8 Ways You’re Actually Holding Yourself Back

woman sitting by fountain, stop holding yourself back

If you’re being completely honest with yourself, you’re not entirely satisfied with your life. No matter how hard you try to stay positive, life can be too much to handle. You spend more time overthinking all the things you could’ve done differently to avoid the pain than actually living. And you’re holding yourself back from being who you’re meant to be.

I get it. I’ve had my fair share of those kinds of moments for what seems like forever. You might be ruminating over all the mistakes of the past or beating yourself up over missed chances and opportunities. Or maybe you’re keeping yourself from doing what you love and chasing your dreams.

If you agree with any of the above, you need to read this. These are these ways you’re actually (and maybe even unconsciously) holding yourself back:

1. Not forgiving yourself for all the setbacks you’ve had in the past

You might think that forgiving yourself is letting yourself off the hook. Not so. It might sound counterintuitive, but the harsher you are with yourself and the more guilt you bear, the less you’ll actually leap forward and pursue the deepest and most genuine callings of your soul. When you forgive yourself, you’ll release every ounce of anger, regret, and self-inflicted guilt. Not having these tie you down will enable you to start moving in the right direction.

2. Demanding yourself to do so much at once

You can’t do it all and you’ll burn out sooner if you attempt to do the work of multiple people. When you feel like you aren’t as far as you could’ve been, you think you can make up for it by turning yourself into a machine that can do everything at once – but the truth is, you can’t. You’re only human and you’ll only fail if you squeeze in too many things that may not even be right for you.

It’s crucial to recognize when you’re not happy. You have to evaluate what truly makes you come alive and what you feel obligated to do. That could be playing Drift Hunters, going for a run or painting – it doesn’t have to be goal-related. Even if you have many dreams you want to turn into reality, it may be beneficial to your mental health to let go of the ones that are centered on your goals. You can’t stress about living up to expectations that aren’t necessarily achievable, especially within limiting time constraints.

3. Having too many back-up plans to the future you truly want to create for yourself

You do need a plan, and sometimes more than one. It’s highly important to be prepared when things don’t go your way. However, sometimes you might be adding on unnecessary tasks when you have an excessive number of back-up plans. The primary cause for this is the extreme fear that you can’t follow through with any of your plans that are higher priorities. This will undoubtedly pressure you to allocate your energy towards lesser things that aren’t relevant to your long-term goals because you’re so fearful of your true self not being enough in society. (Which is why you have created too many back-up plans in the first place!)

It can be helpful to sit down and do a brain dump to find out how you’re spending your time, what you’re wasting your energy on, and what you can do to go all-in on what you hope for the most. This will increase your chances of success because focus and determination will get you further than padding your life with back-up plans that take time and energy away from your primary plan.

4. Worrying about how other people could be judging your productivity, your lifestyle, and your overall reason for existence

Let’s face it. The comparison game is a game that’s almost impossible to quit. But with deliberate thinking and laser-like focus on your own ambitions, you can reduce the amount of wasted time and energy. When you worry too much about how the most powerful people in your life are judging your productivity, lifestyle, and reason for existence, you’re holding yourself back. Instead of creating a genuine life for yourself, you focus on the immense pressure to live up to others’ expectations, which leaves absolutely no room to grow or nurture your soul.

5. You’re holding yourself back by believing that you have to prove something to the world

When you seek to prove people wrong (this isn’t limited to people you know and can extend to strangers), you’ll ultimately find that you suffer from performance paralysis. You can’t even start on what it is you really want to do. That’s because you’re focusing too much on the hypothetical outcomes based on external circumstances. This will inevitably cause you to start holding yourself back and prevent you from unleashing your natural gifts to the world.

6. Living (and punishing yourself) as if your circumstances are worse than they actually are

When you read about people who have suffered more than you, you might feel guilty for having the privilege of switching directions whenever you know that your current circumstances are leading you to a dead end. Although it’s important to keep in mind that many people are oppressed and not as privileged as you, it’s also important to do what’s best for you with what you have right now (as long as you can afford to).

It’s not about treating yourself recklessly or booking a YOLO trip to Thailand. Rather, it’s about taking care of your mental health and not adding too much to your plate, especially when you have room to do so.

For example, if your job(s) or college major is too difficult to handle, you can absolutely remove yourself from whatever it is that’s harming your mental health. You don’t have to stay trapped in a short-term job that isn’t a right fit for you, out of guilt. You don’t have to stay in a college major you dread because other people can’t even go to college, especially if you’re confident that you’ll find greater joy in studying something else. You don’t have to forego therapy when you really need it. You also don’t have to be cheap with yourself, especially when a small gift like a book, a journal, a class, or a nice professional outfit has the potential to facilitate your long-term goals.

7. You’re holding yourself back by not going all in

Although it’s important not to feel guilty for what you haven’t done, you still need to be honest with your progress and pace. You have to understand that if you want your future to be different and if you want more freedom to pursue what you love, you can’t be holding yourself back! You have put in a lot of effort to get there and it will be incredibly difficult at first because you will end up making sacrifices.

You don’t necessarily have to overwork yourself to the point of exhaustion every day, but you also need to be focused. You must work in power mode to gain the results.

8. Assuming that people automatically dislike you for not being enough

No matter what you do or where you are, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of not being enough. This feeling leads you to assume that people dislike you for that. The truth is, you’ll never be enough in many people’s eyes, but that shouldn’t deter you from following your soul’s callings and doing what’s best for you in life.

You can absolutely build your own dreams even without the approval of anyone. That is how you reclaim your own power and stay true to who you genuinely are.

Featured Image Credit: Jasmine Peardon

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8 Ways You’re Actually Holding Yourself Back
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