To lead a fulfilling life, it is often necessary to set reasonable goals and expectations for ourselves and our future. However, sometimes, life or personal habits get in the way of our potential ability to lead a happy life. Here are just a few things that may be holding you back from achieving your goals, and why dealing with them in a healthy way can put you on the road to a happier future.
1. You Have a Fear of Failure
If you’ve ever experienced it, you’ll probably know that a fear of failure is often paradoxical: When we worry excessively about failing at a given task or pursuit, it is often the case that we’re actually driven by an intense need to prove ourselves in the eyes of others.
When motivated by a fear of failure, we never risk committing to any situation in which we might come up short; paralysed by the thought that we might fail in a given field or endeavour, we stop attempting to succeed. In doing so, we permit ourselves to live out a mediocre version of our true potential just because we feel it’s safe and comfortable enough that we won’t face any failures.
2. You’re Too Self-Critical
If fear of failure isn’t holding you back, perhaps excessive self-criticism is the culprit. A bit of self-criticism can be a good and even healthy thing now and then, but when it becomes a constant and unrelenting thought spiral, self-criticism may end up undermining our ability to set and achieve our most valued goals.
By empathising with ourselves as we would for a trusted friend, we can often rebuild our self-esteem and move forward towards the life we truly want to live. When it comes to looking inwards at ourselves, we are often much more unnecessarily critical. A good rule of thumb is this: if you wouldn’t say it about a friend, you shouldn’t say it about yourself.
3. You’re Coping Alone with a Difficult Mental Health Condition
We’ve all heard the statistic time and time again, but that’s because it is true: 1 in 4 people will suffer at some point in their life with a mental health condition. Whether it has been diagnosed for them or not, many people will try to cope with a serious mental health issue such as depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or autism by simply “powering through” the condition on their own.
Without the aid of a doctor or therapist, however, pushing through a mental health condition on one’s own can result in intense feelings of isolation and desperation. The good news is that with treatment by trusted GPs and medical professionals, people experiencing mental health conditions can often accomplish far more in life than they’d ever thought possible.
4. You’re in a Co-Dependent Spiral
When we’ve grown up in a codependent household or experienced a codependent relationship firsthand, we may not realise how much we place the needs of others before our own. Co-dependence can make us feel guilty when we aren’t taking care of those around us, and we’ll often experience burnout as we put aside our own needs to focus on the problems of other people.
With far less time to address our wants and goals in life, we spiral into a pattern of putting our ambitions on the back-burner to “save” people who cannot or will not be saved. Fortunately, learning about self-care can often help us undo years of codependent thinking.
While it isn’t always easy to understand our deepest motivations and ambitions, taking the time to understand what is holding us back from pursuing our dreams can be a life-changing experience. And that is truly life at its best!