Facing Your Worst Enemy

Before you go ahead and click into the cut of this blog post, I want you to do a (very brief) exercise. Take a minute or two to think about the following questions, and try to come up with one – or maybe more – people who you think would answer the question regarding your life.

1) Is there someone in your life who is holding you back from recognizing your dreams and full potential?

2) Is there someone who belittles you, puts you down, and discourages you from doing things due to the potential for failure?

3) Is there someone who makes you question your abilities, even when things are going seemingly well? For instance – let’s say you just started a new job, one you are definitely qualified for but that may be very different from a previous position. Is there someone who tells you “I don’t know if you can handle that?”

Have you figured it out yet?

For myself, possibly for you and I’m certain for a lot of people – the answer to all of those questions is “myself.” Often, we are our own worst enemy, the person that puts us down the most, the one that makes us doubt our own abilities and the potential our life holds. It’s time to put an end to that, shake ourselves out of this pattern of thinking and rebuild ourselves from the ground up.

So how do we solve this seemingly eternal struggle?

I won’t act like there’s some easy, one-step fix for it that will solve all your problems for the rest of your life. It’s a pattern that’s often naturally ground into us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t step out of it. It’s also a pattern that often arises when there’s something new, risky or even a little scary involved; it’s perfectly natural for us to be wary of these situations and perhaps do everything in our power to convince ourselves that, HEY, maybe this isn’t a great idea because what about all the risks and what happens if it goes wrong? We doubt ourselves and then sometimes that doubt becomes so powerful, we end up fulfilling our own prophecies.

One trick to learn: catching yourself in the act. Be able to recognize when you’re being your own worst enemy, when you’re doubting yourself and holding yourself back. Then learn how to stop yourself and recognize these thought patterns. It’s not easy, it will take time but with practice, you’ll get there.

I’ll throw in a little personal anecdote here to hopefully allow anyone reading this to relate. I recently began a new job – full-time, in a new department, with all different people, responsibilities and expectations. Clearly, I was qualified for the position – after being interviewed by three people, they all agreed to offer me the job. My family, my friends, my former coworkers, all wished me luck, encouraged me and told me they knew I could handle it.  Yet on that first day as I was taught a whole host of new things, I doubted myself. I got home and said “Wow, I don’t know if I can do this….” and then I stoppped. I recognized that this pattern of thinking was negative, unhealthy and downright not helpful and I stopped it. If everyone else believed in me, why would I doubt myself? I was being my own worst enemy right then, and recognizing it for the most part allowed me to stop it, turn my way of thinking about and get out of my own way, because sometimes you’ll find that the one standing in your way when you’re trying to get down the road of life…. is yourself.

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