What stops us from succeeding? What stops us from creating the lives we want? What holds us back?
We often think those things are obvious - time, money, resources, lack of knowledge or skills, or not knowing the right people for example.
But often the real reasons behind our lack of success are hidden, and the things we think are holding us back are actually just excuses, or rationalisations generated to justiify the fact that we’re not succeeding so that we can feel better about it.
The real barriers to success are often actually things within us. They can reside deep in our unconscious and sometimes we don’t even realise that those things are there.
I’ve seen this in people a lot, and in this article I want to share my observations with you. These come from 8 years experience in helping people overcome problems, drop their mental and emotional baggage, and move forward in the way they want.
Barrier #1: Negative past experiences
Negative experiences from the past often hold us back at a subconscious level. The emotions from that time get triggered by situations now or we fear that the situation might repeat itself.
Let’s look at some examples:
Terry was bullied at school, and he still finds confrontation of any kind really difficult. He keeps quiet in disagreements in an effort to keep the peace, but it’s starting to get in the way of his relationship, as his wife wants to discuss issues instead of sweeping them under the rug all the time. It’s also stopping him from progressing in his career, as he is not able to handle difficult conversations with his colleagues.
Shelly’s ex cheated on her. It was painful, humiliating and real betrayal of everything she held dear and had worked so hard for. She’s now with someone new and he seems really trustworthy. But so did her ex. She wants to trust her new partner, but at the same time, she’s struggling to do so fully, as she doesn’t know if she can cope with that kind of pain all over again.
Jessica wants to lose weight. She’s been down this road before though. In fact, she’s lost weight a number of times before and she’s always put it back on. She wants to be fit and healthy but now the thought of even trying to lose weight fills her with despair.
In each of these examples, negative emotions from the past have become associated with the things that are happening in their lives now, and they will continue to get in the way until they’ve been disconnected or otherwise resolved.
Barrier #2: Limiting beliefs
Limiting beliefs often go hand in hand with negative experiences from the past, and again, are often a hidden barrier which is holding us back.
Let’s look at some examples:
Richard would love to climb the career ladder. He’s really good at what he does and he loves it. He struggles with self belief though. As a child he was constantly put down by his Mum and as a consequence he believes that he’s not good enough and doesn’t deserve to be successful.
Tamara is always putting herself second. As a child she learned that it was important to put the needs of others first. She still believes that and loves to make people happy, but she’s realised that it’s often to her disadvantage. She always helps others but doesn’t seem to get the same back in return. She is finding more and more that she says yes to things then gets angry at herself because she doesn’t really want to do it or really needed that time to do things for herself. Resentment is starting to build up and she is starting to feel really unhappy about it all.
Charlotte would love to get a boyfriend. She’s nearly 30 now and all her friends now have partners and are getting married or having children. She’s had one relationship that lasted a few years, but he called it off and she never really understood why. Deep down inside Charlotte wonders if she really has what it takes to have a successful relationship and thinks she’ll never find love. These beliefs are stopping her from taking action and causing her to withdraw when men show an interest in her.
In each of these examples, limiting beliefs are getting in the way of the person taking the actions they want and responding to situations in they can feel truly happy with.
Barrier #3: Distortions in your mind
Sometimes our mind takes everyday things and distorts them. It makes them bigger, harder or scarier than they are in reality, and stops us from trying them or moving towards them.
Again, let’s look at some examples.
Tom is scared of public speaking. He’s even turned down a promotion because of it. In his mind, his audience is all staring at him and shaking their heads disapprovingly. He also worries that what he has to say is not interesting and he will forget all the words and make a fool of himself.
Sally is afraid of getting injections. She becomes extremely anxious in the lead up to an injection and ends up crying and hypoventilating when it’s time to have it done. In her mind, the needle has taken on monster proportions and is about 10 times larger than in reality.
Victor wants to clean out the garage. It has years worth of stuff in it and trying to get to the things he wants in there is becoming a bit of a nuisance. Whenever he thinks of it he sees a massive pile of stuff in his mind which is disproportionate to the reality of what’s actually in the garage and the question “Where do I even start?” fills him with despair.
In each of these examples, the perception of the situation and the reality of it have become very different. By changing the perception of it to make it more normal or positive, it will change how these people feel and allow them to respond to the situation in a much more resourceful way.
What can we do about it?
Often the things that are holding us back from what we want are residing within us. At times we may have an awareness of this, but often these things are hidden.
Nonetheless they are powerful, and will keep getting in our way and holding us back from what we want until they are resolved.
But the good news is that for each of the examples above, there is a solution.
It is possible to neutralise the effect of negative situations from the past.
It is possible to clear beliefs that are limiting you and install better ones.
And it is possible to change the way you’re thinking about something in order to become more resourceful around it.
The mind is not fixed. Neuroplasticity means the brain can be rewired, and that means we can change how we think, feel and behave. It’s simply a matter of knowing how.
So if you have a challenge or problem where you think there could be something hidden which is holding you back from what you really want, please get in touch.