THE BLOG

Find Out If You Are Holding Yourself Back

09/12/2011 01:23 am ET | Updated Nov 11, 2011

It's easy to find lots of excuses for not doing, being and having what we want in our life. Typically, we blame others or the circumstances we find ourselves in. Often, we need look no further than the mirror to discover what is holding us back.

Among the major self-limiting actions that people commonly fall prey to are:

Unworthiness

Expectations

Giving your power away

While these expressions are quite normal parts of the human experience, it is a matter of choice if we want to free ourselves from their habitual and often unconscious forms of self-limitation in our lives. The process of stepping free is the same for all four types of expression. It all begins with observation, followed by asking yourself some really good questions, doing a little personal detective work to see how this dynamic is functioning in your consciousness and expressing in your life and then being willing to try something new.

Unworthiness: When we believe that we do not deserve to do, be or have what we envision for ourselves, we create a chronic sense of personal failure, inability to measure up and hopelessness in our consciousness. It is as though we walk around with a dark cloud engulfing our mind not realizing that we are the ones who put that cloud there and we can remove it as well.

Observations: Listen to your self-talk -- what you are saying to yourself inside your head. Do you say things like "I'll never ..." or "No one will want me because ..." or other proclamations of personal doom and gloom?

Good Questions: What do I think I am unworthy of? What real evidence do I have? What's my personal payoff for believing that I am unworthy? If I believed that I was worthy, how would I live my life differently? Am I willing to change this self-limiting belief about myself?

Personal Detective Work: From a place of neutrality (i.e. without judgment) become exquisitely curious about how this pattern of unworthiness plays out in you. What exactly do you do to keep it going? Remain open and honest with yourself in getting a really good understanding of how and why this pattern is running in you. The more light you shed on it, the more it will lose its power and you will be on your way to freedom.

Try Something New: In time, you will be able to see the pattern coming -- to know its trigger points. That is the time to try something new. Challenge yourself. It will probably feel really awkward at first. Just hold to your intention of moving out of your old pattern and to finding a new way to be in relationship with yourself -- a more loving and caring way. Experiment and keep your sense of humor until you find something that works. It might be an affirmation or a visualization of yourself doing, having and being what you really want. Fake it until you can truly embrace that perspective of yourself. It takes time, but it does work and finding your freedom is worth whatever that takes.

Expectations: The funny thing about expectations is that they take us out of the present and energetically place a demand on the future. It's like saying, "This is what I want, and I won't accept anything else."

Observations: Notice if there are certain areas of your life or individuals that you try to control more than others. Notice how it feels when you are attached to your expectations.

Good Questions: Am I setting myself up for disappointment? What happens when my expectations don't match reality? Can I accept the possibility that something other than my preferences might actually be a better outcome?

Personal Detective Work: Explore your relationship to the unforeseen and unknown forces of life. To what degree are you trying to control your life? Are you willing to be vulnerable to the unknown? Watch yourself in action in these regards.

Try Something New: As you become more familiar with the ways that you set up expectations about how you think the future needs to be for you to be happy, practice intentionally letting those points of view go. Choose into the serendipity of life. Know your preferences, but trust that something even better for your highest good might be available to you if you would just open up to the possibility.

Giving Your Power Away: One of the greatest sources of personal unhappiness is playing victim to the authority of others. When you don't know how to live from a place of your own inner truth, you end up living your life in relationship to the preferences of other people rather than as an expression of your truth.

Observations: Notice if you tend to live from the inside-out or the outside-in. In other words, are your thoughts and actions a true reflection of your personal beliefs, values and preferences or do you wait for the other person to let you know what they want and then react to that?

Good Questions: What's more important to you -- knowing and being true to yourself or pleasing other people? When you are making plans with other people, do you give your honest input or withhold it because you know or suspect that it won't be what others want?

Personal Detective Work: Watch yourself in action. Do you freely participate or do you follow others? If you are a follower, notice what your motivation is. Are you trying to keep the peace? Are you avoiding conflict or other unpleasant consequences?

Try Something New: Practice participating. Practice making your point of view matter. Find little ways at first to build confidence and provide input. For example, if the other person wants to see one movie and you want to see another, consider drawing straws or seeing both movies a week apart. Find some way to honor your own preferences.

Do any of these self-limiting beliefs and behaviors sound familiar to you? If so, consider letting yourself be free to be who you really are. Can you think of other ways that you limit yourself? What could you do differently to stop holding yourself back?

Please feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me at judith@havingityourway.com. You can also retweet this post, share it on Facebook, or email it to friends who may enjoy it. To learn more about me, visit my website, www.judithjohnson.com. For information on my future blogs, click "Fan" at the top of this page.