If you’re looking for love, and haven’t found it yet, there’s probably something in your own mindset that’s holding you back.
These are self-limiting beliefs… assumptions you’re making and thoughts you’ve accepted or taken for granted that are getting in your own way.
To give you the best chance of love success, try doing the exercise below on how to identify limiting beliefs about love and relationships (scroll down to skip to the exercise).
How do you know if you have limiting beliefs?
EVERYONE has beliefs that don’t serve them.
Sometimes people are well aware of a self-limiting belief. For example, you might know very well that you have a belief that because you’re unattractive no one will want you. (In another article we’ll look at how to challenge and overcome these beliefs that don’t serve you.)
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you’re conscious of one belief that there aren’t others in there getting in the way too!
More often, limiting beliefs are hidden. They may be below the surface of your consciousness, and something you’re taking for granted without even questioning.
I have found that identifying limiting beliefs is like peeling back layers of an onion. I identify and deal with one, and lo and behold, another one is still holding me back in some way!
Identifying limiting beliefs is not something you do once and then you’re done. This is a lifelong activity, that will get smoother with practice and awareness.
The beliefs you have will be unique to you. They’re based on your personal history, life experiences, the cultural messages you’ve been exposed to and the assumptions you’ve made through the journey of life.
Identifying YOUR limiting beliefs about love and relationships
Now it’s your turn to write your own list of self-limiting beliefs.
Allow half an hour of undisturbed, private time.
Get a pen and paper, and sit down somewhere comfortable.
Allow yourself to settle into the moment. If you meditate, you might like to do that first.
Take 5 deep breaths to help you tune into your body and let go of tension. Breathe in slowly (for a count of 6, if you like to count), and breathe out for approximately twice as long as you took for the in-breath.
Ask yourself: What do I believe about love and relationships that is holding me back?
Then write what comes to you in a free-flowing stream of consciousness kind of way.
Tip: Try replacing the words 'do' and 'is' with 'might'. As in 'What MIGHT I believe about love and relationships that MIGHT be holding me back?'. This is helpful when people get stuck on trying to work out whether they really do hold a certain belief. For the point of this exercise we don't care if everything you write down really is a belief you hold. Write down everything you MIGHT believe and your list will be more likely to catch the ones you do, in fact, believe. The value here is in trying to bring up the hidden beliefs that you're not aware of, not in having an accurate list.
Part of the value of this exercise is to get you to tune into yourself. The goal is to pay attention to your own thoughts and feelings. THAT (tuning into yourself) is more important than what you actually come up with and write down.
However, still do the actual writing down part!!
Once you write down one belief, it helps underlying beliefs bubble up to your consciousness so you can become more aware of the deeper layers.
There is no right or wrong here. A longer list is not better or worse. However, take your time on the exercise. Give yourself a good chance of identifying those sneaky beliefs that are lying below the surface of your current awareness.
There are some beliefs that you have that others don’t and some beliefs that others have that you don’t. Don’t worry about analysing what you’re writing down.
Don’t worry about whether it’s actually true for you or not. This is a brainstorm. Just get all the possibilities down on the page to get the thoughts flowing and out of your mind.
If you write down a thought/belief that feels particularly true or meaningful for you, then put an asterisk next to it or underline it.
If you run into a mental blank and want something to spark your memory, read the list above of examples of limiting beliefs about love and relationships. If one of them seems familiar to you, write it down on your own list. If one of them reminds you of something similar that might apply to you, write THAT down on your own list.
List of limiting beliefs about love and relationships
- Real love is a fairy tale and doesn’t exist in real life.
- I am not good enough to be loved.
- I’m not attractive enough to be loved.
- I’m boring.
- No one likes me.
- You can’t trust men.
- Women are crazy.
- I’m not good with men/women.
- The one’s I like, don’t like me back.
- I can’t find the One.
- I don’t know what to look for in a mate.
- I’ve never seen a successful relationship, so it’s not something realistic.
- Someone amazing enough to get my approval probably won’t like me in return.
- No-one I meet is good enough.
- I’m not ready to let go of my last relationship.
- I’m scared of being rejected.
- I don’t like dating.
- I’m too fussy so I can’t find a potential mate I like.
- My parent’s relationship was miserable so I don’t have a good role model of how to have a happy relationship myself.
- My accent puts people off.
- I don’t deserve love.
- I’m not a good boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife.
- I’m too emotional.
- I’m too old/fat/jaded/ugly/pale/short/tall/skinny/young/boring/cynical.
- No one gets me.
- Love is rare.
- There must be something wrong with me.
- I have to stay with … *a person who’s not good for you*, because I might not get another chance at love.
- I don’t want to get hurt.
- I don’t trust men/women.
- I’m not lucky with love.
- I’m not good at relationships.
- Relationships haven’t worked for me in the past, so I’ve kind of lost hope about one working in the future.
What do you do with your list of limiting beliefs?
The first step of this process is becoming aware of your beliefs.
Sometimes awareness itself is enough to shift things for you.
Awareness might spark insights that you never saw before and this can, itself, change your future thinking and behaviour. Sometimes it happens instantly, and sometimes gradually – as you become increasingly aware of all the ways this belief is coming up in your life.
For some beliefs, identifying them alone is not enough. I’ll write another article soon on how to deal with these, so stay tuned…
Meanwhile, if you’re super keen to take the net step, now that you’ve learned how to identify limiting beliefs about love and relationships, I’d suggest reading this book.