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Self-Limiting Thoughts Will Keep You Imprisoned

Audrey's passion for connecting with nature is magnified in her self-help writings and poetry.

What Is Self-Limiting Thinking?

Our thoughts dictate, to a large degree, our successes in life. Even feelings such as confidence begin with a thought.

Thoughts trigger action. I wish I had a dollar (inflation), for the number of times one of my own thoughts took me from a nice, comfortable position to one of immediate action. This usually occurs when I decide to lay down and rest for a minute. Just about the time my body totally relaxes, my mind will decide to get creative and give me a good idea. Because I fear I will lose this quick bit of genius, I take immediate action, get up and just do it.

Acting upon our thoughts immediately, instead of placing them aside for later, gives us security. Now, of course, this is not always an option. However, writing the thought or idea down is a good thing to do, otherwise, you risk the possibility of losing that idea forever.

I have even been known to pull off the freeway when driving, to be able to quickly note a thought that I don't want to forget. Even the great composer, Ludwig Van Beethoven, was famous for always taking a notepad and pen with him when walking through the woods. He never wanted to risk losing a musical thought or theme. Not taking action on our thoughts is one way we limit our thinking. We seldom look at it this way, but it's true all the same.

Negative thoughts are the biggest culprits for limiting our thinking. Most of us realize this, and yet it has become a habit and a "comfortable" part of our thinking. Negative thinking can be so ingrained that we don't even realize we are negative. It's kind of like living so long with pain that we become immune to the pain until it is gone. Then, we realize how much pain we have been in.

So, how do we begin to make a change in our thought process and inner dialogue?

Positive Self Talk Empowers Us

Empowerment is the process  of increasing the capacity of individuals to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes.

Empowerment is the process of increasing the capacity of individuals to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes.


I love the word, empowerment. It suggests a positive, can-do feeling within me. We can empower ourselves, and it begins with self-talk. I like to call it my "inner-dialogue." Bits and pieces of this self-talk, or inner-dialogue, can be negative, self-limiting, and even at times destructive. We witness the actions of negative thinking every single day through the media as well as other sources.

Negative thinking imprisons us. It leaves us feeling helpless, and at times, a victim. It can cause us to take the wrong "fork in the road," and we get lost on our journey through life. Negative thoughts are limiting thoughts which are mostly based on fear and become habit-forming. But the good news is, habits can be broken and replaced with positive, progressive, and empowering ones. It all begins with re-wording your self-talk and replacing negative, self-limiting thoughts with good, positive ones.

"You will become on the outside, what you believe on the inside."

— John C. Maxwell

Stop Dumping Garbage into Your Mind

Each of us is the master of our own mind. We choose our thoughts whether they are good, bad or indifferent. I make this point very clear to my vocal students with pitch problems. Reminding them that "whatever they think of, pitch-wise, they will sing." When the singer is trained, repeatedly and consistently, to listen to a tone and sing it, the repetition seals the memory of the tone into the mind. The vocalist then owns that tone forever.

And this also works wonders for bringing about change in our thinking. We no longer have to be a prisoner of our own negative and self-limiting thoughts. It is how we think that gets us to the last few feet of the finish line. It just takes a simple thought which gives us the strength to resist temptation.

We respond to our thoughts constantly. Stop dumping garbage into your mind. Be selective and be powerful. You alone are responsible for feeding your brain a diet of nutritious, inspiring and motivating thinking.

The petty struggles of daily life will simply and not have the same significance they once had. The winds of opportunity will emerge as you change your way of thinking.

Replace the Following Negative Thoughts with These Positive Thoughts

Use positive thoughts daily by writing them down. Hang positive thoughts all around your house where you will see them.

Negative ThinkingPositive Thinking

I'm not worth anything

I'm a valuable person

I make so many mistakes

I do some things very well

I don't deserve to have a good life

I deserve to be healthy and happy

I'm just plain stupid

I'm smart

I'm stressed out

My mind is calm

I'm in a bad mood

I radiate love and happiness

No one loves me

I am surrounded by love

My life sucks

Everything is getting better everyday

Six Tips for Changing Your Thinking

How do we become masters of our thoughts? Do we really have any control over our constant thinking? I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Our thoughts are the only thing we do have control over. By paying attention to what you're thinking, you can begin to change your thoughts and change your life.

