Today’s post is coming from a very vulnerable and raw place inside of me. The reason I felt the need to write about is because I have seen several of my followers and people that I follow on social media as well as people in my life who struggle with mental roadblocks which keep us going in the same patterns which can ultimately be destructive in our journey. Some of my roadblocks have been more emotionally charged due to some of the traumatic experiences I went through as a child and the emotional abuse I have endured throughout most of my life up until 4 years ago. In addition to that, I have struggled throughout my life with anxiety and depression. I have been fortunate enough to say that my mental health challenges have not been as severe as others and I have been able to pull myself out of each dark moment in my life. However, those dark shadows that I would constantly see in my head playing out an argument or telling me how awful and worthless I was still try to creep into my life especially when I am trying to get going in the right direction. Who can relate?
How many of us have tried to go back to school and something derails us? How many of us have tried to do better with our money and somehow we get off track? How many of us have tried to work on achieving a certain personal goal and we can’t seem to get over the same hurdle each time? How many of us keep having the same type of relationship over and over again hoping that this time it will be different? How many of us try to lose weight and just as soon as we hit a plateau or don’t see immediate results we go back to our bad habits? I would venture to guess that we can all relate to one or more of these examples and it hurts us to admit it. However, if you are like me, each time you failed or better yet allowed yourself to fail, you felt a sense of relief that you proved yourself right. Deep inside, our self doubt and possibly the criticism of our traumas were telling us “you can’t do this”. This is a mental roadblock and removing it will be tougher than the work you need to do to achieve your goal.
I am not saying that I am an expert at overcoming challenges by any means. However, I will say that I have learned that in order to achieve the greatness that we all have the potential to achieve, we need to identify what those mental roadblocks are which keep us from moving on to the next level in our lives. I have learned through observation and experience that people make two types of decisions in life, to either learn from their challenges and traumas or permanently become hostages and victims to it. Once again, I am not a psychologist nor do I pretend that I know how the mind works and or how to treat severe mental illness. I am saying that in order to move past some of the doubt and hesitation in life, we must remove those mental roadblocks which have been placed by others and accept that we have allowed them to stay there time after time. Let me say that again “we have allowed them to stay there time after time”. Part of process to building yourself up is understanding where your insecurities come from. In my case I needed to decide which of my life experiences were creating my self doubt. Was it from my abusive father and pretty much almost every man in my life which meant anything to me during my formative years? Was it from a cynical and neglectful mother from whom I learned to detach myself from all material things and people making it hard to build trusting relationships? Was it from being bullied my entire life to the point where I expected myself to fail or never feel good about myself or have self confidence so I settled for anything that came my way which ultimately took me down a certain path? Or was it that the idea of high ambitions was not realistic and so I was always taught to always play it safe? All of the above.
Luckily though, I was blessed with the news that I had cancer when I was 29 years old and that changed everything for me. I quickly realized that I was not living the life that I knew I was destined to live. I was living paycheck to paycheck, was in a loveless marriage (took several more years to come to terms with that statement), living in a place that was decided for me, driving a car that was picked for me, working a job that I had to settle for, and morbidly obese at the time as well as depressed. I had spent so many years doubting my abilities and doing what I was told. Kept my head down, never challenged the status quo and kept on with one bad decision after another in search of a filler for that void I kept feeling. I decided to shift the paradigm of how I was viewing the experiences in my life and take on an entirely new approach on life. Facing cancer allowed me the opportunity to realize that we have only one life to live and needed to not be afraid to tackle big goals. So my first major decision was to go back to school. I had already started back but was teetering on quitting, but not this time. I was determined! It took 8 years of hard work, sleepless nights, and sacrifices to get there but fortunately I got there. That had to have been the single most important decision that I could have made for myself. However, I was not prepared for all of the events that came about after that. Family members whose own insecurities and personal complexes came through with nasty commentary as I grew my career and built my personal value. The once seemed to be supportive spouse feeling emasculated by his successful wife which ultimately gave him the validation to seek a relationship elsewhere. The childhood friends who distanced themselves from me because we no longer had anything in common as they “have a normal life and can’t relate to being career driven”. All of these things happened but it was only until a few years ago that I realized, my new life was going to cost me my old life and that’s ok. That will continue to happen as I continue to challenge myself. The same will be true for you. Ask yourself, what would people say if you started your own internet business? What would they say if you decided to buy and investment property? What would they say if you said that you wanted to write a book? The answers that your mind plays out for you are the same things that turn into mental roadblocks. I asked myself all of those questions and it was not until I shifted my perception of these comments that I was able to truly overcome them and take them as learnings instead of roadblocks.
I have realized that there are only a very few people in your life that are going to wish you the best. Even our parents look to our ambitions with reservation and judgement. I know because I too am a mom and judge my kids on their decisions. It’s inevitable. I also realized that many of these judgements don’t come from a negative place focused on wishing us harm or failure but rather it’s as a reaction to what failures these individuals have had in their own personal lives and as a result of their own personal traumas. My father’s abuse was not necessarily geared towards me but rather as a result of the neglectful and abusive environment he himself was raised in. My mother’s cynicism and neglect was not geared directly towards me but rather as a result of the loss and heartbreaking betrayal she has endured in her life and being raised without a mother. My friends detaching themselves from me was not geared directly to me but rather by their own insecurities and the reality of facing what they themselves have been fearful of accomplishing. It took many tears, years of heartbreak and loneliness, and not to mention years of therapy to come to these realizations. However, now that I have been armed with the tools to understand the origin or these negative thoughts, I have a much easier time overcoming doubt. Notice I said I have an easier time overcoming doubt instead of saying I have no doubts. It’s natural to have doubts and hesitation when challenging yourself to do something that goes outside of your comfort zone. That’s how our mind and body is built. Just understand where the fear and hesitation is coming from.
So before you self sabotage your goals with self doubt and the voices of all the critics which have kept you from achieving your goals, think for a moment what is the origin of these comments. What may be causing important people in your life to discourage you? Where do your mental roadblocks come from? Who put them there? Why? Whatever the reason or origin may be, remember that only you can allow them to stay there! Celebrate the small victories in your accomplishments as they will add up and remember that one bad day, bad weekend, or bad week does not define you. Keep trying and feel what is in your heart you are deserving of. Be grateful for the experiences that you have been provided which ultimately were there to teach you and be grateful for what you have and don’t have as well. Once we remove the roadblocks and start with gratitude, clarity and greatness comes our way!