QUIT BONKING YOUR HEAD! Four steps that change limiting beliefs

There are Four steps that change limiting beliefs that can move you from being stuck to finding freedom.

He came to live with me after three years of being a world class racer, whose career tragically ended after a broken leg. He was athletic, long, lean and well… a little stupid.

It wasn’t his fault. Up to this point in his life lived in a kennel and most of his interactions with humans had been boys dressed in silk attire who lead him to a track in which to chase a fake rabbit. Yes, a few decades ago I adopted a retired greyhound named Cash.

I was introducing him to his new home and letting him explore. I watched as he wandered over to our large sliding glass doors that lead to the backyard. To my utter horror, he tried to walk right through it! His head smacked into the glass with a hollow thump, and he jumped back and looked up with a“W.T.F.” expression. Apparently, this was his first introduction to the concept of sliding glass doors, but he eventually figured out that just because he could see outside, didn’t mean he could go outside.

Finally, he stopped walking into the glass door, but oddly enough, another problem became an issue: I couldn’t get him to go outside when the door was open. The back yard was to be his designated place to do his “business” when necessary, but getting him to go beyond the invisible barriers was quite a task.

Thus began our morning and evening ritual. I would open the door, call my dog, who would then come but stop short of the doorway. “Come on, Cash, outside,” I said as he sat there looking up at me as if to say, “Ah, yeah, no thanks! My brain might be the size of a walnut, but I’m not going anywhere near that thing.”

I would walk through the door to the outside and say, “Come on. See, it’s ok. Come on!” I said with a high-pitched sing-song voice. And he would sit. I would walk back in and out a few times to no avail.

I’d give him a little tug on his collar, but he was firm, unflinching and unmovable. The first couple of times this happened I had to lift him up and take him outside… Imagine trying to carry 75 pounds of pure anxiety attached to four flailing skinny legs the size of yardsticks, and you can see how ridiculous we looked.

Eventually, I was able to train him to go out if I put his on his leash first. Still, he would alway hesitate for a second or two, sniff the air, make a little hop over the threshold then run around the back yard all excited as if he had finally caught that rabbit.


Like my old dog, we all have experienced from the past that shape our beliefs about what is possible. It can be a challenge to overcome these beliefs because they were likely true at one time.

These beliefs are like a sliding glass door, and they ultimately hold us back. We see other people do the thing we want to do, but fear of bonking our heads holds us back, and we stay stuck on the inside looking out.

These beliefs are like a sliding glass door, and they ultimately hold us back. We see other people do the thing we want to do, but fear of bonking our heads holds us back, and we stay stuck on the inside looking out.

It’s challenging. In fact, as a psychotherapist, much of my interactions with clients is trying to coax them beyond their glass doors. Painful experience from the past can leave us hanging on to lies that ultimately keep us stuck.

I have no doubt that anyone can change their limiting beliefs if they are first acknowledged and then challenged.
Here are a few things I have found that can help us find the keys, so we no longer have to smack our heads against invisible doors.

  1. Write them down: When a belief cements itself in our subconscious, we can’t do anything about it. After all, we can only do something about the things of which we are aware. There is a powerful energy that occurs when we put our limiting beliefs down on paper. The action of writing it down triggers our brain to move the belief from a concept in our subconscious to a particular thought in our higher functioning conscious mind. Writing it down is the first step to unlocking the glass door. Start with this sentence stem: “My limiting belief is ______________.”
  2. Acknowledge what is true: It’s important to acknowledge what is true and what is simply a glass door. When I look at the sentence, I just wrote I ask myself, “I am certain without a doubt that this is true?” If I still tell myself that it is indeed true, then I write a second sentence stem: “I know it’s true because of ____________.” If my reply is something like, “I’ve tried it before, and it didn’t work,” then I’m likely dealing with a glass door that needs to be unlocked and opened first.
  3. Reframe the belief: An important part of opening our glass doors is to reframe the belief. This means taking the belief and turning it around. I find a powerful statement is, “I’m the type of person who ________.” For example, if my limiting belief is, “I can’t lose weight,” I will turn that belief around to, “I’m the type of person who eats healthy.” I might write four or five of these statements. By writing these down, we create new neuropathways in our brain that begin to open the door and set us free.
  4. Take action: The next question to ask myself is, “What is one small thing I can do right now to challenge my self-defeating belief?” and then I write the answer down and commit to that plan. For example, if I’m struggling to lose weight I might decide that one small thing I can do right now is to make my next meal a healthy meal. Again, when I write it down, I’m moving it from a concept in my brain to a reality that I experience.

Beliefs are powerful. But just because we have a belief doesn’t make it true.  Tony Robbins said“Many people are passionate, but because of their limiting beliefs about who they are and what they can do, they never take actions that could make their dream a reality.” My own empowering belief is that oOnce we experience opening the glass door and walking through, we create a new exciting story and finally catch our rabbits.

If you could change one limiting belief what would it be?

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