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Limiting Beliefs – What are they and how do they manifest?

In my past post, I wrote about why our beliefs literally create our reality (If you haven, read it!). Therefore, it’s of utmost importance to discover what we believe. To leave the reactive loop and wake up to Free Will and our true Self.

Once you follow the process outlined here, you start discovering your wrong (default illusionary) input: your Set A of messages (unconscious believes and programs) to your Subconscious Mind. Which creates your reality if you dont consciously intervene. This process leads you to dig out your underlying  beliefs, which always come back to 12 fundamental limiting beliefs, which you cannot distill further down. (Please comment if you find more, I have not so far).

Let’s explore what they are, where they come from and how they manifest. To become even more objective and stop being a victim of unconscious patterns and programs (= product of the “system”, where you got your programs from in the first hand. You can read more here).

12 fundamental limiting beliefs

Note: This list is based on the work of William Whitecloud (an intuitive counsellor and Creative Development trainer). Which I find to be complete, comprehensive and coherent. As always don’t believe me or anyone, be open (neither naive nor overly critical), build your hypothesis, gather information, test and evaluate yourself.


  • Origin: From mother. Unfulfilled or unmet sense of nurturing (e.g. breast feeding), which teaches lack of worth.
  • Occurrence: Most frequent belief.
  • Expression: Saint, martyr, drama queen, testers of their worth.
  • Feelings: Sadness
  • Searching: Self love, harmony, belonging and approval.
  • Compensating Strategies: Seeking love / approval / harmony / belonging, but unconsciously sabotaging the expression of it to confirm their unworthiness. Testing boundaries (“When will people reject me?”), setting (too) high standards (to prove their unworthiness) or leaving situations before their unworthiness is discovered. Being super sensitive and doing what they think others perceive as worthy (because they are not).


  • Origin: From father. The child feels not acknowledged (“Dad, look at me!”).
  • Occurrence: Very common.
  • Expression: High / over achievers, degree & title collectors, personal growth junkies, perpetual student.
  • Feelings: Emptiness
  • Searching: Wholeness.
  • Compensating Strategies: Compulsive trying & hard working (easy is suspect) to achieve success and prove they are enough (though never good enough), eventually burning out. Feeling obligated to always do more (“I should do this, then I’ll” ) and continuously improve (“enough is never enough”). Living in the future, feeling good but never good enough.


  • Origin: From mother. Lack of feminine validation.
  • Occurrence: Fairly common.
  • Expression: Eccentric, hermit (even among people), conformist, pleaser.
  • Searching: Identity – “Who am I?”
  • Compensating Strategies: Want to belong (“Where do I belong?”, “What do I need to do to belong?”) and can often be part of, or initiate a group, club or cult. Prevent being kicked out of a group (because they don’t belong) by either conforming and pleasing (very likeable, and doing things to remain in the group) or being so odd, weird and eccentric (pre-emptive strike) that people don’t know how to react. Being hyperalert towards others (“those are different”).


  • Origin: Neutral
  • Occurrence: Quite common.
  • Expression: Control freak, manipulator, (over)thinker.
  • Feelings: Confused, numb, detached, spaced out, frustration.
  • Searching: Orientation (sanity).
  • Compensating Strategies: Control is often a strategy to support other beliefs, but can also be a fundamental belief. Controlling themselves (limiting thoughts, feelings and actions so they keep control and dont get overwhelmed), others and / or situations. Overthinking, intellectualising, emotionally detached & numb and avoiding risk (vision of negative consequences), seeking rules & strategies (“I should not”, “if I know the rules, I can control”, “if I don’t control myself, I might not…”). Manipulating self (to hold things together) and others through polarising (e.g. with a negative vision) or strategically acting ‘out of control’ to confuse others (“Shit, I’m out of control”) and gain control. Short sightedness.


  • Origin: From father.
  • Occurrence: Very common.
  • Expression: Big tester, cheater, intellectual, later comers
  • Feelings: Unseen, unrecognised, under-valued, violated, betrayed, ripped off, misunderstood.
  • Searching: Viability (sense of future), survival, safety, avoidance of violation.
  • Compensating Strategies: Isolating (“To survive, I have to be separate.”) and closing their heart (“If I open my heart I’ll die”), because they expect others to fail them. Attracting abusive situations or unconsciously setting others up to fail them and confirming their belief and destroying what they want, by either testing them to find out why / where they are untrustworthy (also with longed trustworthy authorities, gurus, teachers) or projecting expectations without communicating them. Very careful, searching predictability, safety, guarantees, rules. May be cheating and dishonest (instead of lying, rather not expressing what they think), often even being open about their belief (“You can’t trust people, you know”).


  • Origin: From father. He saw them e.g. as a little cute girl, but not for who they really were (“My father didn’t see me”). Especially women have this.
  • Searching: Viability (sense of future), survival, safety, avoidance of violation.
  • Feeling: Detached.
  • Compensating Strategies: Not expressing what they truly want, because they are insignificant. Variations as above for “I can’t trust myself”.


