We are our greatest saboteurs. On the one hand, we want to grow, stretch ourselves as far as possible, and create something phenomenal with our lives. On the other hand, we tear ourselves apart with our behaviors. We’re experts at getting in our own way.
We’re like a snake chasing its own tail.
The good news? You can reverse this trend and begin to move your life upward. No more back and forth. But it all starts by nailing down the precise behaviors limiting your growth. As my super-smart teacher used to say, you can’t change what you don’t know.
If you’re finally ready to stop chasing your own tail, consider this list of behaviors because they may be limiting your growth. Because when you know what you need to change, only then can you change it.
The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn.― C. JoyBell C
Trying to fit in.
Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?― Ian Wallace
My former colleagues often held group dinners. I went to most of them, although secretly, the introvert in me would’ve preferred to be elsewhere. But I needed to fit in. To be a part of the team. Yet, I knew I was wasting valuable time that could have been spent engaging in activities I actually enjoyed, and that build me up.
One day I dressed up and got to the door, then turned around and went to bed. That was it. We all want people to think well of us. Yet, this drains us and turns us into phonies. Saying yes when you really want to say no, chips away at your authenticity, self-pride, and freedom.
We get it wrong when we try to fit in, hoping it’ll make people like us more. Unfortunately, humans are fickle. They’ll still turn on you if need be. So, don’t do anything you don’t want to do. When you embrace your own company, you create an independent mindset. It makes you powerful.
When you aren’t trying to fit in, you can do things that maximize your potential. That’s how growth happens.
Neglecting your needs to meet those of others.
By neglecting your needs to meet others’ needs, you lower yourself and lose more than you hope to gain. Self-sacrificing compromises your happiness and diminishes your self-esteem greatly, no matter how noble it may seem. It sends a message: I’m unworthy, and I’ll take whatever is left because others are more deserving.
With this attitude, you can’t evolve into a successful person because the first step is to believe you can — which you can’t, as long as the cloud of unworthiness hangs over your head. You can’t dream big or go far. So, remedy this by setting your standards and use them to guide your life. I’ve got concise standards that I refer to when I start to gravitate towards becoming a doormat. It’s a huge self-love gesture that works wonders. Try it.
Engaging with someone who isn’t healthy for you.
When we think of people who aren’t healthy for us, we picture alcoholics, gossip mongers, and the superficial. Our friends and family never appear on the list because how can they when they love us, right? Wrong. Someone loving you doesn’t necessarily make them healthy for you.
If they drain your energy, cross your boundaries, don’t challenge you to be better, or tell you when you need to change, they’re unhealthy for you. They’ll stunt your growth and ability to stretch further in life. You want someone who inspires and forces you to question your choices and aim high.
You need someone a few paces ahead so you can emulate them. Distance yourself from unhealthy people by establishing your boundaries. Be comfortable saying no and don’t shy away from putting yourself first.
Trying to change someone rather than focusing on yourself.
The more I tried to change my ex-husband, the more I bashed my head against the wall. Thankfully, somewhere along the line, I realized it was I who needed to change. And that I was the only one I could change. A dramatic life shift stemmed from this moment.
Investing emotionally in someone you know will never change (your heart always knows) depletes you of the internal resources you need for your own development. When you’re mentally drained, it’s challenging to focus on yourself, explore new skills, and even when you do, it’s hard to commit.
This is why your focus should be to approve and affirm yourself. You stop becoming a slave when you fill the holes you expect someone to fill for you. It makes you whole and, in turn, attracts solid people who see your true value.
Waiting for someone to save you.
When she graduated from college, June beamed with the hope of landing a fantastic job. She hoped her uncle, a well-connected politician, would clear the path for her. But Alas! He forgot she existed when she needed him most. Her calls went unanswered.
It turned out that that was all the nudge June needed to become self-governing. Now, when she wants something, she gets it herself. You restrict your growth when you assume inadequacy and wait for someone to act on your behalf.
It’s a sure-fire way to waste your creativity, potential and diminish your possibilities. But you can change this by learning and asking questions. You grow when you take a chance on yourself, even if you’re not exactly certain about your moves. Usually, the path is revealed by getting started.
Running from your mistakes.
The earlier you admit to your mistakes, the more time you would have to learn and grow from them. — Edmond Mbiaka
Being wrong stings. So, many people latch on to a belief they know fully well doesn’t serve them because it's easier to numb the pain than face it. We hate admitting we’re losers who need to start all over again. But the longer you turn a blind eye, the further away you move from getting back on track.
Can you course-correct if you don’t know where you went off-track? Nope. It’s in knowing that you change and grow. It starts with facing your mistakes head-on, retracing your steps, studying your patterns, and rectifying your errors. Mistakes are the best teachers of self-improvement.
Breaking your commitment to yourself.
Isn’t it funny how we jump through hoops to keep our commitment to someone else but never to ourselves? For some reason, we never take ourselves seriously enough to sticking it to the end. It might not seem like a big deal but quitting on yourself sends a message to your psyche that you’re feeble and ineffective.
Each time you talk yourself out of losing those 5 kilos, it pushes you far back than where you were when you committed. You start to believe you’re a loser. Once this is embedded in you, your brain is unable to create noble ideas.
Even when it does, you suffer from a lack of motivation because you don’t trust you have what it takes to push it to the end. You can resolve this by not quitting no matter how hard it gets and taking baby steps rather than giant leaps. It’s the micro shifts that bring real change.
People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of. — Paolo Coelho.
Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, the second step is to do whatever you need to do to change your behavior. Remember, you’re the only one standing in your way. Should you draw a line in the sand today, you’d be unstoppable.
You have everything it takes to transform your life. If you keep at it, you could wake up a totally different person one day, living the phenomenal life you dream of.