  • When your thoughts turn you into a "green-eyed monster," instead of feeling jealous, think love.
  • At times we all feel limited to a certain degree. Remind yourself that you are destined to do great things.
  • Create positive affirmations throughout the day. Affirmations, both negative and positive, impact the neurological functioning of the brain.
  • Think gratitude. Counting your blessings is one sure way of erasing negative thinking.
  • Avoid being judgemental of others as well as yourself.
  • Focus on changing yourself instead of the world.

Changing our thinking by controlling our thoughts takes practice. Whenever I find myself thinking negative, especially about myself, I yell "Stop!" By doing this, I'm interrupting my state.

The first stage of changing your destructive thinking is to recognize that you have a problem. You can't change what you don't acknowledge.

You can never change what you tolerate. As you change your thinking, you'll be changing your life for the better. This is how you become a better person. One of the best ways to improve our self image is with our words. Words are like seeds. They have creative power.

Take time each day to declare "I am creative. I am talented. I am wise. I am healthy." Allow these words to permeate your heart and mind.

Feeling A Bit Sorry For Your Self?

Final Thoughts About Your Belief System

Thomas Edison said, "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves". Isn't this great? I don't know about you, but I want to astonish myself. How do we begin to do this? Where do we start?

First, we must look beyond what is and see what could be. Are you living up to your real potential? I can guarantee that you aren't, if you don't even believe in your potential. I read something once that really struck me, written by Charles Schulz, "Life is a ten-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use."

Believing in yourself is the foundation on which success is built. You absolutely do not need anyone's stamp of approval. You are all that you need. You are able, powerful, talented, wise, confident and determined. Remind yourself daily lest you forget for even one second. And if you still do not believe in yourself then remind yourself 3 times a day, 10 times a day, however many times it takes. You must believe in yourself.

Commit to something other than yourself and greater than yourself, for this is the true mark of virtue and an infinite source of personal fulfillment

"Limited thinking brings limited results."

— Audrey Kerr Hunt

My Favorite Video: View It and Experience Change

How Self-Limiting Are You?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Audrey Hunt


Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 27, 2013:

Hi Scarlett - Thank you so much! Really love that you're here. ~ Audrey

Scarlett Rain from Bakersfield on July 26, 2013:

I love this. You're a great writer and this is very insightful (: .

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on April 06, 2013:

KT Banks - Ha, ha! Love your humor. So glad to see you here and to read your great comments. Appreciate the vote up and across!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on April 06, 2013:

TTombs08 - You are so funny! With a wife like you, your hubby better learn this message quick. :) And if stapling doesn't work, there's always duct tape.

Thank you for voting up and more.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on April 06, 2013:

Hello RealHousewife - You are positively right on the money! Negativity sucks the energy right out and accomplishes nothing. Your "healthy" attitude is reflected in your incredible hubs. You are a brilliant, shining light. Thanks and hugs!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on April 06, 2013:

rahul0324 - Excellent clarification about thoughts and limitations. Thank you very much!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on April 06, 2013:

Vellur - Hello and thank you for being here. I'm so pleased that you find my hub inspiring and voted up!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on April 06, 2013:

homesteadbound - How marvelous to see you Cindy! Thanks so very much for sharing these marvelous comments. You are so right when you write that "we are capable of so much." That dark, negative self talk that you mention is always lurking right around the corner and ready to rain on our parade. But - only if we allow it to. Thanks my dear and precious friend. Hugs!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on April 06, 2013:

CloudExplorer - You have made my day. Your wisdom shines through your comments. I admire your attitude and self-control. Meditation is so healing, as you have discovered. And I like the fact that you limit "external forms of medium." Way too much negativity. You are to be commended for you have overcome your extended environment. I thank you for the vote and the generous sharing. Hugs!

Ryem from Maryland on September 06, 2012:

This is a very interesting article. This provides motivation. I'm glad I read it. : )

newusedcarssacram from Sacramento, CA, U.S.A on September 04, 2012:

Agreed...but I believe, our priorities and needs change our thinking to some extent. I don't know whether you will agree or not but anyways...nice hub...up!

deergha from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!! on September 03, 2012:

Very good job done. Its really a very encouraging hub.

