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How Limiting Beliefs Give You False Benefits

Limiting beliefs are beliefs your mind holds to be true but aren’t. These are beliefs about yourself, other people, and the world around you that can keep you from reaching your goals, ruin your relationships, and cause you a whole lot of pain. They can make you broke, lonely, and even cause anxiety and depression. So why do you believe them?

Think about it. These beliefs are clearly harmful. They cause real, lasting harm, and they’re so ingrained that you can’t just say “well, that’s silly,” and move on. Your unconscious will fight you if you try to discard them. Why? Why do you hold onto something so harmful? Why would your mind do something like that to you?

The answer is something called false benefits. This is something your mind sees as a benefit that is actually harmful. Your brain’s number one objective is to keep you safe; it’s not going to deliberately do something to harm you. Therefore, it holds onto these limiting beliefs because there is something about them - some benefit it thinks you get from doing so.

Recall that your mind has two parts: a conscious, rational part and an unconscious that doesn’t think or understand the logic. The conscious part of your brain understands that these limiting beliefs are harming you, so it’s the unconscious mind -the part that can’t be reasoned with -that thinks otherwise. Your unconscious mind believes there’s some benefit you get from your limiting beliefs that overrides all the harm they do.

Limiting beliefs are a defense mechanism the unconscious mind creates to protect you. They begin in childhood when your rational mind isn’t developed. You have a bad experience that would be no big deal to an adult, but your developing brain can’t rationalize it yet, so your unconscious mind creates a limiting belief to prevent the experience from recurring.

Now that you’re an adult, you can handle these issues appropriately, but that part of your brain is still convinced that you can’t. It thinks you’re better off spending your life alone than facing the pain of being rejected if you ask someone out or working a dead-end job than risking failure trying to climb the ladder, and so forth. Your unconscious believes that it’s doing its job of protecting you.

That’s why overcoming your limiting beliefs can be so difficult. You’ve first got to overcome the objections of your own mind. You can do it, though. And the effort is worth the outcome!

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