Self-limiting beliefs are a cage that we build around ourselves. It becomes our view of what’s possible or impossible for us. It’s an invisible cage that securely locks us into one perspective, and locks us out from another. We are locked into only those experiences that we view as safe and pleasant in the short term, while locking ourselves out of those experiences that may have tremendous opportunity for happiness, peace, financial stability, and the fulfillment of our deepest desires in the long term.

This limited view of self also accounts for our disbelief that we are worthy of the best that life has to offer. We view ourselves as undeserving of love, financial freedom, life-altering experiences, and being able to do our life’s work. We think that other people are worthy, but not us. What is so special about us? Why should I think that I’m worth it?

We also distort our view of what’s possible through our past experiences. If an experience we’ve had didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, we will often make a decision to never experience that, or anything like it, again. Regardless of why the experience resulted in the undesirable outcome, we’d rather avoid it all together rather than discover how to change the experience so that it produces the result we seek. We then take that one experience and apply it to all future opportunities that remotely resemble the one we are trying to avoid.

Years after having that negative experience, we’ll forget about the experience itself and keep the decision that we will not participate in situations like it. So, when a new situation arises, we’ll get very bad feelings about it and not know why. We’ll know to avoid that situation and we will not investigate the source of those bad feelings. The feeling comes from a conditioned response that we created. We will call it intuition, but until we do the work to fully understand our deepest beliefs, we can’t differentiate intuition from conditioned response in a reliable manner.

Most of the decisions we made about life were made during our early childhood years. We don’t realize that a bad experience playing a board game as a kid is causing us stress as an adult as we want to invest in a stock with great potential. We don’t see that in losing that art competition in kindergarten, we will not enter into any skill-based contests as adults. We don’t see that having a small accident during a school play has caused a complete fear of public speaking.

We also take on the self-limiting beliefs of others. Someone that we respect or trust may tell us of his or her belief. Because of our respect and trust of them, we often will adopt their view without so much as a second thought. This also occurs when we ask such a person for advice. We ask them their thoughts on us opening up a new bakery with our proficiency and love of cooking, and they tell us about how hard it is, and with the economy going down, how that’s not a good idea. They might say that even if the economy was good, it will be impossible to get the loan from the bank, and you won’t be able to find investors for a bakery. The result is usually a dream destroyed.

Always remember that in many cases, when someone is telling you what’s not possible for you, they are really telling you what they view as not possible for themselves, so how can it be possible for you. Try and fail, and they will tell you, “I told you so.” These are the four most feared words on the planet. This then offers you additional incentive to believe what they tell you the next time you have an opportunity to pursue a dream. They may even remind you of what happened the last time you didn’t follow their advice.

Regardless of how it’s formed, self-limiting beliefs are simply beliefs. They are our own perceptions of our own opportunities and abilities. Though we really don’t have a limitation on what we can be, do and have, we think we do, so that perception will be a reality for us. If you think you are limited, then you are. If you think that there are no limits on your life, then there won’t be.

The shame is that most people will live with these inaccurate and illusion-based limitations for their entire lives. They’ll never really see that the only thing holding them back from what they want is their decisions about it. They don’t see that a change in perception can change the entire course of their lives. They can’t see that they created the cage they live within, and they hold the keys to unlock it.

It’s time to unlock your cage.

Author's Bio: 

James LeGrand is the Author of "Evolve!", an best seller in Religion and Spirituality. He is also the publisher of, a free weekly newsletter that presents solutions to life’s issues through the lens of self-help, wisdom, philosophy and spirituality. In addition, James LeGrand is a Life Strategist, an Expert Author with &, a former Radio Personality, a Fortune 500 Vice President, and a Sifu in Shaolin Kungfu, which has been known for centuries as a pathway to spiritual enlightenment.