How To Find Your Limiting Beliefs With Just One Word!

Image courtesy of Jan Kroemer

Our limiting beliefs are a problem, not because they are hard to change, but because they are hard to find.

There are many ways to neutralise limiting beliefs quickly and easily with EFT or other techniques.

Unfortunately our limiting beliefs are often unconscious and unquestioned, a part of the fabric of our perceptions, which makes them hard to find.

Other people’s limiting beliefs can be easy to spot because we are on the outside looking in, but our own remain hidden. That’s why there will always be work for good therapists and coaches.

But what are we going to do if there isn’t a therapist or coach available?

Are we doomed to wander ignorant of our own limiting beliefs because we can’t see them?

Fortunately, there is a simple way to bring lots of limiting beliefs into consciousness using just one word.

It’s a simple word, readily available and deeply familiar …


Because is a special word because when it appears in a sentence it is usually followed by a reason.

  • I can’t go out tonight because I am washing my hair
  • I can’t start a new business now because the economy is on its knees.
  • I can’t change jobs because I am too old.

Each time you hear “because” you are going to hear a reason for the statement that comes just before it.

We can use the power of because to bring our “reasons” out into the open.

Before describing how to use because for this, it is worth acknowledging that there are two kinds of reasons that could be uncovered:

Facts are descriptions of reality

I am cold because it is snowing

It is snowing is a description of the environment, people are often cold if it snowing. That’s not a limiting belief that’s a result of our external reality.

Beliefs are descriptions of our ideas about external reality (often confused with facts)

I am alone because nobody wants me

“Nobody wants me” is not a description of reality (even though it may be confused with one). It is a belief, an idea about reality.

The word nobody is a give away. There are more than 6,000,000,000 people on the planet (that’s a lot). It is impossible to know whether one of those six billion people would be interested in them. In a whole lifetime it would not be possible to meet even a tiny fraction of those people to find out. Nevertheless, for this person it may be a convincing idea about reality.

Is a reason a fact or a belief?

Sometimes, it can be difficult to decide if a reason is a fact or a belief. Fortunately there is a simple test: treat it as a belief and work with it. If it is a fact it probably won’t change, if it is a belief it probably will.

So how can we use because to expose our limiting beliefs?

1. Choose a problem

If you are going to uncover limiting beliefs you need a predicament to work with. If limiting beliefs cause difficulties for us which difficulty are we going to investigate.

  • I can’t start a new business
  • I am alone
  • I can’t make enough money
  • Our relationship is struggling

So what is going on in your world that you suspect may be a result of limiting beliefs?

2. Harvest all the possible reasons

Write down a sentence that briefly describes the problem followed by the word because

  • I can’t start a new business because …
  • I am alone because …
  • I can’t make enough money because …
  • My relationship is struggling because …
  • [problem ] because …

Now say your “because” sentence out loud, then write down whatever comes into your head that completes the sentence. Write as fast as you can and without judgement.

Say the “because” sentence again and write down whatever comes into your head this time as fast as you can and without judgements.

Repeat this process as many times as you can, until you run out of sentences, either because you have the feeling that the well has run dry, or you find you are repeating yourself.

Important: It is essential that you put your judging mind to one side for this process. The aim here is to get as many reasons as possible, so don’t evaluate your reasons at this point. Go as quickly as you can – this allows the information to float up from your unconscious without being blocked by the analytical mind.

3. Pick the wheat from the chaff

Now we have a list of reasons we can sort through at our leisure and identify which of the reasons are limiting beliefs and which are just the random chatter of the mind.

Work through your list of because sentences, saying each out loud.

Give the reason a truth score from 0-10 where 0 is false and 10 is true (this is how true it feels, not how true it is logically).

Repeat this process for each of the reasons until you have a list of reasons that have some emotional charge.

Now you have a list of reasons (limiting beliefs) that can be worked on with EFT or whatever belief change method you would like to choose.

How many beliefs can I expect to find?
You could find just one or two beliefs, or you could find 10 or more.

If you do find a lot of limiting beliefs don’t despair, things might not be as bad as they seem.

  • At least you know what to work on: This is big a step forward from having a problem and not knowing what to do with it.
  • The beliefs you uncover are probably related: This is good news, if you make a dent in a big limiting belief there is a strong chance that the other beliefs will be softened automatically. You might only have to work through a few of them systematically to get big reductions in the others.

However many beliefs you find, all you need to do now is change them!

