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How To Stop Holding Yourself Back

By Hengameh Fazeli
Updated November 17, 2017

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”
– Mary Kay Ash

There was once a bunch of tiny frogs who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants.

The race began. No one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. They shouted, “Oh, way too difficult! They will NEVER make it to the top.” and “Not a chance. The tower is too high”.

The tiny frogs began collapsing, one by one except for those who, in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher. The crowd continued to yell, “It’s too difficult! No one will make it!” More tiny frogs got tired and gave up. But one continued higher and higher.

This one wouldn’t give up! And he reached the top. Everyone wanted to know how this one frog managed such a great feat. His secret? This little frog was deaf.
The moral of this fable is to turn a deaf ear to the pessimism of others since it can take your dreams from you.

The practical truth of life is that we all want to be positive. However, due to factors beyond our control, this often gives way to pessimism, hopelessness and getting discouraged from pursuing our ambitions.

However, this is only one level of truth. What truly holds us back, and most people don’t like hearing this, is ourselves. That’s right. The biggest “thing” that often holds us back from being happy, successful and confident, simply and sadly is our own self!

So what can we do to set this broken record straight?

1. We Stop Looking For Others’ Approval.

Albert Einstein once said that great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

He went on to state that the mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the person who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express their opinions courageously and honestly. This is where most good people tend to go wrong.

They give in to convention and shy away from expressing their opinions courageously and honestly. All too often, the desire to be part of a group overpowers the desire to stand up for oneself. While group harmony is definitely a good thing, it’s also important to be true to oneself.

Fear, doubt, insecurity and looking for approval are some of many inner obstacles that hold us back from reaching our full potential. The solution is to accept the simple fact that we have the ability to achieve great things.

History is full of stories of people who’ve risen from obscurity and challenged their surroundings and gone on to greatness. Some of us might be in similar circumstances as our heroes, but we don’t push through.

We can, however, do so once we get rid of the languishing thoughts that pull us back.

Simply put, before we want to add something meaningful to our lives, we first need to subtract what is meaningless. What is meaningless? The burden of societal approval and others’ expectations – get rid of those.

Society will come around once you’ve achieved greatness.

Self-acceptance is the key.

2. Stop Renting Head Space To Insecurity

Sometimes when we see a big challenge in front of us, we tend to freeze.

Anyone who’s been offered a big promotion or a huge sum of money will or a generous gift will recognize this.

The first tendency is to say we don’t deserve this. Then we hem and haw and accept. Even then we feel bashful. This happens because we are not sure of our own merits.

Insecurity is one of the biggest problems of the mind. Many great souls are still in the closet because they fear that they are not good enough.

If we always worry about what other people think and say about us, we will never live our life to the fullest.

Doing what other people expect might make them like us temporarily, but this will never make us happy… at least not in the long run.

Second guessing ourselves has become such a passive trait that most of us do it unconsciously. A good way to overcome this particular limitation is to practice inner reflection.

Let’s try a simple version of this exercise right now. Honestly, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I feel guilty about accepting gifts?
  • Is it easy for me to give compliments?
  • Do I feel guilty about spending money on others?
  • Is it easy for me to receive compliments?
  • Does being charitable to others come easily to me?
  • Am I comfortable receiving help from others when I’m in need?

If you’ve answered yes to more than two of these questions, you know you are holding yourself back.

By acknowledging your strengths and areas of expertise, you will get an understanding of where you can shine.

This is not motivational fluff – you have some skill-set or some ability that others don’t do as well as you can.

Most of us overlook our gifts. Nobody will count superhuman strength or supersonic flight as their gifts.

That’s something for the movies. What is important from this self-introspection is to recognize what gifts we do have and work on enhancing those.

It may be that you’re great at spotting mistakes that others take time to see.

It may be that you are great with kids or that you can wrap gifts better than anybody else in the history of gift-wrapping!

It’s important that you acknowledge this spark you have within you and smile about it. Acknowledging your strengths is the fastest way to say goodbye to your insecurities.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve jobs

3. Start By Letting Go Of The Past

I should have. I could have. I might have.

These three phrases are what prevent us from letting go. We’ve heard this particular exhortation many times – “just let go”.

And the question that is asked is HOW?! How do we just let go? It’s not difficult. Just pause whenever you catch yourself saying “I should have, I could have, I might have”. Just stop right there. Those three phrases are what is holding you back to the past.

The past is in the past. We can’t change it anyway. What’s the point in obsessively thinking about it?

Most often, we leave our potential unrealized because we’re too strongly tied up with the past.

We regret the things we haven’t done, the chances we didn’t take and we remain focused on the mistakes we have made.

