6 Self-Limiting Behaviors That’ll Keep You From Being Your Best

Change your mindset to create a better future

Photo by Ludovic Charlet on Unsplash

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” — E.E. Cummings

Ever felt you weren’t qualified enough for a job? Make music but think no one will like your songs? Have you ever heard the following:

“I’m not sure if it’s meant for me.”

“I’m too old.”

“What if it doesn’t work out?”

We’ve all have had moments of uncertainty, but we shouldn’t allow these thoughts to control the narrative for our lives. The greatest reward we can give ourselves isn’t material things, but the gift of self-improvement.

In order to improve our lives, we have to overcome the limits we set on ourselves. Changing our mindset helps us to become the best version of ourselves.

Thinking Too Small

People have missed out on opportunities by underestimating their abilities. This lack of confidence can cause us to settle instead of going for what we really want.

Mindset is shaped by events from childhood. Repeated rejection and shaming causes people to feel defeated and molds their outlook of life. People think small because it’s comfortable. Thinking big is scary. It’s unfamiliar territory that causes most people to make excuses to play it safe.

No one has experienced growth in the comfort zone. In order for us to get what we want, we have to do things that scare us. Our mind likes to play tricks on us and create exaggerated scenarios that probably won’t happen. We psyche ourselves out before we even try.

I have times where I doubt myself. When I do, I think of all of the challenges I’ve overcome. If I’ve gotten over one hurdle, I can get over another one. This helps to assure myself that anything I want to do starts within the mind.

The way we think shapes our reality. We have to be mindful of what we surround ourselves with and what we digest. Everything we see, hear, and experience plays a role in how we live. Introducing positive influences will help transform our way of thinking for the better.

Thinking big isn’t always welcomed. Sometimes people will try to dissuade you from aiming high. People will shoot down your goals because they aren’t brave enough to chase theirs. They may not even have goals. Seeing others taking a chance reminds them of what they aren’t doing and makes them uncomfortable — but that’s not your fault. Don’t let it deter you, let it fuel you. Ignore the voice in your head telling you it’s not worth the effort because it is. Ignore anyone who doesn’t want you to win.

Fantasizing Instead Of Taking Action

We fantasize about everything in life. We fantasize about having more money, going on vacations, dating someone we like, even quitting our job.

Fantasizing is a natural thing everyone does. However, we should not confuse our reality with fabricated thoughts. It becomes a problem when we imagine a life we don’t plan to work towards. In a way, fantasizing is like eating junk food. We do it for pleasure instead of seeking to reap benefits.

Fantasizing without action is a form of procrastination. Instead of going to the gym and working on that body you want, you daydream about it while sitting on the couch stuffing your face. Instead of building a business, you imagine yourself on the cover of Forbes and living the entrepreneur lifestyle.

Going after what you want takes time, effort, and a bit of risk. It makes sense why nothing worth having comes easy. If it were, everyone would be living the life fantastic. Fantasizing is easy because it’s effortless. Just thinking about what we want is enough to keep people complacent. We’re always successful and never fail. We skip the challenges and get to the good parts. It’s a distraction that robs us of real-world experiences.

Daydreaming is fine until it becomes chronic. You can end up training your brain to believe fantasy is all that you need. This will cause you to live inside your head and fall into escapism.

A way to fix this is to become honest with yourself. You won’t get the body you want because you’re too lazy to exercise. You’re not resilient enough to run a company because the slightest form of hardship would make you quit. Unless you change, you’ll spend the rest of your life living vicariously through others because chasing your dreams is too hard.

You’ll either have two reactions. You’ll either say “You’re right” and continue being mediocre.

Or, you’ll fight. You’ll prove yourself wrong and end up with the very things you wanted.

“Fantasizing without action is a form of procrastination.”

Understand the difference between fantasizing and visualizing. Fantasy is wishful thinking that may never happen. Visualizing is picturing something you want with the intent to work towards it. Set goals and take small steps towards these goals. Little by little, you’ll see that real life is much better than what you imagined.

Blaming Others For Your Faults

If you’re reading this, there is a good chance you know someone who blames others for what happens to them. In every scenario, they refuse to accept they are the common denominator in their shortcomings.

Do you know someone whose breakups were always the exes fault? Someone who can’t keep a job because of their coworkers and boss? Blaming others is easy because it involves no accountability. People get to control the narrative into a version that benefits them. Blaming others protects their ego and they would rather be “right” than own up to their mistakes.

I’ve had conversations with people about things that happen in their lives. A common theme I’ve realized was the lack of accountability. Most people’s problems can easily be fixed, yet it would take them admitting they are at fault. Some people don’t like being wrong and stick to a victim-like mentality. Some people constantly find themselves in bad situations by their own doing.

This lack of responsibility causes more harm than good. It can cost people friendships and relationships if they aren’t careful. When we blame others for our shortcomings, we stunt our emotional growth. It takes humility to be able to say, “Hey, this was on me. I can do better.”

Self-improvement forces people to check their ego and embrace being wrong sometimes. Taking ownership means becoming vulnerable and many people don’t like to feel exposed — but it’s necessary. Everyone is flawed and perfection is a myth. Once we accept our flaws we’re able to start a path towards personal development.

