This article is part of the series mental barriers and behaviors that are getting in the way of positive change.
It’s easier now than ever to see what other people are doing in their lives. Just get onto Facebook, or another social media platform, like Instagram. Within seconds you’ll be hit with pictures and stories of people who seem to have what you don’t. The perfect job, relationship, and vacation. You’re force fed what seem like reminders that you’re not “good enough” and that you’re “lacking”. It really is easy to buy into those images to reinforce self held beliefs that tell you you’re limited.
I’m not going to preach the old saying that “you can do whatever you put your mind to”. What I am proposing is that “you should, and can, do whatever it is you are passionate about.” While it is true there simply are things you cannot do, there are things you can do. Yet we’re stuck in this cycle of ignoring the positives to seek the negative.
“There are reasons you can do something and there are reasons that you can’t. Both are true. Choose the ones that best serve you.”
Accepting Your Limitations to Free Yourself
It is true that there are countless things that you simply cannot do. Whether because of physical limitations, mental limitations, or simply a mismatch in natural skill set, it’s not hard to find plenty of proof that we are a limited beings. Often we mistake these truths as solid proof that we are inherently limited in general. Ask yourself this: “Why do I want to beat myself up for something that I am not meant to do?” Then ask yourself “what is stopping me from trying something that I am truly interested in doing?” Is it because you’re afraid of falling short or failing? Is it because you’re afraid of being rejected?
“Most importantly ask yourself ‘do I have to believe that everything I think is true?’”
You Don’t Always Have to Buy What Your Mind is Selling
So much of what goes on in our minds limits us to other opportunities and realities. Many of us have been conditioned to notice the negatives through our formed worldview. When presented with a new opportunity that triggers an underlying feeling of inadequacy or incompetence, we tend to balk at it. Much of this is do to our “fight or flight” reaction that has at one point served us. Old failures, embarrassments, and rejections remind us that “we never want to feel that way again.” At the same time, this reactionary way of thinking once used to help protect ourselves keeps us stuck.
“What would happen if we began to identify and challenge long standing negative self beliefs? What would happen if we began to challenge those negative beliefs and focus more on positive ones?”
5 Common Thoughts You Can Challenge
1. There is not much that I am good, or proficient, at doing.
Even if this is true, why would you focus on what you’re not good at instead of what you are good at doing? Many people enter into careers they really aren’t passionate about because of family, or outside pressures, to be “successful” and make a “good living”. How “successful” can you be and how is it a “good life” if you are not happy? Stop using the excuse of “I’m not good at anything”. Instead explore what you like doing. Chances are you are actually good at it! We are much more likely to be good at what we actually like to do.
2. I’m only “one person” so what difference does it make what I do?
Can’t argue with this one. We can only do so much. But, is it really our responsibility to control what outcomes our actions have? There will be countless people that will you will not have an impact on. Don’t minimize your worth and the impact you do have. I’m a big believer in the importance of responsible and caring parenting, for example. There’s nothing more important and influential than the job of raising children. Don’t like the state of the world? You holding back from the world doesn’t help. Everything is affected by everything. This includes you and your contributions no matter how small you think they are.
3. I have to settle because there’s no guarantee I’ll get something better.
There are no guarantees. The only thing that you can control is what you do. The results aren’t up to you. You can choose to settle and with that choice you’ll find some level of certainty but you’ll be left with the feeling that “there is something more”. Watch where your thoughts go, what you daydream about. Pay attention to what excites you and where you allow your imagination to wonder. It’s not just “wasted time and energy”.
4. Some people are meant to be successful, that’s not me.
The main difference between people that are “successful” and people that are not is that they believe what they have to offer is valuable. Sure, there are people who are inherently more fortunate with their resources and individual talents, but why are you worried about them? You valuing what you have to offer is the only thing you have to focus on. Once you know you’re limitations and accept them, you can put more of your focus on what you can control. The definition of success is determined by you, not someone or something else.
5. It needs it to “be the right time” before I can act.
There will always, always, always be a reason that “it’s not the right time”. To think that a perfect moment will present itself is an illusion. You decide what the right time is when you decide that it is. There is no “perfect time”, there is only the present moment. What are you doing in the present moment? This is where life is. Life does not exist in the past, nor in the future. The past and future only exist in our minds and collective minds.
The world is full of people that are paralyzed by fear, self doubt, cynicism, and perfectionism. All of these mindsets have been formed because at some point we needed to protect ourselves, our emotions, and our sense of who we are. We are quick to complement and give credit to others somehow forgetting that we are like everyone else. We want our friends and family to get the best for themselves and strive for what makes them happy. Not only do we deserve that as well but the world also deserves what we have to offer. Challenge those limiting thoughts that are causing you to withhold and see what happens in your life. Don’t believe everything you think.
About the Author
John Harrison is a licensed health counselor and coach. He works with individuals and couples to help them get unstuck. He helps empower them in getting what they want out of life and assists struggling souls done tolerating their old ways of navigating their world.