Votes up and sharing

nenytridiana from Probolinggo - Jawa Timur - Indonesia on September 03, 2012:

I like to share this with my friends. Thank you vocalcoach!

Tonette Fornillos from The City of Generals on July 22, 2012:

Action right away is very positive. I agree. But sometimes I become a prisoner of limited thoughts, you're right. I like this article. Such a big help in my quest to pursue and be determined with attainable goals. I voted up!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 07, 2012:

iamaudraleigh - I think we all put certain limitaions on ourselves. Knowing that I am the "Master of my Mind" is so very empowering. Pushing fears aside and realizing that fear is self-limiting and only exists in our minds opens the door for all kinds of possibilities and growth.

Your comments mean everything to me. Thank you my friend!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on June 15, 2012:

billybuc - Thanks my friend. You are so blessed to be working with your wife Bev and giving her the support and affirmations that she needs. It isn't easy but can't think of anyone more qualified than you to help her. Blessings to you!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on June 06, 2012:

Dolores Monet - Hi there. It really does seem almost unreal that we can become comfortable with negative thoughts. And as you have confirmed - it is sadly true. More than we choose to admit. I'm glad you found my hub well-written and that you like it. I apologize for the long delay in responding to your wonderful comments.

Somehow it was missed. You have added more "light" to this hub and I thank you!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on June 05, 2012:

randslam - You have given me some food for thought which I will "chew on" when writing motivational articles. I have read your last paragraph several times. If good writing stems from the writer having gone through hell and being miserable, I more than qualify. I will spare you my life story but mention that my life began with cruel abuse which left me with enough scars to try marriage several times with the hope of finding what it feels like to be loved.

The cruelest of tricks my life has handed to me was the death of my 42 yr old son who single handedly nurtured and loved 4 children. Talk about being "imprisoned."

I have made and lost enough money to raise and support my own three children totally by myself.

I have always picked myself up and started again with a surplus of positivity. I know first hand how powerful a positive attitude is. My dear father was my teacher and example of never giving up and pressing on.

Well - now you've done it. :-) Never disturb a sleeping tiger.

I appreciate you for taking time to share your thoughts.

Have you ruffled my feathers? I'm a pisces, a woman ready to defend her position. I will wait for your answer.

KT Banks from Texas on June 05, 2012:

Great, now I have guilt! LOL I did read this hub yesterday, and then got distracted by my husband before I could make any comments.

This hub is great. So relevant in today's society, and lessons that may seem easy to see, yet I know for a fact that we don't always realize our inner dialogue. I still catch myself, but at least now I try to change it.

Thanks for sharing this with us :)

Voted UP and across.

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on June 05, 2012:

This is great. I'm printing this out and stapling it to the husband's forehead! Voted up and more. :)

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on June 05, 2012:

Vocalcoach - you really find the best gems in life and share them. Negative thoughts just make us focus on the negative parts of live. I do not like getting sucked into that dust bowl. It is nothing but unproductive and backpeddling for little good. I prefer to only give my attention to thoughts that are positive - it just makes me feel better to do something productive or just be happy! lol

I love the message as always, and the video should be seen by all!

Jessee R from Gurgaon, India on June 05, 2012:

Thoughts are the only reason for the limitations endeared by a man.

The word " Thoughts" is such an infinite phenomenon.. It brings to mind... so many things.. abstract and material..

Great hub!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 05, 2012:

A positivly inspiring hub. Voted up.

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on June 04, 2012:

What an amazing and profound hub! There are so many golden nuggets in your words that we could all benefit from. I really do believe that we can amaze ourselves. After seeing something that I have recently accomplished, I often have people ask me various questions, and my answer is usually that I just tried it. I think we are capable of so much. Now I really have to work on the negative self talk that was instilled in me while I was growing up. Great job, Audrey - as usual!

Mike Pugh from New York City on June 04, 2012:

Hey there Vocal Coach, yes indeed we are the generators of great thoughts ans also our worst enemies when it comes to self destructive thought patterns. Many of which are inserted by external forms of medium, television, media, radio, news, etc.......

This is why I limit such external apparatus so that I can clear my minds out pathways, and allow positive energy from the universe to storm in as soon as I awake into each bright new day. I have also learned to utilize meditation to heal myself from mental scars and deep wounds I've received as a child when I was truly defenseless in a largely negative environment where I grew up at, as well as a noisy one at home.

