Getting Unstuck: 4 Steps to Let Go of Limiting Beliefs

The only limits you have are the limits you believe. ― Wayne Dyer

A limiting belief is an unconscious thought through which we interpret the world. You can think of it as an invisible veil that distorts all our perceptions. Most of us have one or more of these filters. Usually they become part of us already during childhood.
For example a common unconscious belief is There is something wrong with me. One can react to it by becoming very sensitive to critics or by developing people pleasing tendencies. Another one is I am a failure, that may cause someone to immediately give up as soon as a difficulty arises. Other examples are I cannot trust anyone, There is not enough for everybody’s needs, I am going to miss out on something, I do not have enough time, I will never be happy, I do not deserve to be loved, I am too old, and so on.

When we are not aware of having a limiting belief, we are completely at its mercy, reacting to any external situation that brings up the thought. This way we keep reinforcing it over and over, becoming more and more imprisoned. How can we free ourselves? 🙂

Recognize the Limit Belief

As always the first step is becoming aware of it. Taking responsibility for our choices is the first step towards freedom 🙂
Since recognizing a limiting thought can be disturbing, often we would like to immediately get rid of it. Unfortunately most of the times persistence is required, especially if the thought is deep seated in our psyche.

Do Not Judge Yourself When You Feel Triggered

Usually, when the limiting belief keeps coming up, we start judging ourselves for having this thought and for feeling emotionally triggered. When we are in this state of resistance we end up reinforcing the thought, by focusing all our attention on it. Always remember that what we resist persists. A wiser approach is accepting it and giving it space to be there, without getting lost in reaction.

Be Patient

Even if the thought will keep coming up over and over, if you are aware enough, you will notice that your emotional reaction will get weaker and weaker 🙂 For example, at the very beginning you might become aware that you reacted to a limiting belief after it happened. With time you will start observing yourself while you are reacting. Then suddenly one day you will be present enough to be able to pause and choose not to react, responding instead. This is where true freedom resides 🙂
This process can take some time. To get beyond a limiting belief it is absolutely important to not give up when you do not get immediate results.


Eventually what used to cause you so much distress will not bother you anymore. You will then be free to experience reality without any veil 🙂

The poem Autobiography in Five Short Chapters, written by Portia Nelson, describes brilliantly these steps 🙂

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5
I walk down another street.

— Portia Nelson

To help you recognize and overcome your limiting beliefs, in the post How 4 Powerful Questions Can Set You Free you can find the description of The Work, a very effective strategy developed by the well known author Byron Katie 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Getting Unstuck: 4 Steps to Let Go of Limiting Beliefs

  1. These are great points, and I totally agree that giving it time, not judging but simply acknowledging how you’re thinking and feeling, go a long way to moving past limiting beliefs. Great post, very inspiring to read when you’re feeling kind of stuck!
    Caz xx


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