  • Origin: From father. “I want recognition from my dad for whats in me. But he expects something from me, before he gives it to me. But I don’t know what it is. Its dangerous for me to not find out. But i dont know what it is. I played tennis – no validation, washed car – no validation… I didnt know what he wanted.”
  • Expression: FOMO, workshop junkies, guru worshiper, poser, can ask 1000x times “I dont get it”.
  • Feelings: Confused, unsure, overwhelmed, over committed, under involved, passionate, bored.
  • Searching: Scope – “How big is the game?”
  • Compensating Strategies: Perceived limited capacities, especially time (“I have no time”), money and mentally (“Im not smart”), unconsciously arranging circumstances exactly to manifest that situation. Relying on / seeking expert advice and gathering more resources (courses, technology, cars, power tools, money etc) assuming that once they get them, the situation changes. Searching for solutions outside them with massive FOMO on something great, which can lead to over excitement, over commitment, overwhelm and then confusion, indecisiveness (“too many options”), under involvement and even sudden boredom. Not walking the talk and making bold claims but than not delivering (proving their incapacity). Hiding behind a shiny charming facade but being distant when it comes to intimacy so nobody realizes their lack of resources.


  • Occurrence: Very common.
  • Expression: Victim, manipulator, conspirer, gossiper. (Creates co-dependancy.)
  • Feelings: Anger
  • Searching: Outward / external results (symbols of power).
  • Compensating Strategies: Unconsciously creating failure (“I don’t have the power to get what I want”) and victimhood (“It’s not fair”) to reconfirm their belief, blaming others (“I can’t do it, it’s not my fault.”) and be saved by the one with the power. Acting and appearing power hungry (though language victim focussed “its not fair”), manipulating and conspiring (“It’s not my fault is it?”) to overpower others (“they have the power”, “I’ve got to get them before they get me”). Chasing symbols of power (E.g. cars, clothes, gold chains), once achieved the game is how to keep them.


  • Origin: From mother. If your expression of what you want (crawl, breast feed, play…) is not convenient to your mother (especially, if the mother has a need to control) and you receive the information: “Dont do that” verbally or energetically. Every time you do something your mother doesn’t want, you lose her energy flow. You learn that in order to keep the energy flowing -> dont do what you want!
  • Expression: Procrastinator. (Different to “Im not capable”.)
  • Searching: Freedom to do / have what one really wants.
  • Compensating Strategies: Appearing, feeling and underachieving less than they are capable of. Sabotaging themselves to act incapable, e.g. by continuously raising goals, eternal preparation or being busy with inessential things, which are irrelevant to the end result. Lacking commitment, lost in (too) many options (lots of ‘coulds’), and avoiding situations, which might test their capacity.


  • Expressions: Perfectionist, procrastinator. (Its a real torment if you believe you need to be perfect, but you are not. Its not “I need to be a perfectionist.” Its “I must in essence be perfect to have or create anything. But Im not”)
  • Searching: Peace, relief and resolution.
  • Compensating Strategies: Believing perfection exists, and is required. Finding flaws in everything, so they can distract from their imperfectness. Destroying things (so nobody sees how imperfect they are), not beginning or delaying actions or never ending preparation, all to not manifest an imperfect outcome (“Because it won’t be perfect, I better don’t start.”). (Can look a lot like “Im not capable”).

THERE IS A “RIGHT WAY” (To do something)”

  • Origin: Neutral.
  • Searching: Predictability.
  • Expression: Dogmatist.
  • Compensating Strategies: “How” something is done is more important not “what” or “whether” it is done. Rigid commitment to methods, systems, beliefs, dogmas and no tolerance of deviations. The ‘wrong’ way (sin obsessed) is used to prove (through self sabotage), the relevance of the ‘right’ way.


  • Origin: Neutral
  • Expression: Fundamentalist, guru. (Similar to “There is a right way” but different: Its not about doing, its there is a way the universe is!)
  • Searching: Certainty, knowledge, a certainty of how to operate, the owner’s manual to life.
  • Compensating Strategies: Convincing, promoting, indoctrinating and manipulating others with their belief of ‘how the world is’, to save ignorant others, or to reconfirm their theory (and ego) by gaining more followers. Seeking knowledge (“after you know everything, you’ll know what to do”) to find (or write) the ‘owners manual of life’ to then be the enlightened one. Reading, studying, teaching, not asking what is the relevance and how do we use it. Giving responsibility of their life to a higher power (God, universe, or any other theory).

Knowing what the underlying beliefs are and how they manifest, enables us to spot them easier and quicker and become conscious of our unconscious behaviour. Enabling us to then consciously access and give the power to the true Set B of messages!

However, it can be tricky to spot ones patterns and beliefs, after all they are ‘normal’ to us – that’s why they form our perception! And it’s difficult to know what we don’t know. That’s where it can be really beneficial to work with a guide or sparring partner to have an outside mirror on one’s belief system and become aware of the reality filter (=shadow self) clouding our view on objective truth! A key part of the ‘Training in Consciousness‘ program!

In this article we explore where these beliefs come from and how they tie into what we perceive as our identity! An important aspect to understand on the way to freedom!

Let’s schedule a free 30 min ‘Discovery Call’ today!