“No one is coming to save you.”
I remember a friend saying this to me many years ago. The particulars of that conversation are foggy, but I can tell you that while at first hearing that felt a bit like a slap in the face, those words would later end up changing my life. The unfortunate thing about these life lessons though, is that sometimes we forget all about them.
Every once in a while I will find myself falling into this same pattern of assigning blame or using some of those less pleasant things that happen in life, as an excuse. That’s usually when I have to once again remind myself that change doesn’t happen on its own; that a goal without a plan to take action ends up being just a wish that never comes true. That’s when I have to remind myself, once again, that no one is coming to save me.
So, how do you find what’s holding you back in life, exactly? How do you learn to let go? Well, sometimes you have to take a nice, long look within- more often than not, that “thing” that stands in your way, is you.
THE BEAUTY OF LETTING GO: 4 THINGS THAT ARE HOLDING YOU BACK
Resentment is one of those stubborn emotions that’s quite difficult to just “turn off.” It can also act as a major roadblock to your learning (and allowing yourself) to just let go. You use it as a perfect excuse to put yourself through those never-ending negative loops.
And so, it ends up holding you back, simply because you just refuse to let go.
We resent other people for the things they do or don’t do. When we resent ourselves, most of the time it’s for the same exact reasons. We don’t always love others the way they are, and we don’t always love ourselves the way we are. Your loved one commits a small act of injustice (your boyfriend forgets your anniversary, a group of friends goes out for drinks without inviting you) and you begin to resent them for days (perhaps even weeks, when faced with the whole “boyfriend forgot our anniversary” thing).
But wait, there’s more!
Because you’re quite a generous person, you are also kind enough to throw some of that resentment your way, too. You need to work on an important project and keep putting it off until the last minute, and then you resent yourself for procrastinating. Maybe, at times, you fall into a pattern of beating yourself up over a mistake you made, or a shitty situation you found yourself in? Shortly thereafter, blame and resentment find their way in.
Strong resentment takes some time to move on from- usually there needs to be a lot of forgiveness and letting go involved- which is almost never easy, simple, or quick to do. Those small resentments, though? You can easily overcome them by working on being less harsh and critical. You can try practicing more mindfulness and kindness- both towards yourself and others. What I really want to say, is that you should try to give a little more love and not waste too much time re-living those situations that bring out resentment. Those small “acts of injustice” that others sometimes commit are usually just a small part of the people we love. Those small “mistakes” you sometimes resent yourself for are also just a small part of who you are.
Fear, and its constant presence in life, is one of the biggest things that are holding you back. You fear failure, rejection, you fear that you might not be good enough or strong enough. This fear stops you from trying new things. It stops you from going after your dreams. Sometimes it also stops you from opening up to new relationships because you’re afraid of rejection or abandonment. Occasionally, we equally fear things that at first seem good and positive, like success. Why? Because with success often come more responsibilities, having to take more risks, and, let’s not forget, success also takes a lot of work.
So how do you stop fear from holding you back?
You feel it, and you do those things that scare you, anyway. Once you understand how fear works and why it can sometimes feel so paralyzing, you will realize that a lot (if not most) of your fears are simply baseless. It also helps to remember that fear is just a standard part of life and it’s something all of us feel. Without exceptions.
OTHER PEOPLE + YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Right here, we’re not talking about other people holding us back, directly. Yes, there are toxic relationships and toxic environments that often hold us back. We also have very close relationships with people (like friends or family) who discourage us at times. Sometimes though, it’s us putting too much value onto other people’s opinions that eventually end up holding us back. Some of us tend to immerse ourselves in other people’s lives so deeply, that we forget to live out our own. At times, we’re also guilty of being too concerned with what everyone else is doing, to work on ourselves or goals.
Another way in which “other people” can hold you back is… when they’re not even a part of your life. Those who have yet to find love, for example, often believe that being in a relationship is something that will finally complete them. You might even think to yourself “There’s something missing in my life and only another person can make that feeling go away. That is my key to happiness.” Well, that is when you start attracting experiences into your life that match exactly what you’re feeling inside.
Instead of hyper-focusing on other people, their lives, opinions, or finding love, devote more time to focusing on yourself. Ask yourself:
What can I do for me?
What do I want out of my life?
How can I grow?
What are some things that I’ve always wanted to try?
What’s stopping me from trying them now?
How can I practice self-love and improve the relationship I have with myself?
Don’t be afraid to explore your own feelings, emotions, fears. Find things that will bring you peace and joy, things that will help you grow, things that will challenge you and help you get to know yourself a little better. Having strong friendships and having love in your life is important, but ultimately, the relationship you have with yourself will always be one of the most important relationships in your life. There will be times where other people will try to discount your strengths, criticize your ideas or make you doubt yourself. Only you can stop them from holding you back.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a confident person, and it doesn’t matter how much you’ve already accomplished. You probably have doubts about yourself. Even if we don’t always think about them, even if they’re not always overwhelming, those doubts are there. Some of us don’t even realize that it’s that doubt that’s holding us back. Some doubt sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Other times it’s right in your face, trying to convince you that you’re not good enough, or strong enough, or that you don’t have what it takes to overcome your struggles.
Question is, are you going to allow it to stop you?
One way to stop doubt from holding you back is to simply take action. To start now, to do, to learn, to try, and get better at it. Doubt will always be there. You can believe the lies it tells, or you can work on building your confidence and stop these doubts from holding you back.