Latest posts by Sarah Landrum (see all)
- How to Cut Your Unhealthy Habits - September 26, 2016
- 10 Things Holding You Back From Your True Potential – and How to Stop Them - September 12, 2016
Scared of your own potential? Don’t worry – almost everyone else is, too. That includes amazing TED speakers, geniuses, celebrities and life coaches, people like Oprah Winfrey and Elizabeth Gilbert. Emotional, mental and physical barriers hold you back from growing and exploring that potential.
It’s time for change, and that’s scary. Be vulnerable. Be afraid. Be so angry, so in love and enthusiastic that you have no choice but to live your truth. You get so stuck, you don’t know how to get unstuck due to:
1. Lack of confidence
If you suffer from a lack of confidence, having the courage to take action on any matter is scary. Whether it’s going for a job interview or checking the mail, everyone feels doubt at times. Lack of confidence can develop into issues with low self-esteem and anxiety.
This leads to endless worries racing through your mind. Shake up those thoughts by doing something silly like skipping. If you always see the worst-case scenario first, write down how you’d handle the situation so you already have a plan. Then, let it go. It’s easier to break up a larger concern into smaller ones, taking everything step by step.
There’s something to be said for faking it until you make it. That doesn’t mean to not be yourself. Be authentic, but allow yourself to pretend. Play with potential and possibility. Let your worried what-ifs transform into excitement about imaginative possibilities, and engage with those.
The ultimate fear is based on survival, which is linked also to a need to belong and be loved. Fear is powerful and controlling. Should you freeze, fly or fight? A pattern of fear may hold you back from following through on your dreams, going on adventures and committing to someone you love.
Challenge your fear by asking it questions, and the most important question is: Does this fear serve you or hold you back? Sometimes fear evolves into enthusiasm, when seen with the right perspective. Do you feel angry if fear is hindering you? Use that as motivation. Refocus your attention away from fear and on to purpose and action.
After one of those days, you need a break and a drink. Is your vice whiskey, beer or wine? You may think of yourself as a wine aficionado, but do you have too many nightcaps?
Even if you don’t think it’s interfering with your life, alcohol may have more control than you realize. You don’t have to be an alcoholic for it to hold you back, nor do you have to exhibit the telltale signs. Your drinking may be a problem if:
- You get angry if you can’t drink
- You hide your alcohol from critical eyes
- You black out regularly
- You can’t stop at one drink
Don’t let your health, relationships and career all suffer before you seek the help you need. Many matters drive people to rely on alcohol to get by, and it’s necessary to heal the roots of those issues, too. Reach out to a trusted friend or support group.
4. Unhealthy diets
More people are reporting chronic health concerns related to unhealthy diets every year. You know when you’re not eating healthy, and so does your body. When you miss out on certain nutrients or become dehydrated, you feel the symptoms. You may have a migraine, feel dizzy or have pains in your legs, for example.
It’s hard to change how you eat overnight, yet many people are impatient with themselves and revert to old habits. A healthy change in diet is easily done over time with the slow introduction of changes: consuming healthy fats, such as olive oil instead of margarine, and eating more baked dishes instead of fried foods. Take it slow.
5. Coach potato syndrome
A need for escape, chronic health issues and other reasons can make you develop coach potato syndrome. In this technological age, it’s natural and easy to turn to your smartphone or TV for a little comic relief and to feel a little less lonely.
Yet, your body becomes accustomed to lethargy. This habit easily turns into a technology addiction and an unhealthy coping mechanism. A social media fast may be necessary, in which you don’t check accounts for a week or more to detox from the addiction.
It’s important to develop healthy coping mechanisms with stress and to ask “What am I really avoiding?” Maybe you’re avoiding fear or other issues in life. Instead of the couch, take a 20-minute nap to refresh, take a walk or start up an old hobby. Get an adult coloring book and have fun!
6. Lack of boundaries
Whether it’s family, friends or colleagues, people take advantage of you and your time, repeatedly. Having boundaries is important for your self-care, because you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first.
If you are called passive, defensive or too sensitive, you may struggle with developing and enforcing boundaries with others. Personal boundaries are necessary in life. When you first declare your boundaries, it’ll anger others because you are no longer compliant to their needs. You’re not a heartless person for standing up for yourself. You can show empathy and hold space, but balance is necessary in every relationship.
7. Daydreaming too much
Hey, you with your head in the clouds! If you’ve got a bird’s nest in your hair and confused cartoon baby birds flying around your head, there may be a problem with too much daydreaming. If you’re daydreaming too much, you’ll notice a drop in your focus and may forget to be present at events in your life. Don’t be a flake!
There’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer, but it’s important to be grounded, too. Realize your visions by being present in reality to act on them. You can achieve this by practicing yoga or tai chi, which brings your focus to your breathing and body, yet allows your thoughts to flow. Consider starting a journal and writing each of your dreams down. The simple act of writing brings those dream seeds into reality.
It’s OK. You’re content. Everything is OK. Are you truly happy though, or are you settling and feeling stagnant? If you’re dreams weren’t realistic, maybe you were too busy dreaming instead of acting, or fear got in the way. There are many paths to stagnation.
If your life feels like it is set in stone, what should you do?
You upset the balance. Change one small thing in life, and you can shift so much. Sometimes that comes with practicing mindfulness within each moment or taking a salsa class. Try something new to shake up your routine.
9. Asking for permission
Everyone needs encouragement and approval, but seeking validation in excess is basically asking for permission to be yourself. Do you worry about how your choices and actions affect others too much? When asking for permission occurs with the smallest matters in your life, your need for approval becomes debilitating.
You begin to alter yourself and your life to fit into others’ expectations and molds for how you should exist, rather than simply being yourself. It’s OK if you feel like you don’t know what that means – that’s part of the journey.
Release the need for approval in order to thrive. That involves self-analysis. Give yourself encouraging self-acceptance by complimenting and assuring yourself that you’re doing good. If you take on tasks or change at someone’s suggestion, honestly ask if you’re doing what’s right for you or that person. Say no more often.
10. Holding on too long
From sentimental objects to relationships, humans have a tendency to hold onto things too long. At some point, issues escalate and spiral out of control, until you take notice and have to deal with it.
Do you bottle things up? The issue still has to be addressed. Eventually the bottle breaks and you break down.
It’s OK to let go of sentimental objects and clutter. Scan old photos into a digital memento book, or create a scrapbook. Give old toys to your adult kids. Donate some of that clutter!
People hold onto relationships out of safety and familiarity, even when the relationship is no longer healthy or fulfilling. Dumping someone who is nice is OK, if you’re both not growing individually and together. Part of life is growing and changing, and there will be sadness. There is also joy, as every ending is a beginning.
Grow. Change. Be.
Believe in yourself. You don’t need anyone’s permission to do so, but know that being yourself is one of the hardest things to do. There are no rules, and others’ rigid expectations hinder more than help you reach your potential.
Sometimes, you fall in love with someone for their potential, without ever really seeing that person. Fall in love with yourself, but fall in love your faults and your talents. Potential, dreams and ideas become realized when you take action, even the smallest one.