Introspection on a Self-Limiting Belief

I’ve realized that I have a strong belief in commitment, loyalty, and the long term. I stick with choices I make. I stick with people. I buy things for the long term. I’ve recently become aware that this belief has both good and bad consequences. My recent work on self-limiting beliefs has taught me that when any belief starts to limit me, it’s time to think about releasing it or at least shifting it.

In the area of self-limiting beliefs, the first step (from my Release Workbook) is:  Understand how the belief came into being and how it manifests itself in your life.  How does it help and support your life? How does it hurt and impede your life?  I’m finding that most of my self-limiting beliefs have aspects of both supporting and impeding.

I came by this belief (commitment, loyalty, and the long term) early in life. I lived in the same house from birth to 18 years of age when I left for college. We never bought something new unless the old item completely wore out. I think we might have had the same car (a blue Ford station wagon) for most of my childhood. My parent’s were married for 45 years (when my dad passed away) and only sold my childhood home when work relocated my mom. Dad was disabled by then and mom getting another well-paid job at her age was going to be challenge – so they moved. My mom stuck with her company as it grew, and as it morphed.

I wasn’t the smartest kid in the class, but smart enough, and I was encouraged to stick to my classwork and work though the challenges. My parents taught me that you don’t quit something you’ve chosen to do just because it’s hard. I stuck with piano lessons, even when I didn’t really like the teacher. I stuck to engineering in college although partially in, I felt it wasn’t the right choice. I believe in sticking to the choices I make.

I stick. I worked for the same company for 32 years. There were a few times I considered leaving for “greener pastures”, but in the end, my belief in commitment kept me there. In this case, my stick-to-it allowed me to retire early with financial security.

I stick. I’ve been with the same financial planner for 29 years. Even as others have tried to lure our business away as we’ve retired, I’m loyal to the person who helped us get to early retirement.

I stick. I’ve been married for 27 years and yes, I will stick with him even if he drives me crazy with his hoarding as I try and simplify.

I’ve been a subscriber to our local playhouse for 30 years. I gave to the United Way campaign for 32 years and the Fine Arts Campaign for 25 years.   I stick with magazine subscriptions for way too long – even after I’m not finding the material still relevant!

I buy things for the long term. When I buy a car, I keep it till it needs more repair work than it’s worth.   I don’t upgrade anything until the previous thing wears out. (Yes, I’ve had people laugh at my old cell phones a few times through the years.) I’ve never been a buyer of the latest fad or trendy fashion.

When I buy a house, I also believe it’s for the long run.  This has become the challenge – where it has turned into a limiting belief.   We bought our current house in Ohio with a long -term vision – I even called it our “10 year house”. Now, 2.5 years in, we’re looking to relocate and sell this house. Selling this house feels like a betrayal – I haven’t utilized it to the fullest. I’m wasting the investment. I’m not being committed to the choice I made. These are all very negative emotions!

I’ve realized that all these negative feelings are rooted in my belief in commitment, loyalty, and the long term.   That belief in commitment is generally good, but in this instance it’s become a self-limiting belief, causing me to feel bad about myself and stopping me from moving forward.  

I’m not sure how to resolve these feelings, but awareness is always the first step.

Is there a usually positive belief you’ve identified that’s become self-limiting, keeping you from moving forward with positivity?

 

Picture: spring walk photo by me

 

 

24 thoughts on “Introspection on a Self-Limiting Belief

  1. You could have been describing me in many ways. I am very loyal to people and promises I have made even when it is difficult, but material things don’t have the same emotional hold on me. Yes, I tend to stick with “things” for a long time, but if necessary, when it’s time to move on, I move on and don’t look back, at least not for very long. As an example, I had a charcoal smoker that I learned on. It was several years old, but still quite functional. However, I was in a big box store one day and there, on clearance, was a similar, but much nicer smoker at a price that was practically a giveaway. I called my wife and the condition was “one in, one out”. That afternoon, the old smoker was stripped of useful parts and sitting out by the curb for the pickers. Time to move forward.

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  2. Very interesting, Pat. Sticking to something is a good trait, but sticking with something that is no longer serving you can definitely be a problem. I think my desire to be productive and accomplish things usually serves me well, but it also makes it hard for me to just relax and enjoy without feeling guilty. I also like to organize and plan, another useful trait, but at times it keeps me from being spontaneous, and I sometimes struggle with even pleasant interruptions or surprises. Good luck with your relocation plans…and your journey of discovery! #MLSTL

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    1. Christie, In retirement, I’ve learned how to be happy with non-productive days. And I’ve learned how to allow for spontaneity and appreciate it. Both were not easy learning curves. And I’m still on the learning curve for both. So I completely understand what you’re saying/feeling!

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  3. Another though provoking post Pat and I commend you on your ‘sticking with things’. Maybe it’s a generational thing but I believe it’s a positive attribute and looking at why and how we do things can help us with moving forward. You’re definitely not alone in your thinking! #mlstl

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    1. Thanks Deb. Perhaps it is generational. I know the next generation certainly doesn’t believe in sticking with a job. But perhaps it’s just individuals. I know many folks in all generations who regularly move houses. Lots of folks lease their cars so they get a new one every 2-3 years. Many folks (celebrities for sure) are on 2nd or 3rd marriages. Ah well… like many things, commitment can have both positive and negative aspects.

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  4. Hi Pat, interesting that some of your beliefs which would be considered positive – commitment, loyalty and long term can also be a negative influence in your life. This is a new way of looking at our limiting beliefs and one that might be difficult to reconcile. Thank you for sharing your learnings with us at #MLSTL and hope you are staying safe and well. xx

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    1. Sue, I think I’m realizing that like most things, too much or too little can be negative. Too much /too little commitment or too much/too little frugality… another topic folks have mentioned. I think when anything begins to limit us, we need to better understand it!