This hub is sensational at pointing out the definitive underlining causes of such mental instabilities many people suffer from today.

Voted up and getting shared in many ways I can.

iamaudraleigh on June 04, 2012:

I think you have written one of the most poigniant pieces I have ever written on here!

I want to take your words (affirmations) and post them on my wall! You have great info I can use to guide me through life! Voted up, saved, and shared!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 04, 2012:

I am working with the love of my life, Bev, on this very subject. Old habits and thoughts and beliefs at times cripple her and it's going to take some work. It should come as no surprise that I think this hub is vitally important. Great job Audrey!

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on September 30, 2011:

HI, vocalcoach - voted up and tweeted. I've read life affirming hubs but yours is so well written, so sensible as well as beautiful. You point that we can become comfortable with negative thoughts. It sounds so stupid. How can we be comfortable in unhappiness, but it is true.

Andrea Woolf on August 27, 2011:

What a great post on the power of positive thinking! I love your point that when we are a few feet from our goal, it is the thoughts we think the determine whether we will finish or not, or how we finish. I wholeheartedly agree!

I appreciate the depth and heart of what you have written here. You have obviously given this subject a lot of thought and it was great that you are sharing your knowledge with others. You are truly making a difference in the world. Keep doing what you are doing!

To your magnificence!

Andrea Woolf

Founder, Ignite Your Life Book

Co-Founder, Wake Up Abundant


Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 19, 2011:

frugalfamily - Our thoughts really are the only thing we have contol over. This is where our actions are born. And thank you for your hubs. I enjoy them all so much!

Rand Zacharias from Vernon, British Columbia on July 19, 2011:

I can appreciate your positive comments and quotes, from many leaders in the field, vocalcoach.

It is a world where constructive behaviors and positive news seem rare--if evident at all--but with that being said the importance of bearing an optimistic outlook is, and always will be, honey for soul--and health to the positive thinker.

I did find the video from "The Secret" corporation a little too sweet, but how much honey can one fly ingest? Moderation in all things is a cliché with more truth than most, haha.

I thank you for your kind words about my writing and look forward to reading more of your work.

Good hub, but a warning, the over-medication of this "happy" persona won't result in great writing--most writers are, and have been, miserable, gone through hell, and yet look to a redemptive light. A somber warning perhaps, but the truth when one studies the historical records of the greats.

Brenda Trott, M.Ed from Houston, TX on July 11, 2011:

Thoughts are things! Thanks for making it clear and sharing the video!

masmasika on July 10, 2011:

Great and very inspiring article.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 08, 2011:

Hyphenbird - I like your phrase "self-pity wagon". :) It gave me a smile for some reaon. Your comments are tremendous and a good addition to this hub. I know for a fact, that other readers value what you have to say by the great comments you receive from your timely hubs. Sending you a hug and wishing you peace and love :)

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 08, 2011:

Denise, my lovely friend - I can barely wait to see how your job interview went today. I can't imagine it going any way but yours! Thank you for your on-going support and for giving me such a high rating. Hugs

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 08, 2011:

neeleshkulkarni - You bring excellent additional comments to my hub. I like reading this. Especially, that we are ultimately responsible for what happens to us in our lives. Thank you and peace and happiness.

Anonymously Inside from Fort McMurray on July 08, 2011:

This is an astounding, fabulous, and truly inspirational hub...your words speak volumes, and I can't tell you how much they hit home for I find it so rather interesting that I came to find it today--as if it were meant to occur..The music too and the video further added the beauty of this hub. Powerful and an exceptional talent you have--made me give thanks this morning, thanks for finding you too!!!! Take care and God Bless, MM...I have lyrics throughout my hubs, maybe you'd like to sing them....

neeleshkulkarni from new delhi on July 07, 2011:

everything is first a thought form before it becomes material reality.all we have are thoughts and they are all that we can change since the material reality changes in response to our thinking.

i periodically reasses what kind of person i want to be and reset my priorities and find that many facets of my behaviour as also peoples responses to me change automatically . since we oursleves are ultimately responsible completely for what happens to us chaning our thoughts is the best way to change our lives

thanks for bringing it alive vc. a topper as usual

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 07, 2011:

mcbirdbks - I am a life-time student of Maxwell. My goal for myself is to become a "power house of positive thinking", in spite of life's ever challenging lessons.