P.S. Two quick and easy EFT based belief change mechanisms are The Belief Flip and Exception Tapping

Update: Webinar Recording

In October 2013 I recorded a webinar about using this process to uncover limiting beliefs.


19 thoughts on “How To Find Your Limiting Beliefs With Just One Word!”

  1. I love this article. One of my favourite words for finding limiting beliefs is “but”. I would do it but I’m too old, too young, too fat etc. etc.

  2. Great Article! As a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist in private practice i find that it is our erroneous beliefs that create our reality. Recognising our core beliefs is one step, we then need to look at the strategies we put in place to maintain these beliefs. After all these beliefs are there to keep us safe (or so we believe). The strategies create the structure in which we live and create the reality that is our everyday life. Once we identify our own strategies we can then look at either adapting them or dismantling them so that they do not have the same level of power over us. This helps us to move on in life in a more balanced and open way. Shifting the power from these beliefs is the key. Using EFT, is one way of doing this, using hypno-psychotherapy is another and connecting with the inner knowing (intuition) is another.

  3. Hi Andy – Thank you for this, it’s really useful. I am an EFT and Matrix practitioner and I am running a group this week to teach them about how to use EFT to over come their beliefs and I was just thinking of a way I can get 25 people to uncover their core beliefs and teach them how to tap on them – all in under 2 hours! You have made my job very easy! It’s a powerful way of doing it because it focuses the mind to really look at the bigger picture and sort out reality from the belief. Cheers! Sara

  4. Feelings are not facts! Great article I am going to do try this technique out first thing in the morning. I am always looking for interesting new practices to add to my daily mindset work and to use in helping others break through self created barriers and achieve everything they have ever wanted in life! This is a gem!

  5. Great article! I have some questions about them which i hope you can answer.

    Let us say that i have this limiting belief: ” i am not rich because i am not from a rich familiy”.

    1- When i do the tapping, do i say the whole sentence, like “even though i am not rich because i am not from a rich family, i love myself”? Or do i just say the because sentence, like “even though i am not from a rich family, i love myself”?

    2- When i use the exeption tapping for a case like this, how do i do it? Do i say “i am not from a rich family, except when i am”? But then i would be lying because i really am not from a rich family. So what do i say in these cases?

    3- Does it have to be “except when…” or can i say “except that…”.

    4- Instead of “exept when”, can i say “but”? For example “i am poor, but i am not”?

    • Glad you enjoyed the article.

      And thanks for the questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.

      This particular statement is a quite tricky.

      First of all “I am not rich because I am not from a rich family” is expressed as a double negative. If I am not rich what am I? If I am not from a rich family what kind of family am I from? – there are a lot possibilities.

      Point 1. If we take out the negatives, is it true to say “I am poor because I am from a poor family?” (or something like that). If that statement has a charge it might be well worth tapping on that. If I feel an emotional charge on “I am poor” then it is worth tapping on that sentence by itself, if there is a charge on I am from a poor family it is worth tapping on that as well, then it might be worth tapping on both parts of the sentence “I am poor because I am from a poor family”.

      Point 2. I would not use exception tapping for this kind of belief. Exception tapping is more for internal states – I am selfish, except when I am not. Both being selfish and kind are internal states. If I say “I am tall except when I am short” makes no sense for me because I’m tall all the time (as you point out). You could tap for “I feel poor, except when I don’t” because our feelings ebb and flow.

      The exception tapping is phrased as “except when” to make it clear that there are times when the first part of the sentence is true and their are times when the second part of the sentence is true – both sides of the statement are true at different times. If you say “except that” rather than “except when” you deny the first part of the sentence. For example “I am selfish except that I am kind” the second part of the sentence contradicts the first part and you will be ‘lying’ about how you feel. The same problem occurs when you say “I am poor, but I am not” – your mind will react when you deny the truth, if you say “I am poor, except when I am not” both parts of the statement are true and can be accepted.

      Finally, “I am poor because I am from a poor family” might not be the most important belief holding you back. People from poor families go on to be rich, people from rich families end up poor. If you want more money it’s probably more important to think about what you are doing or not doing than where you are from.

      I hope that all makes sense and helps.


      • Thank you so much for such great answers! appreciate it! I see that you use the phrase “emotional charge” often. Can you please explain what it means.

        Regarding the last part of your answer, i totally agree that it is not a requirement to be from a rich family in order to get rich, but i understand that logically, but not emotionally. That is why it might be a beliefe that holds me back. Because i allways heard in my childhood that you can not be rich if you are from a poor family.

        Again, thanks alot for your answers.



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