Such negative thinking sucks our energy and leaves no fuel for us to go forward. It also brings so much dissatisfaction, grief, and resentment.

Excessive thinking about the past pulls us backward. What many of us tend to forget is that everybody makes mistakes.

And that’s the thing – mistakes are a part of life. Human beings are evolving.

History, evolution, theosophy, philosophy – all of these schools teach that human beings are evolving spiritually.

And evolution is a process. A process implies mistakes. Mistakes imply learning. So, therefore, mistakes are a natural part of life.

It’s better to learn the lesson, make the changes we need to make and then carry on. It helps nobody – least of all ourselves – if we carry on thinking about what we could’ve done.

So bring out your inner Elsa, stop being frozen and just let it go!

Remember, every time you catch yourself saying, “I wish I could’ve done that”, just hit the brakes. You can’t drive forward in life by looking at the rear-view mirror.

4. Become Best Friends With Optimism

Pessimism is comfortable. It’s weird but true. It’s far easier to see what went wrong and how things are doomed to failure.

The daily news (fake or otherwise) is full of stories of what’s going wrong.

Whether it’s the climate, or politics, or the bee population – we seem to have an abundance of things to mentally criticize.

The thing is criticism generates negative thoughts and feelings.

From the perspective of chakras and auras, every time we generate a negative thought, our aura shrinks and certain chakras tend to slow down a bit.

In the long run, a shrunk aura and slow chakras manifest as faster aging, slower reflexes, and general poor health.

To compensate for that, we purchase a lot of supplements, drink alcohol, maybe smoke or even escape our daily lives by taking frequent holidays.

All of these contribute towards greater financial expenditure and an overall lower quality of life.

Pessimism is literally an expensive lifestyle choice!

The simple solution is to generate five positive thoughts for every single negative thought.

Sure, you may scoff at it initially, but give it a try. Since every thought is energy; every feeling is energy, therefore it can affect us either positively or negatively. So it makes sense to let it have a positive effect on us.

Let’s take an example. Suppose we’re unhappy about the political situation of a country.

That’s the one negative thought. So let’s generate five positive ones. How about:

  •  The world is more connected now, so we are aware of international news immediately.
  • People globally are concerned about other people’s welfare. This is a sign of goodwill.
  • There are protests, which means people are no longer holding on to the past.
  •  There is talk about redemptive measures, which means people are coming out of their shells.
  • It’s probably creating unity amongst the people of an otherwise divided country.

You see? It’s not difficult to think good thoughts. The target is to keep it realistic.

That’s when the depression generated by pessimism fades away. Depression brings down our energy level and reduces our productivity. Worry is a manifestation of pessimism which depletes our energy and even clouds our mind.

“Regulate your mind. Do not worry excessively about the future. If you have done everything that has to be done, the future will take care of itself.” – Master Choa Kok Sui

5. Fill Our Tank Up With Self-Confidence

We need to believe in ourselves in order to grow and shine. If we don’t think we deserve, how can we expect other people to believe in us?

Confidence is not really dependent on the look, position, and family, although they can have effects on it; it is rather connected with what we think of ourselves.

It is related to our self-image. There are many people out there who without education, family background and wealth, became highly successful, just because they believed in themselves. They believed they deserve to be successful, happy and prosperous, just like anyone of us!

We need to believe in ourselves too.

Marian Seldes said that confidence has nothing to do with what you look like.

If you obsess over that, you’ll end up being disappointed in yourself all the time. Instead, high self-esteem comes from how you feel at any moment. So walk into a room acting like you’re in charge, and spend your energy on making the people around you happy.

And to let go of all the above, we can make use of tons of techniques available today.

Affirmation, visualization, and meditation are some of them. Pranic Psychotherapy is another technique available to Pranic Healers.

This technique can be applied by us to effectively remove these thoughts, which some might be the result of several years of negativity, in a short period of time.

We always have a choice, to embrace life or to hide from it; to enjoy life or to disgust it. Life would become so much easier and happier if we could just stop complicating it and let go of self-limiting thoughts and behaviors.

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Katherine Hurst
By Hengameh Fazeli
Hengameh is an architect, writer and overall lover of imagination, philosophy and wholesome living. She is a Ph.D. student in the field of Architecture and Feng Shui and a Pranic Healing Instructor. She has been practicing healing for more than a decade now and has conducted healing and meditation classes in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines till date. Hengameh is passionate about meditation, reflection, and holistic therapy and believes they can bring quality, joy, and simplicity back into our modern life. She is the author of several self-development books. She also writes for various well-known self-motivational websites and magazines.

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