Why Do We Limit Ourselves? Mikki St. Germain/Author/Speaker
Life/Health/ Business Coach
How many times have you had an opportunity to do something then that wave of internal conflict begins? Your inner voice keeps reminding you of the fear and self-doubt or maybe even feeling foolish and wondering what “other” people will think. Finally, you have convinced yourself not to do it and it’s gone. What if you didn’t think about it and just acted upon the urge instead of talking yourself out of an opportunity?
My four-year-old daughter and I lived in San Diego, California. I had her enrolled in preschool since I was working full time. If you’re not familiar with Southern California, it rains only a few months out of the year. However, when it does rain, it pours. The first rain of the season is a disaster. The roads become very slippery from the oil building up.
One evening when I was leaving late from work, it began to rain. Traffic was backing up and I started to watch the clock. The preschool my daughter attended would charge for every five-minutes you were late in picking up your child. Now as a single mom making very little money, every minute to me counted. I was feeling the stress of time and the anxiety of driving as I watched accidents occur all around me. When I finally arrived at the daycare, it was pouring and all of the front parking spots were taken, forcing me to park around back. I had no umbrella so I pulled my suit jacket up over my head and made a mad dash for the door.
Waiting at the door along with the other children and their parents, stood my daughter smiling. I hugged her and she laughed, “Mommy, you’re all wet.” I replied, “I know sweetie, let me go sign you out.” I signed her out and she pulled on me and said, “Let’s go.” I hesitated and said, “Wait! It’s pouring; let’s give it a minute to lighten up.” Before I could keep rationalizing why we should not go out in the rain, my daughter was out the door and jumped into the puddle with a splash. I ran outside to get her but before I could grab her little hand and start running to the car, she let out a laugh and put her head up to catch the rain in her mouth. She said, “Taste the rain, Mommy.” By now I was soaked and already committed to being in the rain. I took her by the hand and said, “C’mon sweetie, let’s go – it’s pouring.” She stood fast and did not move. She said, “Just one more minute.”
Without hesitation, I threw my head back and let the rain drops fall on my face. I held her hand and we both stood there catching rain on our tongues. The only thing I could hear was my daughters’ laughter. We began to skip back to the car. Skipping was our thing. We splashed through every puddle laughing until we reached the car. I put her in her car seat and wrapped a dry sweatshirt over her to keep her warm since we were both soaked. I sat for a moment in the parking lot and watched other parents running with their kids in tow to avoid getting wet.
I think about that moment with my daughter and I am so grateful. I didn’t care what other people thought as they watched out the window. I didn’t care that my only pair of business shoes were soaked. For just that moment, I let go. I didn’t allow my limitations to convince me of missing an opportunity. Instead I created a memory with my daughter.
I have to wonder how many other parents really wanted
to be out in the rain with us, however limited themselves
from doing it. Our limitations only prevent us from
opportunities, adventure, love and living a moment of joy.
The most important question we forget to ask ourselves during our limitation process is; what could be the real cost of not trying something? Taking a chance? Grasping an opportunity? Too often we set limitations on ourselves based on other’s opinions: What will people think? Our fears: What if I fail like the last time? Or self-doubt: What if I can’t do this?
We choose to stay safe within our limitations. It is easier because we already know the outcome. If we remove the limitations then we risk the pain of disappointment or the pain of failure. However, by lifting our limitations we open ourselves up to new, and often, positive experiences.
So why do we have this internal conflict? Somewhere along the line we have decided we can’t or we won’t take the same risk again. Or maybe our past experiences produced a bad outcome. We become terrified of trying something over again, or something new. We have this vision and memory of what happened that caused us pain, disappointment, embarrassment or failure.
We then begin to weigh all of our decisions based on this fear instead the possibility of a good outcome. This causes us to tie ourselves to this emotional baggage and the weight of those emotions keeps us from acting on what we really want. This is where the self limitations begin.
We need to re-evaluate the outcome. What could have been done differently that would change the event? Is there something we can take responsibility for that would have caused a different outcome? Is it something we had no control over in the first place and now we need to decide how we are going to let those feelings affect us? The most important question we can ask ourselves is; what did we learn?
By figuring out what we learn from each decision, good or bad, we can allow ourselves to remove the “fear-based” limitations.
I’ll let you in on a little secret; Success can only come with failure. That is how we learn to move forward. Failure, no matter how difficult to handle, gives us the new information we did not know prior. Thomas Edison said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” What we choose to do with that information is up to us.
We all deserve a successful life. We deserve a loving relationship, a successful career, great self-esteem and vibrant health. The first step to going forward is removing our emotional baggage, start evaluating our limitations and make a choice to move forward.
Breaking through limitations only takes the strength of our decisions! Mikki St. Germain/Author/Speaker
Life/Health/ Business Coach www.gotbaggage.net