Change is essential for your growth and development as a person. Without change, you are assured of staying just the way you are and doing things just the way you have always done them. For some people, that’s a good thing; they’re happy and fulfilled in their lives. But for many people, the current path they are on lacks meaning, satisfaction, and joy, and, even worse, they feel stuck. They want to change, but can’t seem to figure out how to change.
Not only can negative “doubts” in one’s ability be harmful, but also expecting perfection. Often mental barriers may be created subconsciously with good intentions. One example of this would be the creation of doubt in the mind. While we all doubt our abilities from time to time, dwelling in the doubt can breed a large amount of stress and stunt the growth process.
Our Barriers Vs. Our Mindset
An unfortunate aspect of life is that we often have obstacles, usually outside of our conscious awareness, that may serve some sort of immediate purpose, but end up being long-term liabilities. These barriers are often driven by some of our most basic needs; for example, to feel competent, to be accepted, and to feel in control. Regrettably, these obstacles become intractable and end up preventing us from changing (or even attempting to change) when they shift from being beneficial to being burdensome.
Below are some of the most common barriers I have encountered with my clients in the past 25 years of my coaching experience:
- Emotional Baggage
Like all of us, you bring good things into adulthood from your childhood. And, as a human being, you probably also bring some not-so-good things, what is commonly called your baggage. The most frequent types of baggage include low self-esteem, perfectionism, fear of failure, need for control, and need to please. This baggage causes you to think, feel, and behave based on who you were as a child rather than the very different person you are now as an adult.
Perfectionism often makes any necessary risk-taking feel terrifying and overwhelming. Why? Because perfectionists want the change to be perfect! They don’t want to have any struggles or setbacks. They want a guaranteed outcome of success.
- People-Pleasing Habit
Sometimes, a positive change for you may result in negative changes for someone else. This phenomenon is especially true if your change directly entails the way someone else lives his or her life. If you’re a people-pleaser, you sacrifice your preferences and emotions for other people. Unfortunately, this pattern often results in stagnation, resentment, and burnout. You end up living for the happiness of others- usually at the expense of your own needs, goals, and dreams.
- Low Self-Esteem
When you feel poorly about yourself, you typically don’t believe you’re even worthy of positive change. You don’t think you’re allowed to chase after good things. Or, you assume that, even if those good things happen, something catastrophic is waiting at the end.
- Lack of Support
Making a positive change is easy when everyone is encouraging you and cheering you on. This momentum often makes even the hardest obstacles manageable. But what happens when nobody wants you to make that change? Undoubtedly, this lack of support can feel lonely and scary. Furthermore, it can make you second-guess your desire to make the change.
When you experience thoughts, emotions, and behavior that are driven by your past experiences and early reactions with enough frequency, they become deeply ingrained habits that dictate how you act on and respond to the world.
Remember that you have power over your thoughts. Think of your mind as your body’s control center. If you have a negative thought, do whatever you can to re-direct your energy in a positive way (Find the good in things). Many people do not realize that our negative thoughts can create physical responses from our body’s in the form of stress. Stress has many negative health effects and should be managed with care. While stress is a state of mind, it is important that we change our way of thinking in order to address the root causes of our stressors.
Keep expanding your awareness for your own barriers that affect your mindset.
Love Yourself no matter what. Forgive yourself no matter what.
You are totally worth it!