A self-limiting belief is a belief that limits your true potential by leading you to believe that you are not capable or worthy of doing what you want or getting what you need in life.
So many people – myself included – struggle with self-limiting beliefs. The point is not to beat ourselves up over this – the point is to increase our awareness of it so we can work through it and replace these self-limiting beliefs with their positive counterpart: empowering beliefs that propel us forward!
When you think about practicing self-care, what emotions arise for you? Does the thought of a self-care act, like daily morning meditation, or going to bed 30 minutes earlier, feel exciting or daunting?
Chances are, if you answered something along the lines of “exciting,” you have already established a self-care routine in your life. Good for you! This is a wonderful place to be.
But if adding a self-care practice or routine into your life feels daunting, overwhelming, or even above you, then please keep reading because I can relate and I promise that what I’m about to share is meant for you to read.
Our modern society glorifies the hustle and minimizes our innate need (and birthright!) for rest.
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different outcome, then I’d say our modern prioritization of work over wellness is insane.
If you develop a root belief at an early age that you are not worthy, that will infiltrate its way through all aspects of your life.
But simply acknowledging this is not enough to make a positive change. We must get really honest and clear with ourselves and ask the difficult question: what is making me feel like I do not have space for self-care in my life?
Beneath the surface layers of being “too busy” or “not having enough time” lies the root belief that you are not worthy of making the time. Listen, I get it. We have kids, careers, and full schedules. I am not being insensitive to the reality of your life responsibilities and challenges.
What I am being is an advocate for your wellness.
If you have two jobs and three young children, you are not less of a candidate for self-care. You are THE candidate. Your self-care is paramount to not just your own wellbeing, but that of your family’s also.
It’s the proverbial lesson that we can’t fill other’s cups if our own cup is empty. We are all worthy, regardless of our age, our responsibilities, our socioeconomic status, or any other factors.
Let’s First Define What Self-Care Is – And What It Is Not
Self-care often conjures images of bubble baths, a decadent massage, or getting your nails done. These all count as self-care!
But self-care is so much more. Self-care is truly any act that replenishes you mind, body, or soul.
Self-care can be as simple as going to bed early, or not setting an alarm on your day off. Self-care can be reading a chapter from a good book, or going on a long walk with your dog. It can be doing yoga, practicing meditation, journaling, or cooking a delicious, healthy meal for yourself. Or spending the day with a loved one who inspires you.
Self-care can be saying no to social invites. It can also be saying yes! Ultimately, self-care boils down to acts of service for yourself that nourish you, fill you up, give you rest or rejuvenation.
The thing about self-care is, it does not have to cost a lot of money or even require a lot of time. Everyone has their own unique needs, challenges, limitations, and preferences. Which is why there’s no wrong answer when it comes to practicing self-care, as long as it truly is good for you.
As I’ve said in my books, on podcast interviews, and in other articles I’ve written, self-care is not a splurge, a “rare occasion treat,” or reserved for a lucky few. Self-care is our birthright! We not only deserve to practice regular self-care; we quite literally need it in order to keep giving and being our very best in life.
So why can it be so challenging for some of us (myself included – for years!) to commit to practicing self-care?
Time, resources, and not knowing where to begin are all common factors that hold people back, but there’s something else more deeply rooted that often causes us to sabotage our self-care or even skip it entirely and it has to do with our self-limiting beliefs . . .
Create a Realistic Self-Care Routine From These 17 Simple Practices
If You Don’t Practice Self-Care, It’s Probably Due to These 3 Self-Limiting Beliefs
Shame, guilt, or unworthiness. These three words are all negative emotions and self-limiting beliefs that create a lot of tumult in our lives. And yet so many people experience these emotions on a regular basis.
We may feel guilt in taking time just for us, since we’ve been made to believe that that’s selfish. We may feel guilt in knowing we have tasks or to-do’s that aren’t completed when we stop to practice self-care. The point is to do it anyway.
Shame is complicated.
We might feel shame for needing self-care, thinking it’s somehow weak or self-absorbed. Some may even feel shame for not practicing self-care, which in turn could stop them from pursuing it.
When we feel shame or guilt, they are self-defeating and self-loathing. These emotions make us feel small, they lead us into making decisions that are not self-serving (like choosing not to practice self-care), and they try to convince us that somehow, for some reason, we are not worthy.
We not only deserve to practice regular self-care; we quite literally need it.
A root belief is a belief about ourselves that we develop at a young age that continues to influence our decisions and actions – often on a subconscious level – well into our adulthood. And, if left unchecked, will be carried throughout our entire lives.
If this root belief is not empowering, it is a self-limiting belief. And like the name implies, these beliefs are dangerous in how they can limit you in all aspects of your life! From decision-making to what you belief you are worthy or capable of, self-limiting beliefs take a big toll.
If you develop, like I did, a root self-limiting belief at an early age that you are not worthy, that will infiltrate its way through all aspects of your life and cause constant upheaval. Mainly, upheaval in your important life choices like relationships, jobs, the way you speak to yourself, and even things like practicing self-care.
The Drastic Impact of Self-Care On Your Mental Health
How can we move past those feelings of guilt, shame and unworthiness?
The commonality between these three emotions is that they are habitual thought patterns that have established themselves in your brain. These emotions are extremely self-limiting. It doesn’t mean that they are true or real.
What this presents is an opportunity to shift your brain patterns and rewire them with more uplifting and empowering thoughts. Over time and with repetition, our thought synapses weave grooves, or pathways, in the brain.
Sound interesting? It is! Read all about our neural pathways and how it works here!
It is easier to have the same thought than to create a new pathway, hence how any habitual thought pattern is formed.
So the way to retrain our brain is by conscious repetition of a new thought or belief.
Let’s apply this concept to our negative emotions around self-care. Just begin!
Start by carving out five minutes to do one good thing for yourself this week, whether it’s reading, stretching, sitting outside, or simply getting in tune with your breathing. Then next week, commit to ten minutes. Gradually build this practice up over time, on your time, and on your terms. The point is to commit.
And when we make it a point to override those deep-seated emotional reactions and commit to self-care, we will literally create new pathways for the neurotransmitters in our brains and over time, retrain our brains.
This ongoing commitment to self-care can actually shift our brain patterns and root beliefs about ourselves such as unworthiness. Over time, your self-care routine can also help eliminate feelings of guilt or shame that may arise as a result of having that root belief of unworthiness.
This is the quickest way to transform a self-limiting belief into its positive counterpart so you can thrive!
Self-Limiting Beliefs and How to Overcome Them: The Takeaway
To close, I invite you to become aware of your thoughts and any negative emotions that may arise.
Take this opportunity to audit your thoughts, begin or stay committed to your self-care routine, and notice the shifts this practice creates in your mind – and your life.
As you do this, consider sharing your journey with someone you trust – your best friend, sibling, or parent – to help hold you accountable and gather support. I heard a really poignant saying the other day: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
It’s not a race; it is a lifelong journey, and when it comes to self-care and emotional wellbeing, we want to be able to go far.
As with everything in life, it’s easier when we have support. There’s nothing more important then giving yourself the resources (including the support!) that you need to take care of yourself and your emotional wellbeing through self-care.