Susan L. Farrell, Author

Self-Limiting Belief Systems

dreamstime_xs_30823517We all have belief systems.  We all have beliefs on how the world is and who we are.  Some of these can be beneficial.

For example, a belief system that I have had since I was a child was that if I wanted something, I needed to work for it.  If I wanted “A’s” in school, I needed to study and do the assignments well.  If I wanted nicer clothes than what my parents could afford, or more books, I needed to earn the money to buy them.  As an adult, this belief system continued.  I needed to complete college, to work hard to get promotions, to get raises, to earn money to buy the things I wanted.  I needed to save money, to invest money, so I could take care of myself in the future.  My husband shares this belief system and together we have been very successful.

Sometimes, though, we have self-limiting belief systems that can get in our way of being successful (however we define success).  “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t deserve it” limits our ability to achieve what we want.  Too often, these self-limiting belief systems do not even have a basis in reality.  We believe them because we have been telling ourselves these things for years.  This is something that probably most of us need to address, at least at some point in our lives.

I am beginning to realize, though, that belief systems that worked well for us in the past may become self-limiting as our lives change.

The reason I say this is that my husband and I are at the point where we can retire.  We may semi-retire first as there are still things professionally that we want to do.  However, we want to have time to do things we want, like travel, while we are still healthy enough to be able to do them and enjoy doing them.

The belief system that I have always had, to work hard to earn money, is hindering the new belief system that I am developing on what semi-retirement means to me.  I can slow down now, I can do things I want to do, rather than what I have always had to do.  This is a new concept for me, and is a difficult adjustment—not unpleasant, but difficult.

For example, a friend and colleague recently asked if I would be interested in being a delegate for a professional association.  One of her selling points was “It would look great on a resume.”  Initially I agreed that, yes, it would look good on a resume.  Then I thought a little more.  I no longer need to build a resume.  The question now isn’t whether this will benefit me professionally, will it make money for me, but do I want to do it?  Do I want to take time away from what is most important to me professionally (write books) to do this?  Do I want to take time from personal pursuits (travel) to do this?  The answer was a very easy “No.”

We do not change our belief systems overnight.  It takes time.  It takes effort.  I know I will be working on my change for some time.  And that’s fine.  The important thing is that I am consciously working on it.

Do you have self-limiting belief systems?  Any that have always been limiting and need to be addressed?  Any that may have served you well in the past, but now, not so much?


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