instead you could adopt a new thought about that stating “Other people like me have written books before and if they can do it so can I”! Then today take a small action step, maybe you could join a writers group on social media and connect with some of the people? Ask them how they started. You could sit down and just start writing with no worries about spelling or grammar or anything, just write. Look at the lamp or the chair or the bird out the window and start asking yourself questions about it and make up a little story and get those juices flowing!

The purpose of putting positive action towards your new beliefs is all about practicing & conditioning new thought patterns in your mind. These new thoughts will help you create the new reality that you desire. Talking about or picturing the end results of what you want will help create anticipation, opportunities and strengthen your neural pathways in the brain. This will help move you towards greater success!

You can change your life in dramatic ways when you change your mind on your beliefs. There really is no limitation in many cases except for the limits we believe there are. Even that statement might be a limiting belief for some!

I know you want something more and better for yourself so I encourage you to examine those thoughts that have prevented you from reaching your goals. Endeavor to decide something new!

No matter where you are in the world, If you need support and help to quickly and easily change your limiting beliefs I’m here for you. Please feel free to reach out to me at the following link – Or visit my website at

Your Favorite

Hypnotist, Mark D. Lakowske CTC® CMHT®

For more info, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or visit my website!


Mark D. Lakowske, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Multiple award-winning & internationally renowned clinical hypnotherapist Mark D. Lakowske has trained practitioners worldwide in his groundbreaking methods. Through this and his own practice, he has helped improve the lives of tens of thousands of people in countries ranging from the United States to Australia & New Zealand. Mark is an author of three books & regularly tours the world, contributing ideas to the development of hypnotherapy practice. His passion & drive is assisting people to overcome the overwhelming & live with more confident joy & happiness!



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