“When you blame others for your shortcomings, you stunt your emotional growth.”

Photo by Nikola Johnny Mirkovic on Unsplash

Comparing Yourself To Others

People spend hours scrolling social media comparing their life to people they don’t know. People take comparisons to heart when it involves someone they know.

Comparison is a natural thing that everyone does — including me. We compare our finances, our physical health, relationships, lifestyles, and careers. Comparison is fine until it affects your self-esteem. When your self-esteem comes into play, envy starts to arise and it’s never a good thing.

Everything isn’t always what it seems. The person you see always traveling on social media and buying material things may be trying to fill a void. The perfect relationship may be problematic off camera. The person with the high paying job may be miserable and want a way out. It’s easy to create a social media persona because we can control what we want others to see. Very few show their reality because they believe it makes them less appealing.

You may not realize it, but there is a chance someone out there may be envious of you. If you have a roof over your head, food in the fridge, and people who care about you then you’re doing well. There are people who would give anything to have some of those things. This is a good reason to show gratitude and count your blessings.

Be genuinely happy for others because you don’t want to see anyone struggling in life. Understand that everyone has their own path in life and one person’s path isn’t meant for someone else. Use comparisons where it matters. Find those who inspire you to become a better person. In the end, material things aren’t the main goal — having joy is.

Putting Other’s Wants Before Your Own

Sometimes we catch ourselves doing a lot for others and not enough for ourselves. Being selfless is a good trait to have, but never at the expense of our own happiness. We do ourselves a disservice when we continually put others wants before our own.

Being a people pleaser seems like a good trait, but it’s actually unhealthy. We find ourselves solving everyone’s problems and running to everyone’s rescue as if we’re a personal maid or butler.

This is coming from a reformed people pleaser. When I was younger, I would find myself rushing through what I was doing because someone asked me to do them a favor. Many of my decisions were based on what I thought would make other people happy instead of what made me happy.

One day, I asked myself, “How many of these people would do the same for me?” It wasn’t about them returning the favor, but noticing that other people would prioritize themselves first. If they were in the middle of something, they wouldn’t rush to help me. They would finish what they were doing before seeing what I needed. If they were taking their time, it was only fair I do the same.

I realized doing too much can hurt — especially when it comes to expecting others to do as much for you as you do for them. It was the wake-up call that I needed. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in life is to not expect ourselves in other people. We shouldn’t be upset when we are quick to assist others and they are slow to help us. In fact, they may not even help at all. It’s a harsh reminder to do for others without expectation.

Prioritizing self-care is a good way to reverse people-pleasing. We should look after ourselves as much as look after others. Everyone needs a break once in a while and we shouldn’t feel guilty for taking one. Being selfish isn’t always a bad thing. It’s okay to have as much “me” time as you need. This avoids getting burned out from constant giving and doing for others.

It’s okay to say no. In fact, saying no is a good thing — it’s my favorite word. It shows us who is able to accept rejection and who isn’t.

You may come across people who will guilt trip you for putting yourself first. These aren’t people you want in your life.

It can take some time to adjust from your servant-life ways. After some time you will see the benefits and become a much happier person.

Finding a healthy balance helps you maintain good standing with others while also taking care of your own wants and needs. You matter and it’s time you realize it.

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

Asking For Permission

Asking for permission is not doing what you want because you’re afraid of the consequences. As long as you care what others think, you will be a prisoner to their opinions. You can’t truly live until you do things on your terms.

One of the biggest lessons I learned was from my grandmother, who told me to become my own person. Letting the world tell you how to live is NOT how you want to live. As children, we’re so used to asking for permission to do things that we don’t break the habit once we’re older. Yes, being considerate is great, but as we get older we should be working to live a more self-fulfilling lifestyle.

Everyone loves the idea of doing whatever they want, yet very few actually do. People brag about not taking a day off in years because so they can look good for the boss. This is what I call dumb validation.

Don’t wear yourself out because you want to look good for others. Do yourself a favor and take that break.

We never want to make a move until the time is right. We want to save up a little more for a vacation. We want to wait for the stars to align before we take action. This ties into a lack of confidence and fear of failure. We feel bound by the rules of society and social norms and that fear of backlash keeps us in line. Always looking for assurance is how most people end up nowhere. Sometimes, we have to take a leap of faith and hope we land safely.

“As children, we’re so used to asking for permission to do things that we don’t break the habit once we’re older.”

If you want to experience happiness, you’re going to have to break a few rules. It doesn’t mean become an outlaw, per se. It means when it comes to doing something that you really want, go on a whim and make it happen. You never know who is watching and who you could help overcome a similar issue.

Get that haircut or dye it a different color. Buy that coat. Move to a new city. Take a random vacation. Treat yourself because you’re not controlled by outside opinions! There are plenty of examples of things to do, but the main point is to do what makes you happy. You only have one life to live. The best way to live is without limits.

As far as work ethic, we as humans can learn a lot from ants. Don’t be nice, be kind.

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