12 Ways You're Holding Yourself Back

by Brianna Wiest

Every ideal cultural narrative surrounds the same issue: how to live your best life. Today, it's about juggling every aspect with ease, being a multi-tasking, multi-functional, infallibly competent robot, and at the same time a loving and kind and open-minded member of society. The difference between this and what was popular and common through the past decades is that our current idea of a "good life" doesn't really include room for exploration or discovery or failure or any of the other things that aren't just possible, but are necessary.

When we concoct ideas and routines and lives that we think are best, we leave out a lot of the details that actually matter. We focus on how things appear rather than how they feel, and confuse their "feeling good" for "being good." We think that the best is how we make ourselves most comfortable and "happy," rather than most fully realized. We forego genuine health — of body and mind — for faster, seemingly more effective alternatives. We can't actually do the hard work in every aspect of our lives because we simply don't have enough energy. Rather than letting ourselves slack where importance doesn't fall, we compensate in feigned and disingenuous ways. Here, all the ways you probably don't realize you're sabotaging your best life (and how to turn it around, ASAP):

You Have An Idea Of What Your "Best Life" Should Look Like On The Outside, But Not What It Would Feel Like On The Inside, In The Day-to-Day

Most people assume they're unhappy because they have something external, they don't understand that their overall contentment is not casual, it's a manner of perception. So when we go to craft ideas of what our best lives would look like, we focus on what pretty pictures would ease all the internal discomfort, rather than the actual solutions.

When You're Uncertain, You Seek Advice From Numerous Friends

Feeling uncertain is not a call to source everybody you know for their opinions, that only feeds the problem more. Feeling uncertain is a call to truly listen to what you're trying to say to yourself, not further disconnect from that based on what other people would perceive.

You're Constantly Trying To Figure Out What You're Meant To Do, Or Who You're Meant For, And So On

Trying to figure out what you're "meant to do" is as effective as trying to identify who "the one" is before you start dating them. It's just what people do when they're so afraid of failing that they're not willing to actually try. When you focus too much on the idea of how things should be, you start losing your concept of how they are. Not everything will be picturesque, and that's not just a fact of life you have to begrudgingly accept, it's a reality that often you'll be grateful for — as happiness is how you create the pieces of a life that feels good to you, not how closely you adhere to ideas and images of life that other people desire.

You Don't Take Enough Alone Time

Which effectively means your mind is constantly bogged down with other people's thoughts and energies. You often end up feeling like nothing more than just the reflection/compilation of all the roles you play for other people, because you've never had to genuinely stand "alone." Also: people who are afraid of taking a healthy amount of alone time don't want to hear what they have to say to themselves, hence adopting everyone else's thoughts instead.

You Refuse To Rewrite The Rules Your Parents Or Society Put In Your Head

You know they don't apply, or you know they aren't actually helpful, but rather than understand that you can re-write the terms and conditions of your existence, you just follow along with what was implanted in you out of an obligation to others that you place above an obligation to yourself.

You're Mindlessly Engaging With People Who Infuriate You And You Can't Figure Out Why

It's usually what happens when you don't feel secure enough to express how you really feel. You continue to engage with them because you care about them or you have to, but you've yet to navigate your own operating system to the point that you can calmly and effectively communicate what you need to say in a way they'll be receptive to.

You Operate On A Dogma You Don't Actually Agree With Or Believe In

It's just what you've "assumed" to be true because everybody else seems to believe it is. The word believe consists of "be" and "live." If you don't feel comfortable (or you don't) choose to "be" and "live" whatever it is you claim to take a stake in believing in, you probably don't buy it as much as you think you do, you just like what you assume it can do for your and/or an image you like to hold of yourself.

You're In Love With Outcomes, Not Processes

When you imagine your dream life, it consists of how things look, rather than the day-to-day functions and responsibilities it takes to get them that way. The only way to create the life you want is to fall in love with the process, the every day. The main reason people don't do this is because it often requires rethinking what you truly value/desire, which means you have to let go of the false and grandiose idea of what your life could be that is in proportion to how insecure or helpless or judged you feel as it is.

You Do Things Out Of Obligation And Confuse It For "Love"

True love is about sacrifice that doesn't feel like sacrifice. When you love someone truly, your desires or opinions or preferences may not always come first, but it won't feel like this taxing, negative, almost unbearable duty. You'll be happy to give it at times. This is where people get confused. They show up to places and remain friends with people they don't want to be associated with because of obligation, and fail to realize that in maintaining what's fake and disingenuous under the guise of obligation and love, they're keeping themselves from ever really finding it.

You're Being Too Lenient With Your Routine

You're not getting enough sleep, you're not drinking enough water, you're not forcing yourself to work on a project during the time you've designated to it. You've become so lenient with your schedule that you end up not actually accomplishing what you want to do because you're more preoccupied with how you want to feel in the short-term.

You're Being Too Structured With Your Routine

On the flip side, you're not giving yourself space to procrastinate, or to fail, or to nap, or to open up to a possibility you didn't consider prior. This is as bad as being too lenient, because it's usually why you feel the need to completely disregard your plan for the day: you created it for a robot, not a person.

You Want Your Life To Be Different Than It Is, But You Don't Want To Do Anything To Change It

This almost always stems from the subconscious belief that someone will do it for you. Someone else will save you, someone will show you the way, you're responsible for your "journey," but someone else can hand you the roadmap. This is usually what happens when people have an under-developed sense of self — that is, they don't feel they can take responsibility for themselves because they've never had to before, so rather than try, they just wait around for someone else to fix it like they always have.

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