What negative beliefs from childhood are you holding onto?

So my virtual business friend posted a question on Facebook: What were the things you learned when you were young that you want to get rid of now? She was interested in learning more about the impact of self-limiting beliefs as a result of childhood experience on our adult life.

I was curious about the responses, because it wasn’t a question that I ever considered before. The responses did come in and they came in fast and in abundance.

This is a snapshot of what people actually said:   

  • Eat my emotions
  • Be quiet and not speak up
  • Hide who I am
  • What I want to say doesn’t matter.
  • I’m not wanted.
  • Anything less than perfect makes me a failure.
  • You can’t do that.
  • I’m invisible.
  • Play small, be careful to want too much.
  • I can’t speak my truth.
  • My opinion is not worth being heard.

To be honest, it was a horrible list. Eat my emotions? How on earth did we manage to pick this up as a child? Not only these responses demonstrated the longevity of our memory, but they also show how childhood experiences can turn into strong self-limiting beliefs

Are your negative childhood beliefs taking over your adult life?

Although we may define success differently, it’s fair to say that we all want to be successful in life. While achieving our goal depends on many factors – some are well out of our control – having negative childhood beliefs fuelling our uncertainty isn’t helpful either.

Let’s see how negative childhood beliefs can have an unwanted lingering effect on our adult life.

  • Developing self-doubt habit (Download your FREE Action Plan if you want to take control of your self-doubt)
  • Developing a small mindset
  • Developing a glass-half-empty perspective
  • Not realising your potential
  • General living an unhappy life while lugging emotional baggage behind you wherever you go

And these are just some examples of a very long list of damage. Clearly, self-limiting beliefs learned during childhood years can shape how we view ourselves and easily contribute to why we hold ourselves back in life.

Overcoming self-limiting beliefs from childhood

'Dwelling on self-limiting childhood beliefs will only perpetual the negative influence that those negative experiences, no doubt often created by unpleasant people, have on us.' Dr Suzi Chen Click To Tweet

If you are currently having a very tight grip on some unpleasant and negative childhood beliefs, it’s time to let them go. Irrespective of how you acquired those negative experiences or from whom you acquired them from, it’s time to focus on how we can get rid of self-limiting childhood beliefs and move forward.

Remember, dwelling on self-limiting childhood beliefs will only perpetual the negative influence that those negative experiences, no doubt often created by unpleasant people, have on us.

So what can we do to overcome self-limiting beliefs from childhood?

1. Understand beliefs are not facts

Just because we believe we can fly doesn’t mean it is true. By the same logic, just because someone says your voice doesn’t matter and you shouldn’t be heard doesn’t mean it is true. So understanding beliefs are simply someone else’s (the emphasis being SOMEONE ELSE) opinions is the first step.

There is really no need to take other people’s opinions as gospel.

2. Work on what you have in control of in your life

It’s true that life is unpredictable. But there will always be elements in our life that we do have control or, at least, have some degree of influence over.

If your childhood wasn’t great, then you should think about what you could do to break that cycle and create a better adult life.

A friend of mine had a very strict upbringing, which really focused on a playing-safe mindset. Knowing this is her default childhood belief, my friend actively seeks out opportunities to experience life. From small items such as camping in the wild to large items such as quitting her corporate job to start a café, she works hard to get out of her default beliefs and focus on those controllable elements in her life.

'It’s okay to want to do better, but it’s not okay wanting to become a perfectionist.' Dr Suzi Chen Click To Tweet

3. Build a strong and positive support network

You are who you friend with.

When you were little, you may have limited influence over who you could be with. But as an adult, you certainly have the power to decide who you would like to befriend or associate with.

Seek out those people who have a positive approach to life and build a strong and genuine friendship with them. They will be your support network catching you when you fall and cheering you on when you are down.

And let’s face it, we will all fall, fail and feel down some point in our life. It is not an if, but when. So having that strong and positive network is a must.

4. Don’t be over-critical of yourself by becoming a perfectionist

Many of us have the perfectionist tendency, which in itself isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I encourage people to hone their perfectionist tendency, because wanting to do well and better is an important attitude for achieving success.

But honing your perfectionist tendency is one thing, not knowing when to stop is another. In other words, it’s okay to want to do better, but it’s not okay wanting to become a perfectionist.

Adopting a healthy wanting-to-do better attitude but not being over-critical of yourself will help you better manage some of self-limiting childhood beliefs.

5. Timing matters

Your life is happening now. Doesn’t matter how much you want or not want to relive your childhood, it is all in the past.

Be careful not to fall into the victim trap. Instead, use your childhood experience, positive or negative, to guide you in creating a better present and future.

6. Build new beliefs

Now you have identified a list of unwanted self-limiting beliefs from your childhood, use it as your new blueprint to build a list of new beliefs.

  • Having a strong voice
  • Dreaming big
  • Shutting the door on those unpleasant people
  • Leaving people’s negativity behind

The list can go on. It’s your list, so make it work for you. After all, it’s your life.


So what were the negative beliefs that you picked up during your childhood that you could seriously get rid of? Share your thoughts with us in the comment below. Together, let’s purge them.


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