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  5. That was a really interesting thought process Pat – I have a lot of the same traits (and I can relate to Michele’s comments about not feeling like I have much money). I know that I’m often held back by my “carefulness” and my resistance to change and to spending unnecessarily. At the same time these things have stood me in good stead many times and I won’t be changing them. I think recognizing what’s holding you back means you can make a thoughtful decision and separate fact from feelings. Letting go of a house is stressful but it’s not a person – so I think you’ll make the right choice when it comes to the final decision.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊

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    1. Thanks Leanne. I think becoming aware of when something starts to limit you is where it’s helpful. I’ve realized that this belief has limited me before as well. Yes, it’s good for sticking with things when things get tough… but the downside is similar to what you said. I didn’t join things because I worried about it being a long-term commitment. (In hind-site, it would not have been!) Knowing why I’m feeling this way right now… it is helping me move forward. We will be selling this house… unfortunately, that’s now when things settle down.

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  6. Pat we are on such similar journeys! I have also been thinking about my limiting beliefs. I grew up poor and often told we weren’t the type of people to do things that people with money could do. Money doesn’t grow on trees and all that. I know my belief that I don’t deserve to have money has often come true. But then suddenly it wasn’t true. I was able to afford things, and though I am still a very careful buyer, I started to be able to buy things I wanted. Flying across the country on vacation seemed like an amazing luxury! I still struggle with being able to do things like that.
    I think your loyalty is, overall, a good thing. Especially loyalty to people. A house doesn’t care if you move. We also bought a ten year house! We are one year in. We are fixing it up and plan to use it as our financial plan for our next phase. If I feel guilty selling it, it will be because I love it and have resurrected it from its formerly dismal shape.

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    1. Michelle, I’ve been thinking that many things have both positives and negatives. Too much or too little of most things can be bad. Too much/too little commitment; too much/too little frugality. It’s the “just right” that we need to find. And not feel guilty if that just right for us is different than for others. I’m working through this commitment thing… I think realizing when it’s holding me back is important, and yes, I can recall other instances where it has as well. How many times have I not joined something because I assumed it was a long-term commitment? Too many!

      I do love our 10-year house, so that’s not helping at all. Although, now with everything that’s happening in the world, I’m not 100% sure when the big move will happen! Selling a house right now might be challenging.

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  7. Loved this! Thank you for sharing! I wish I could say it was me, although I recognize the ethic. I think ti reflects some “Stick-to-it-iveness” that is needed for these days. I lived in Spain for a very difficult 9 months in 1975 and one of the htings that was prominent in that culture at the time, was that couples did not marry until they had bought all of the things they would need for a home. Houses and apartments were almost totally unfurnished, so from ‘silverware to stoves’ they had to save up. It takes resolve and giving oneself permission, to recognize when it is time to unstick from something, but maybe “sticking” should be more the norm. Thanks and blessings, Michele

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    1. I like how you say to “give oneself permission”. I think that’s what I need to do. I’ve started with this post… becoming aware. And I really do believe it will be the best thing for us moving forward. I’ve said for a few years now “I like myself more when I’m in Florida”. In fact, my social distancing connections are 75% with my Florida girl-friends – I think my heart is already there.

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  8. Hi Pat
    I finally have begun to sift through my email and do some blog reading.
    I’ve been preoccupied with COVID things; still in Florida, worried about my kids up north and my brother “the doc” at ground zero at the Javits Ctr in NYC.  Instead of blogging I’ve been sewing masks and distributing to the docs in our family, family members, friends and neighbors. 
    Dan has respiratory weakness since a bout with whooping cough about 10 years ago so we are REALLY self-isolating.  Groceries delivered, etc.  I have become the queen of germophobes.  LOL.  We are just patiently waiting and playing things by ear.

    I, myself, am loyal, but not a “sticker” …for example I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve moved. Loyal to people, not things or locations. Everyone is so different…

    🙂
    Nancy

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    1. Hi Nancy, I attempted to sew some masks the other day… and really showed that, while my mom did teach me to sew years ago, my skill in this area is certainly lacking! I’m going to try again… there’s got to be a learning curve in this… and I certainly have the time.

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  9. You’ve given me something to ponder. I know there must be a belief that is limiting me but I can’t immediately come up with it. It could be my frugality. What has allowed me to be in good shape financially may also be limiting what I do now that I’m no longer earning and saving. But that seems too obvious so I’m going to think about this.

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    1. I’ve been spending a bit of time un-earthing my self-limiting beliefs. A few come from exploring why something feels uncomfortable or scary. Some come from statements I make that “I believe” or “I am/am not” or “i could never”. If you say something about yourself and someone else says – of course you’re not…that’s possibly a self-limiting belief. Many ways to try and unearth your own. Awareness is the first step!

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  10. Your description of your “stickiness” mirrors mine in many ways so I really understand your feelings about selling your house so soon after its purchase. I lived in the same house from birth until I moved out as a young adult (selling it only after both my parents passed away) and we’ve lived in our current house since 1994. But, you are smart to realize that when something isn’t working, or something else will serve you better, it’s time to move on. I also hold on to my cars for 10+ years, but made a decision to make a change just after a few years. The car I owned didn’t make me happy at all and every time I drove it, I felt stress. Now, I love, love my car. Despite the less than optimal financial decision I made, my new car makes me happy. I’m sure your new house will fill you with joy too.

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    1. Janis, It’s always wonderful when I find I am not alone in my feelings! I love your final statement… “despite the less than optimal financial decision…. it makes me happy”. I really hope I’ll be saying the same thing is another year!

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