What’s Holding You Back?

One day I’m gonna… (insert daydream here).

Everyone has hopes and dreams in life. Some people dream of being an astronaut, some dream of acting, others want to be artists or musicians or dancers. Why do so many of us never follow our passions?

A lot of us want well-paid jobs, or fulfilling relationships, or nice houses. Some people dream of travelling all the time.

Sometimes we want to live in a cabin in the woods and make cuckoo clocks (maybe that’s just me).

Whatever you really want in life, something is holding you back. What is it?

It’s easier to keep our dreams in the realm of just that; dreams. If we make them a reality then we have to step up, put ourselves out there for judgement, and generally give it a genuine crack. Why is that so terrifying?

Basically, it always comes down to fear, but where does that fear come from and what is it telling you?

The fear lies in the question we constantly ask ourselves: Am I good enough?

Good enough for what, though? Who’re you trying to justify your existence to?

A lot of the time we look for feedback from others. We’re seeking validation from external sources to verify that we are, indeed worthy. The problem inherent in this is that we capitulate all our personal power, integrity and happiness to other people who may (or may not) choose to be kind to us.

The other problem is that if we suspect (from bad childhood experiences) that we aren’t worthy, then we set our expectations lower and our expectations determine who’s opinion we put our faith in and whether we actually go for the things we really want.

For example, you may want a committed and loving relationship with someone, but deep down you don’t think you can have that, so instead you date people who you already know are not going to treat you well, or who will ultimately leave you. The safety of not having to step up for yourself is somehow comforting.

Lets break down some of the causes behind behaviour like this…

We’re afraid of giving up the small things we already have, even though we don’t really want them.

This is a big fear we need to let go of, the idea that we’ll never replace something if we let it go, or that it is the best we can hope for.

We’re afraid of “failing” and being seen to fail.

Social embarrassment is a big one because we’re a pack animal and this is our survival hard-wiring. Being acceptable to the pack is ingrained as a way of staying safe and in childhood this is especially so.

Our parents or primary care-givers are supposed to make us feel secure enough in childhood that we build confidence to do things on our own and become self-sufficient. However, parents are just people and sometimes they either don’t know how to do that, or they actively undermine our growth for selfish reasons of their own.

If this is the shaking foundation you were supplied with, overcoming it can be a long process in itself. This has to be surmounted before true confidence can be installed and replace the faulty coding.

A way in which we can undermine ourselves is by focusing on the concept of failure rather than success. We can be so afraid of the worst-case scenario that we lose focus on what we’re aiming for and start focusing on what we don’t want. Often, whatever we focus on becomes the destination because our intention sets the course of our energy and universal energy only understands focus words, not the context of “want” or “don’t want” attached to them.

You need to be moving towards the success and putting the failure to one side. This isn’t ignoring “reality” it’s more about creating your own reality. Re-frame the desire. For example, tell yourself how great it’s going to feel when you can fit into your old jeans again, not how hard it is to resist donuts. Resisting donuts is easy when you have something to look forward to. You’re not denying yourself a momentary pleasure, you’re aiming for something better which will bring more enjoyment.

We’re afraid of success and the rejection of anyone who is jealous or who begrudges our growth.

Others may see your successes as some sort of insult towards them, as though you doing well is a judgement on them doing poorly. You cannot keep yourself small in order to please people who aren’t prepared to put in the work they need to do for themselves.

Sometimes we have installed limiting beliefs into ourselves because of a mix of the previous issues. Your parents, or your boss, or your friends may have told you that you can only hope for so much in life, but how do they know? Even you don’t know what you’re capable of because you haven’t tried yet.

The vague concept of “One Day” is very unhelpful.

You need to make concrete plans, not vague ideas. The future is a fuzzy concept we like to daydream about, but it doesn’t help us to actually take steps towards it.

Real action and real plans are required to move towards a goal, otherwise that goal forever stays in the vague and foggy future.

To start doing this, break down your bigger goal into smaller, bite-sized goals. After all, you wouldn’t shove an entire corn cob down your throat any more than you would go from being a janitor to the President within a week.

Figure out the smaller steps you can take which may lead towards your larger goal and then start undertaking them. This may look like study, or creating a website, or doing an internship with a business which is already in the industry you want to be part of.

Meet the people, do the work, study the thing… Sometimes this moves you closer, or even shows you something new which you didn’t know existed yet.

And lastly…

Count your achievements to date. This can be as small as cleaning your house and doing your hair for the day, or as big as looking back on finishing high school even though it sucked. Celebrate the wins you’re had, especially the ones which you had in spite of struggles and congratulate yourself on not letting obstacles get in your way.

Be excited about your future. If you have seen rock-bottom, then there’s nothing to lose by going for something which excites you. Find your passion again and keep your eye on it as you get closer.

Savour the little things. Whether it’s stars in the night sky, or warm sun on a cold day, or just birds building a nest; make sure to lift your head out of your own problems and take a look around at the strange miracles of this world we live in. If you’re looking, you will find them.

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