What is a limiting belief? It is the voice inside you that says “I am too fat, too stupid, too tall, too short, too different” and “no one likes me, I can’t do it, why should I even try?” Limiting beliefs are dream killers. In fact, since limiting beliefs can stop someone from even trying, they can kill a dream before it even has a CHANCE to succeed.
My limiting beliefs growing up often centered around my weight. I’ve always been big (I am 6’6” and over 300 pounds) and I have almost always been overweight. For me, this meant I didn’t want to change for gym, I didn’t want to participate in swim class, I felt I could not really compete in sports, I was sure that I was hideous, and I was never completely comfortable in my own skin. I was a very good student academically, but — especially in seventh, eighth and ninth grades — I often felt left out, different, and angry with myself for being fat. I let my own beliefs about my weight and my appearance STOP me from trying new things, trying out for sports, and enjoying some of the activities I was forced into. Gym class was my MOST stressful part of the day, not the time for some fun and stress release.
The thing about limiting beliefs is that they are almost always a lie. Yes, I was overweight, but that didn’t mean I had to limit myself. I always envied people who did not seem to be bothered by anyone else’s opinion or judgment – the guy who could jump into the pool with his gut proudly displayed and have a great time doing it – but I could never seem to be that carefree about my own appearance. I was limiting myself.
Most of this changed by the end of tenth grade – I started playing tennis with some friends, which helped me lose some weight, which motivated me to lose some more weight. I even got asked to join the tennis team. Nothing changed about me as a person. I was the same inside as I had always been. My confidence level rose and I became much more comfortable with my appearance.
I stayed thin through high school and through most of my twenties. As with many adults, the weight started creeping back and then, after years, I was fat again. But now, as an adult, it doesn’t limit me. I know I have the power to change if I want to. I know that my weight does not change the person I am. I know I am not limited by my appearance. I know that a person’s physical appearance says absolutely nothing about them as a person.
This is one of the things I love about Reaching Higher – we can help kids learn this lesson while they are still kids, before it limits them or kills their dreams. I wish I had the opportunity for this class when I was a sixth- or seventh-grader – I think it would have helped me through some rough years knowing that my value as a person was not tied to my weight.
What limiting belief is holding you back? What if I told you that belief was most likely a lie and that you have the power to change it to a positive belief. You have the power to live the life of your dreams, and you don’t have to let anyone – especially yourself – hold you back. Don’t let a limiting belief prevent you from the life you deserve.