For most of us, at some point in time, we become ‘stuck.’
While nothing in our immediate surroundings seems to be an issue, we can’t help but feel the nagging sensation that something is not quite right in our lives. The feeling forces us to realize the fact that we’re capable of more, yet we’ve grown accustomed to settling for ‘ok,’ or ‘fine.’
Think about one area in your life that you would like to improve. This could be in your social network, your finances, or in personal development. What is stopping you from making the necessary changes? Often, if we’re observant in these moments of uncertainty, we notice our minds prevent us from building momentum. How does this happen?
Most of us are plenty capable and intelligent, yet we slip on the same banana peel every day. This habit refers to believing our self-limiting statements. While we’re unaware of these thoughts, our self-esteem takes a hit, and we are unable to find traction to move forward.
I’ve dealt with my share of self-limiting beliefs and have built tremendous confidence by learning to recognize and dismantle them. Here are the ones you want to look out for:
“I’ll be ok, once X and Y happen…”
Do you find yourself continually looking in the future for fulfillment? Once you meet the right partner or have the perfect job?
Part of the process of making change within your life is recognizing statements that postpone action. This belief is notorious because first, you depend on external circumstances which are unstable. More importantly, notice how there is lack of personal agency within this statement. X and Y won’t happen unless you make them so.
Whenever you have your focus towards the future, it’s critical to reframe what success is. When you feel satisfied with what you are doing at every moment, this is the real meaning. The future is an essential reference but should not degrade your present experience.
Why ‘should’ you be anything other than what you are right now?
“I should have done this; then I wouldn’t have to deal with this situation.”
“I shouldn’t have said that now this person thinks I’m a fraud.”
“Should” statements degrade our sense of happiness and self-worth. Life can be challenging enough on its own; we don’t need unhelpful commentary layered on top. There’s not a right or wrong way to proceed in your life. You’re the pilot.
How about “I choose not to?”
Most things you say you can’t do, you could. You tell yourself you “can’t” leave your job. You could. You can’t go to that audition, because you must work. You still could. The principle of choice has more to do with your mindset than your behavior.
No one is forcing you to do anything.
When we choose our circumstances, we take accountability for our lives and cease playing a victim.
“I’m not good enough.”
Many of us including myself have fallen accustomed to this kind of thinking. We measure ourselves to a self-created criterion that separates us from “everyone else.”
Of course, if you take a moment to ask, “Who are these people, that I’m comparing myself to?”
They don’t really exist. These individuals might appear to have more than you on the surface, maybe that is more money, a better social life, or a superior job. It does not matter what objects of reference we’re using to measure up to others. Self-comparison is a mental construct. It is not real, we create these comparisons and affirm them.
We also have the power to see through the faulty logic that is inherent in that type of thinking.
There is nothing objectively better or worse about you than anyone else.
Focus on giving your full energy to your unique talents and realize how alive that makes you feel. Recognize when you’re comparing yourself to others and toss that thought into the junk mail.
“I need approval.”
It can be challenging at times to determine if the path we are taking in life is our own or influenced by our social groups. It’s okay to consult with family and friends for advice on our way, but make sure to ask yourself. Do you see the benefit? Does this decision reflect your wisdom or someone else’s?
Of course, there will be times when we must finish and follow through on things that we don’t want to do. Though if you’re truly unhappy with a job for example, and you want to pursue a new career, what is holding you back? The fear of condemnation can be paralyzing, but it’s not that a big of a deal. The world will continue to move on its axis, regardless of how you move forward.
Those close to us want the best for us, and that’s great, but only you know what is best for yourself.
“I’m too busy.”
This belief is probably the most common. We like telling others we’re busy like it’s a fashionable thing to say. There’s nothing wrong with this, we all are to some extent. At the same time being resistant to commitments makes the statement seem like an excuse not to do something that you want to.
One of the most common activities that ‘busy’ people say they don’t have time for is establishing a meditation routine. Ten minutes out of your day is not a difficult adjustment. If you wake up a bit earlier, you can use that time to close your eyes and count your breaths, then go on your day with a bit more clarity.
Everyone has the same twenty-four hours, yet what separates people who do the things they want from those that don’t, usually boils down to making commitments and following through on them. Are you willing to go to bed and wake up earlier so that you can carve out time in the morning for exercise?
You’re not married to your commitments. Though at least try to make time for activities rather than making excuses.
“I must be liked.”
Even if this was possible, why would we want everyone to like us? Sounds like a lot of energy to put in for something that is not in our control. Accept that we’re not meant to connect with every human on the planet.
Conserve your energy and focus on accepting yourself. Concentrating on other’s opinions will only lead you farther away from positive change.
Most often you need to put yourself first. People who are always putting others before themselves are admirable, but they often can’t sustain their good intentions because they don’t take care of themselves.
Yes, maybe whatever it is you want to do, some people won’t like you because of that choice. What do you genuinely care about in your life? The people that are closest should support what’s best for you and your interests, not what serves them. Don’t associate with the latter.
“I trust my emotions.”
On the surface, this doesn’t sound so bad, because after all we are driven to feel good. Our lives are pulled by the idea that eventually we’ll find everlasting success and ride happily ever after into the sunset. Sound familiar? It’s the structure of countless movies.
I’ve even heard people say things like “do what feels good and avoid what feels bad.” We are obsessed with a fantasy of maximizing pleasure and avoiding pain.
If we accept that pain, sorrow, heartbreak, and frustration is an inevitable part of life, we can throw away the delusion that our lives should only be things that make us feel good.
Any endeavor worth pursuing is going to have setbacks, failure, and sorrow. Though when we’re not lying to ourselves, we grow more able to handle the lows and fully experience the highs with a grounded realization that everything around us is always changing.