top of page

Upper Limit Setpoints©


Penny Cohen, LCSW

A few weeks ago I added a facebook post discussing breaking through our Upper Limit Setpoints.  Several people asked what that meant. Upper limit setpoint is a term coined by Gay Hendricks, co-founder of the Hendricks Institute.  They are the unconscious restrictions we put on ourselves to keep us in our comfort zone.  We are only accustomed to so much goodness, so much enjoyment, so much love and so much prosperity and when we go over the limit, the universe brings us back down.  Why?  Because our physical vibration doesn’t match our desires.  We are not prepared or ready to receive the good.

One of my clients, an artist, who did a lot of volunteer work in her life said she didn’t do much in the way of contribution – until a friend offered to spruce up her bio.  Upon reading it she said she couldn’t believe that it was hers – but it was.  She didn’t own what she knew and did.

Another woman had agreed to do a presentation for a big organization.  The day it was scheduled she forgot to check her calendar and missed it altogether.  How’s that for sabotage?

A man who was dating a woman for almost two years and was in love said he was breaking up with her because she was becoming too manipulative.  He was afraid she would take advantage of him because he had trouble setting boundaries.  How’s that for cutting your nose to spite your face?

Another man who knew he was in line for a promotion, but was also competing with someone else, ended up coming late to an important meeting where he would be seen by influential people.  What’s going on here?

To change our vibrations we need to identify the stop-gaps we have within us that sabotage our success.  It can be blocks in any area of our lives:  personal, relationships, career or spiritual.

Some of these upper limit setpoints are from negative thoughts, self-defeating beliefs, repressed feelings, demeaning speech, negative attitudes and dysfunctional behaviors.  They may also involve deep vows, parental and ancestral lineage tendencies, and cultural, racial, societal, and religious influences. Most often it includes hidden feelings of unworthiness and undeservingness and not giving ourselves permission to receive and achieve. These all stop us in our tracks.

How do we recognize upper limit setpoints?

We see repetitive patterns reoccurring in our own thoughts, feelings and behaviors, the way people treat us, and what we have in life.  Or, we just don’t have what we hoped for or thought we’d have.

Here are a few of many other setpoints you might want to explore in your career and love life:


You fear failure so you don’t even try. 

You fear success because you may become too arrogant. 

You believe if you’re successful others around you will be jealous and withdraw. 

You fear criticism.

You fear responsibility.


Love Life

You’re afraid of opening your heart too much because people will take advantage of you or take you for granted.

You’re afraid of being hurt so you reject before being rejected.

You’re afraid if you love too much it will be overpowering.

You believe if you open your heart, you will become vulnerable.

You’re afraid of intimacy.


Lack of motivation

Lack of motivation is a big stopper in overcoming self-sabotaging limits.  One client said she wanted to loose ten pounds - and was really determined.  However, during relaxation when I asked how determined she was to do what it takes to loose the weight she started to say, “Very.”  Then she hesitated, “I like my deserts too much.  I guess I’m not really ready inside.” 

Invitation:  Sort through your negative thoughts and feelings about love and life, and check to see how motivated you are to overcome these self sabotaging limits.  If you aren’t motivated, then just accept it and be honest with yourself. That’s often when the motivation changes.  If you are already motivated, then do the internal work of changing your upper limit beliefs to ones that are believable.  If you can’t honestly say the positive of what you’re asking for then use a baseline term such as:  “I am choosing to open my heart.”  And, if you’re not ready to do that, then say, “I’m preparing to open my heart, and enjoy watching the shifts.


Staying in touch and in love,


bottom of page