In my time away earlier this summer, I learned a lot about myself. The motivations behind my behaviors, the reasons I choose certain coping mechanisms, and some of the ways I get in my own way.
In some regard, we all hold ourselves back in some way. Whether it’s our insecurities, our self doubt, or our own unrealistic expectations for the world around us.
With all the hardships the world throws at us anyways, why not eliminate one by not becoming our own worst enemies? Why stand in our own way when we can be our biggest advocates?
Today I’m sharing 4 common ways we stand in our own way every day. But I’m not just leaving you hanging! I’m also giving you ways to reframe these destructive behaviors.
1. You actively engage in self hate.
Self hate is present when it’s serving a need for you. For some people it’s protective…a coping mechanism perhaps. People feel if they pick on themselves and focus on their flaws it will be taken off the table for others to do it to them. As if they have to acknowledge how bad they are before anyone else has the chance to do it. This inhibits you from realizing your true potential, learning all you can about yourself, and building intimate relationships with others. When you don’t love yourself, you don’t open yourself up for love from others and can’t form deep, vulnerable relationships.
Instead…Practice compassion for yourself.
Having compassion and self love take practice. It doesn’t come all at once but if you start to counter your negative thoughts towards yourself with positive, true ones it will get easier and easier to see (and embrace!) the good in you.
2. You wallow in your anxiety.
Anxiety keeps you stuck in place. It makes you dwell on the past and worry about the future. You lose the ability to live presently and experience like in color. People with anxiety have thoughts just like everyone else, the difference is that they let them burden them by overanalyzing instead of letting them float in and out.
Instead…Let the external world hold your worries and treat your thoughts as what they are.
When your worries overwhelm you, give them up to the world. Whether that’s a higher power, just saying them out loud, or simply (or rather not so simply) deciding to put them out of your mind for the time being. This is called containment and it involves putting your worries in a box (literal or physical) and just letting them sit there. You can come back and address them later in the day to resolve things, but by that time the anxiety will likely have passed and the worries will no longer hold power. Thoughts are just thoughts. They may seem insurmountable at times, but they are only temporary and they do pass.
3. You are resistant to change.
Change is inevitable. It’s necessary and it allows for growth. I recently shared a quote by George Barnard Shaw, “Progress is impossible without change. Those who cannot change their mind cannot change anything.”. I love this. We often get stuck in our routine habits and thought patterns. This keeps our lives in a parked position.
Instead…Remind yourself that change is inevitable.
Change is hard. It means retreating from safety and exploring the unknown. But when we allow ourselves to embrace the reality of change, a world of possibilities opens and our ability to react and adapt appropriately in all areas of life is strengthened.
4. You live in a black and white world.
The world is not black and white, but many people’s mind reside in a polarized world of extremes. Things are either one way or the other and there are no in betweens. This type of thinking limits you. It stops you from acknowledging different perspectives, unknowns, and the stuff that’s hard to put into words.
Instead…Embrace the grey areas.
Gray is more fun. There are more possibilities, more chances to discover new perspectives different from your own, and more room for happiness. When you stop seeing things as either good or bad, all or nothing, you can live in the middle, moderate world wand experience the full range of emotions.
Do you find yourself engaging in any of these behaviors?
What’s one way you’ve held yourself back in life?
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