I tend to look to the future to give me something to work towards. That future, many times, has become a moving target. Why? Because I was holding myself back – I was sabotaging my success. I’ve had great success in my life and career – however, I knew I could do more, reach farther, achieve better results. It seemed safer and easier to stick with the status quo.
Clients I have coached have sabotaged their happiness through excessive eating or drinking, always procrastinating, constantly complaining and finding the negative side of everything to the extent others did not want to be around them. They always had a date for when they would start to work on their goals. Like me, they would start, then stop or put it off until tomorrow.
I’ll tell you, those moments when I did achieve what I set out to – I felt fantastic, and nothing could stop me. I had to look in the mirror and ask myself why I didn’t do more of that behaviour. The only one holding me back was me.
My Inner Child vs. My Adult Self
I’ve learned some interesting traits about myself.
When stress and anxiety set in – I had to stop what I was doing and think about what was on my mind. I had to find the thoughts that I kept buried inside – the ones I tried to suppress. It was an excellent exercise – 100% of the time. Either on my own or with the help of a counselor, I would acknowledge the hidden anger, hurt, frustration, fear – whatever it was – I had to bring it to the surface. Then I would figure out how the situation made me feel, how it impacted me and what I really wanted to have happened. Then I put a plan in place to eliminate the situation.
When I didn’t do that, anxiety and stress would take over. I’d feel tired, sometimes nauseous, had headaches and had no appetite. I felt unmotivated, anti-social, had no creativity, no spark, no energy – I was not Sandra.
I learned that I did not have enough self-worth. I was a mature, intelligent woman capable of success. However, I had moments when I felt my responses or reactions to certain situations were incredibly juvenile. I learned that I had been emotionally hurt as a child and had to heal that part of me. Many of us have heard the term inner child – I was one of those people who still had my inner child, and she was holding me back.
When a situation upset me, I learned to follow a few powerful and sometimes painful steps:
- What am I feeling?
- Is it something adult Sandra is feeling or is it little Sandy shaking things up?
- What is the belief I have that is contributing to that feeling?
- Then I had to address the belief – is it a valid one or a self-limiting belief I adopted as a child and continued to carry it with me into my adult life.
- Does the belief serve me well as an adult and if not, what can I replace it with?
Knowing the Right Way to React
It was the unconscious beliefs I carried that impacted my behaviour. If I felt unworthy, I would be afraid to pursue my goals. If I felt unworthy, I would anticipate that others are trying to hurt me and I wouldn’t trust their good intentions. The unhealed part of my childhood was alive and well and sabotaging my success.
That was a huge step for me in that I was able to stop myself from reacting inappropriately. If it was little Sandy reacting – then the response was not the right one for the adult situation I was in. The childish view and emotion of an unhealed part of me would take over the adult logic.
With the help of a counselor, I was able to identify it when it came up and stop it.
As a result, I now feel 100% in control of my destiny and my happiness. Once I learned how to recognize my self-limiting beliefs and resulting behaviors and the techniques to heal and replace them, my destructive behavior was in decline. I am now in a much better and healthier frame of mind to pursue my goals.