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How to Stop Limiting Your Potential: 3 Eye-Opening Insights That Can Change Your Life

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Have you ever seen one of those videos on social media showing how you’ve been using certain products, or eating certain foods, wrong your whole life? And you say to yourself, “Wow! I never thought of doing it that way!” That’s a little like how I felt when my personal growth mentor (and future husband) gave me some insights on the life challenges I was struggling to resolve when we were first dating.

These insights turned my whole world upside down! I couldn’t unlearn what I had learned, so I had to change my old ways of functioning if I wanted to move forward. It was hard, but it was worth it.

Here are the 3 life changing insights I learned that can change your life:

1. If what you think, what you do, and what you say don’t line up, it can hurt your self-esteem and your credibility.

I said and did things that represented the person I wanted to be on the outside, while I hid the things I wasn’t proud of and lied just to keep on people’s good sides. My mentor figured this dishonest behavior probably was connected to the low self-esteem I struggled with (which affected everything in my life), and he was right!

Besides hurting how I felt about myself, he pointed out, I could lose my friends’ or family’s trust the second anyone found out I wasn’t being genuine. He said if you want people to be able to count on you, you need to actually be the person you present yourself to be.

I practiced paying attention and catching myself every time I was being dishonest. It can take a lot of work, but if you get your values/beliefs, words, and actions in alignment, the person people see is the person that you are. Some will like it and others will hate it, but those who stick with you are the ones who appreciate, respect, and admire you for who you are not for the image of yourself you present.

You will feel better about who you are, your relationships will benefit because people will trust you, and your word will actually mean something.

“Hiding how you really feel and trying to make everyone else happy doesn’t make you nice, it just makes you a liar.”  – Jenny O’Connell

2. What you believe about yourself dictates what you choose to say; but what you choose to say also dictates what you believe about yourself.

Another way I was unknowingly limiting myself was through my language. It seems like common sense that what you say aloud reflects what you believe, but what surprised me was that you can also reprogram your beliefs with what you chose to say.  

Say “I need this” enough times when the truth is you want it, and you will begin to believe that you need it. Limiting words are things like can’t, always, never, and need. Non-limiting words/phrases are things like seems like, feels like, and right now.

For example, the statement “I can’t handle my life – it’s too hectic” makes you feel hopeless and disempowered, versus “I’m struggling to handle my life right now,” which reminds you that what you’re going through is temporary, and there’s hope for change in the future. The truth isn’t that you “can’t do it,” the truth is that you’re having a hard time “right now.

Whether you use limiting words/phrases about your abilities aloud or to yourself, you’re teaching your mind what to believe. Instead of using limiting words and phrases that aren’t true, try switching to more accurate and encouraging ones. Such as seems like, feels like, or right now.

3. You don’t need to control how you feel – you need to control how you act.

Trying to control your emotions is like trying to control waves in the ocean, you just can’t do it. And to make things worse, the harder you try the more frustrated you get – adding to your emotional overload. It wastes a ton of energy and gets you nowhere.

Instead, try to let your feelings be; realize that they will pass and focus on what you can control – what you say and how you act. You can feel angry but still talk calmly with the person you’re angry with. You can feel hurt but not treat the person you feel hurt by coldly or rudely.

Not being aware of the separation between feelings and actions can get you into a ton of trouble. I used to believe that if my feelings were strong enough I couldn’t help but act on them. Absolutely not true! This got me into trouble bigtime when I was younger.

I therefore believed that in order to act how I wanted I had to control how I felt. Learning that this too was complete B.S. changed my life. I no longer felt I had to put energy into doing something that was impossible.

“Heroes and cowards feel exactly the same  fear. Heroes just react to it differently.”  – Cus D’Amato 

Wondering how to put these insights into action?

Start by growing your self awareness – this is the beginning of all growth. If you pay attention to yourself, you can align your values, words, and actions for a better relationship with yourself and with others, help make your mind work for you instead of against you, and handle overwhelming emotions without doing things you’ll regret later.

What insights have you learned that helped you see the world and/or yourself in a new and positive light? Let us know in the comments!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Mandie Bigelow is a Wellness and Life Satisfaction Coach and writer. She runs a blog discussing mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, human potential, and relationships for those who want to break through any limitations holding them back and live a life of joy, passion, and meaning. In her spare time, Mandie enjoys playing Spikeball (roundnet), training in martial arts, and hanging out with her husband and two cats.

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