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20 Shadow Work Prompts for Limiting Beliefs – Tips + Strategies

Shadow work, a practice grounded in psychology that helps us uncover the hidden, repressed aspects of ourselves, is a great tool for battling our limiting beliefs. These invisible barriers are often the foundation of our deepest insecurities and unexplored potential. 

But confronting them is hard. 

Shadow work is one of the tools we can use to not only uncover our limiting beliefs but work through them, which is what these prompts will focus on.

What Are Limiting Beliefs?

Ever told yourself you’re not good enough?

That’s a limiting belief—a sneaky internal narrative that holds you back. We’ve all got them: “I can’t make it,” “I’m not smart enough,” or “Success doesn’t happen for people like me.”

These aren’t just random thoughts; they’re the echoes of our past.

Think back to when you were a kid.

Did a throwaway comment from a teacher make you believe you’d never excel in math? Or perhaps societal expectations whispered that your dreams were too big for someone from your background. It’s not just about what happened in the sandbox, though.

Our missteps and stumbles along the way, those personal earthquakes, contribute to this complex web of self-doubt and negative core beliefs.

These beliefs are the invisible chains that keep us stuck in place – in places that feel safe or where we “belong” even if there’s a part of us that wants more.

They can turn into self-fulfilling prophecies, shaping our decisions and the very trajectory of our lives. Recognizing them is the first step towards breaking free and reclaiming our potential.

A woman writes in her journal and tries to process her limiting beliefs
shadow work prompts for limiting beliefs

Why Shadow Work is Good for Unpacking Limiting Beliefs

Shadow work helps people overcome limiting beliefs by prompting them to delve into and recognize the unconscious aspects of their personality that they have, perhaps unknowingly, rejected or ignored. 

This deep introspection reveals the roots of negative self-perceptions and irrational fears that form our limiting beliefs. 

By bringing these hidden parts into conscious awareness, you can challenge and reframe them. Think about all the negative, limited beliefs we’ve internalized so much that we just take them at face value. 

“Of course I couldn’t do a triathlon. I’m not an athlete.” 


“I would never submit a pitch for a conference. I’m a terrible public speaker.” 

Shadow work makes you step back and say, “Wait a minute. Where did I learn that from?”

And that’s when the breakthroughs start to happen.

How To Use These Prompts:

I’m about to share a series of shadow work prompts designed to dig deep into those limiting beliefs that have been holding you back.  

With each prompt, write freely, let your guard down, and be brutally honest with yourself. There’s no judgment here. Scribble down whatever surfaces, no matter how raw or unexpected.

Once you’ve poured your thoughts onto the page, take a moment. 

Reflect on them. 

Why do you feel this way? Where did these beliefs come from? Are they truly yours, or borrowed from someone else’s script?

Then, it’s decision time. Which of these beliefs are serving you, and which are just old tapes playing on repeat? You’re in control. You can choose to keep them, tweak them, or let them go.”

It’s a simple process that’s anything but easy. 

Psst… a quick pro tip before you dive in: consider sharing your shadow work discoveries with a therapist. 


Because unpacking all of this stuff can be intense, a professional can help you navigate it all in healthy ways.

When you share your journal entries with a therapist, they’re equipped to guide you through the rough patches. They can spot patterns you might miss and offer strategies to tackle those stubborn limiting beliefs head-on. 

Want to learn more about limiting beliefs before diving in? This is worth a watch:

20 Shadow Work Prompts for Limiting Beliefs:

  • What negative belief about myself comes up most frequently in my day-to-day life?
  • When I think about my goals, what internal voice tells me I can’t achieve them, and what does it say?
  • Recall a time I felt unworthy or not good enough. What triggered this feeling?
  • What qualities do I admire in others that I believe I lack, and why do I think I lack them?
  • When do I tend to be overly critical of myself? Describe the situation and the thoughts that go along with it.
  • What part of myself am I most ashamed of, and how does this shame manifest in my life?
  • Identify a recurring negative pattern in my relationships. What belief about myself does this pattern reflect?
  • Think about a compliment I struggle to accept. Why do I feel uncomfortable receiving it?
  • What is the critical voice in my head most often say to me? Trace the origins of this voice.
  • When have I held myself back due to fear of failure or judgment? What would I have done if I believed in myself more?
  • Consider a time I was rejected or my ideas were not valued. How did I internalize that experience?
  • What do I often try to hide from others for fear of being judged or not accepted?
  • In what situations do I find myself overcompensating or pretending to be someone I’m not?
  • What am I most sensitive about when it comes to criticism, and what does this sensitivity reveal about my beliefs?
  • Recall an instance where I felt powerless. What did this situation make me believe about my capabilities?
  • What dream have I given up on because I thought it wasn’t practical or I wasn’t capable?
  • Where in my life am I not being true to myself due to a fear of standing out or being different?
  • What part of myself do I find it hardest to forgive, and how might this lack of forgiveness be holding me back?
  • When do I find myself feeling jealous or envious, and what underlying beliefs about myself are connected to these feelings?
  • What belief do I hold about my worth that isn’t serving me, and where might it have originated from?

Common Challenges + How To Overcome Them

Embarking on shadow work is a little like setting out on a hike through unfamiliar woods—expect some resistance and a bit of discomfort. 

It’s a natural reaction when we’re about to face parts of ourselves that we’ve spent a lifetime avoiding. But remember, it’s okay to pause, to breathe, to take this journey one step at a time. 

Your pace is your own.

One thing to keep in mind, however – when you start uncovering those hidden pieces of yourself, emotions can come at you all at once.

Feeling raw and vulnerable is part of the process. 

It’s tempting to shut down and retreat, but this, too, is part of the process. It’s also why I recommend having a support system in place and working with a mental health professional while you’re on this journey. 

There’s no rule that says you have to do any of this alone. 

The toughest part? Sticking with it. Old belief patterns are easy to slip back into. Keep at it, though. 

Celebrate the small victories. Make this exploration of your shadow a habit, something you return to with the same dedication as your morning coffee or evening wind-down routine. 

The path to sustained change is rarely a straight line—it zigs and zags, but the end result is infinitely worth it.

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