Sometimes we can know exactly what we want, we can even have a solid plan to get there. Yet, for some reason we can barely even get ourselves out of bed or off the couch to go out and chase those goals. The term commonly used for this is self-sabotage and there can be a number of things at play here.
One of those things is you are terrified of what might actually result. You are scared of what the changes are going to mean. You are scared of what if it does work and then it is suddenly taken away from you. You are scared of stepping up and putting yourself out there and then falling flat on your face. These fears come from the stories playing around and around in our heads. They can come from a lot of different sources, how we were raised, how our surrounding community talk about the topic, or messages we have internalised from all of the media we consume.
What is really going on within you is that your ego is going absolutely bananas telling you that making changes is dangerous and scary and you probably should definitely not do it because staying small is a lot easier. That loud voice in your head can be very convincing. It is also very smart, it knows what it needs to say to really get under your skin and stop you from taking steps forward.
People can often mistake the ego for being something they need to be angry at, something they need to smother the voice of and yell at it to be quiet. Trying to silence that voice in your head that is holding you back, if done in the wrong way, is only going to make it louder and more determined. The voice in your head that is full of fear is a necessary part of life, it keeps you safe and lets you know when you are in real danger. You don’t want to destroy it, you want to learn to work with it.
Learning to work with your ego is about giving it the attention it is asking you for and acknowledging whatever is freaking it out. I love to picture these like the characters on the movie, ‘Inside Out’. Your ego is the voice that is always panicky and worried. Imagine going up to a person who is in that panicking state of mind and just telling them to get over it, pipe right down and grow more and more angry each time they tried to speak up about their concerns. Do you think that is going to help the situation? No, it is going to make them worse.
The best remedy is to tell your ego when it is freaking out is something like this: I know what you are trying to do, I can hear you, thankyou for trying to protect me but I have got it from here and things are going to be fine. It is like settling the nerves. If it continues to get louder and yell out all of the reasons why making changes is a poor idea. Listen to it, obviously do not take the fears on board, but just listen to them, give them the space to be heard and allow them to wash over you. It can help to list down everything that is worrying you.
You’re worried you are going to fail at your goals? Listen to that concern inside you and allow it the space to be felt, then remind yourself that you’ve got this. Scared that if you work to make your life to exactly what you want and then it will suddenly be all taken away from you? Listen to that fear, give it the space and then remind yourself that you have the tools to pick yourself back up and if you did it once before you can build yourself back up again.
Making changes can be really terrifying, even if they only seem like small easy changes. If you are already so set in your ways, in your patterns of thinking, and making changes is going outside of your comfort zone. Your ego is going to freak out. A lot of people hold themselves back from what they really want in fear of what might happen, what people might think, what life is going to mean after they have what they dreamt about. Holding yourself back is very, very common. So, start with not beating yourself up for it and telling yourself you are a failure before you have even started.
Shifting your mindset takes small steps each day, it is up and down and all over the place. If you practise the techniques enough, eventually they become more ingrained in your neural pathways and you will see little habits being built. What is one small step you can take this week to move you closer to your goals?