You gave me a nice big laugh with your final comment. Oh, how I love it! Big thanks, my friend :)

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 07, 2011:

Judge - So very pleased that you found inspiration and enjoyed this hub. I know, that for me, whenever a negative thought begins to brew, it is fear based. So I am working on that. It's a process, isn't it? Thank you, my new friend and again, a big welcome to hubpages. How lucky we are - :)

Isabella from Fort Myers, Florida on July 06, 2011:

I enjoyed reading this hub immensely. You touched on some very important things that I have been turning over and over in my head for weeks now. Thanks a lot for the reminder and inspiration!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 06, 2011:

happyboomernurse - I would like to thank you for your comments, particularly "nothing sucks the joy out of our life more than being stuck in the quicksand of negativity." Wonderful words of wisdom and truth. (wish I would have written this) :) So glad you like Maxwell. He is one of my favorite authors. Blessings to you.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 06, 2011:

thoughtforce - I love your story about the woman from India and the positive and loving way the children are directed in the morning. We should all do that. Wonderful! Thank you tina, for sharing this with all of us. Blessings and joy to you, dear lady.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on July 05, 2011:

I thought I recognized this name as an author John C. Maxwell. Turns out he is a powerhouse of positive thinking. If you are a product of his school of thought then he is 100 percent right.

Terrific Hub.

"You will become on the outside, what you believe on the inside." I'm not so sure about this, or mirrors lie. :)

ahorseback on July 05, 2011:

Vocal Coach , about a year ago I bought a voice activated recorder and use it to remember lines , ideas , and rhymes that work into my head all day! I spend way too much time in my head!.....awesome inspiration .....:-}

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 05, 2011:

timorous - Negative thinking is a learned process, and can be unlearned or at least replaced with positive, empowering thoughts. I like your comments about letting go of the past and pressing forward. Excellent. Thank you, my friend for your support. :) vocalcoach

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on July 05, 2011:

Beautiful, Audrey. I love your quote: "Limited thinking brings limited results." So, true. And, the video was very inspirational. I will review this before my job interview this coming Friday.

Awesome-voted up.

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on July 05, 2011:

You have a very inspirational Hub here. We do have a choice and should look for ways to be positive and not negative. It is a path of self victimization. Every person has so much potential and is worth every treasure. After all we are so valuable to God that His Son died for us. Wow. Now that gets me off the self pity bandwagon.

Thanks for this Hub. I know it will help a lot of people.

Tim Nichol from Me to You on July 05, 2011:

I really like this pep talk, vocalcoach. We all have to learn to not buy into our negative thoughts if at all if possible. We must realize...everything we experience is just a small slice of life at any given moment. There's no point in giving it any more importance than it deserves (which isn't much). The past just passed. Let it go.

Once you realize there's nothing you can do to change the past, you can push full steam ahead with the present and the future.

You're so right. There's absolutely no limit to what we can achieve, if we think we can. Of course, we need to realize where our individual strengths lie, initially. But you never know what hidden talents you may have. Go ahead, embarrass yourself. Don't let anyone tell you any different.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on July 05, 2011:

Love the quote by Author, John C. Maxwell ~ "You will become on the outside, what you believe on the inside."

I agree that it is vitally important to become aware of our thoughts and choose to think and act on ones that empower us.

The video at the end of this hub was really uplifting and that's how we feel when we spend our day in gratitude and a positive frame of mind.

It can be challenging to do this when tough situations occur, but nothing sucks the joy out of our life more than being stuck in the quicksand of negativity.

Am rating this hub up, useful, awesome and beautiful.

Christina Lornemark from Sweden on July 05, 2011:

I think we all are prisoners to some extent because of our own thoughts. "You are all that you need" I love that sentence!

I currently work with a woman native from India and she told us during a coffee break that in her family in India the children was learned to sit at the bedside the first thing they did in the morning and just look at their hands and at the same time loudly say; "you are good, you can do marvelous things today".

I like the thought of that and think it will do a big change if we learned our children something like that. It is much more easy to like yourself if we learn it as children. So I will start doing it now and use your hub as guidance!

Thanks for a fantastic inspiration!


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