Last week, in part 1 of my “We Are Limitless” blog post series (which you can read here), I shared my belief that we are ALL fearless and determined deep inside. The reason we don’t feel that way sometimes is that we place limitations on ourselves which can derail our progress toward our goals.
“I’ll never be able to ______. I’m not ______ enough or ______ enough.”
Those are the limitations I’m talking about.
Those limitations feel very real to us, so much so that it never even occurs to most of us to question them.
We take those limitations to be our reality and try to work within them, or worse, give up on our goals altogether.
Blaming others for our limitations is an easy trap to fall into. I call it a trap because, in giving others the “power” of limiting us, we also give them (and only them) the power to “un-limit” us.
Read that again:
In giving others the “power” of limiting us, we also give them (and only them) the power to “un-limit” us.
But here’s the reality - no one can “un-limit” us except US.
Because WE are the ones creating those limits. WE are the ones interpreting messages from others in a way that makes them feel like OUR truth.
Once we realize where these beliefs come from, we begin to take back the power to decide what’s right for US.
It starts by seeing how WE are allowing one or more of these things, which I touched on last week, to create our beliefs:
The way we see other people doing things
The way “things have always been done”
The way other people tell us we “should” do things.
As I said last week, the issue isn’t any one of these things specifically.
The issue is our belief that other people are right.
It’s the first of these that I want to discuss this week – the way we see other people doing things.
While their ways may very well be right for them, when it comes to the way WE should do things in pursuit of OUR dreams, WE are the only ones who can decide.
That’s because the way we do things is so personal; it’s based on OUR strengths, OUR weaknesses, and MOST IMPORTANTLY… OUR goals. Not our neighbor’s goals or our sister-in-law’s or even that gorgeous celebrity we look up to so much.
You know how it goes –
She’s 20 pounds lighter than I am. She must be so happy.
She makes a ton of money and still has time to bake freaking cookies for the teachers!
Her house is always so clean (even after baking the damn cookies!).
She works such long hours. That’s why she’s so successful.
She gets up every day and meditates for an hour.
She has her kids enrolled in all the activities, that’s why they’re so smart.
She runs 70+ miles a week. I’ll never BQ unless I do that too!
And on and on…
This, my friend, is the dreaded comparison trap.
How many times have we seen someone else achieving something or looking a certain way and suddenly we feel like a failure, because we aren’t achieving what they are or looking like them.
But here’s the deal – the way that person is doing things may be right… FOR THEM. Who knows, it may even NOT be right for them;
they might be looking at how someone else is living and feel like a failure for not living like THAT person.
And on and on… (again)
Truthfully, when we look to how other people are doing things to find our truth…
we are making one faulty assumption - that the person we are comparing ourselves to knows what the hell they’re doing…
…and therefore they are somehow “better” than we are.
I’m here to tell you, 90% of the time, they don’t. We’re all a mess! (I actually wrote a blog post about it, which you can read here.)
Deep down, I think very few people in this world actually know what they’re doing at any given point in their journey. Sure, we can plan and take steps, but we’re always kind of making it up as we go along. #TRUTH
SO, why are we looking at how other people are doing things? Because we believe they know what they’re doing. AND, because they’re “successful,” we believe what they’re doing is how things “should” be done.
Role models are incredibly helpful. I have many. We can look at the steps they’ve taken to get where they are and decide if those steps work FOR US. But we are not those people, living the same circumstances. We don’t have the same metabolism or family life or financial situation to begin with. We are living OUR life, not theirs, and the trouble arises when we think we are LESS because we haven’t achieved what they have.
Inspirational role models are healthy; comparison is not.
And #realitycheck, at the end of the day, those role models go home to messy houses, get GI issues, break out in pimples, binge on sugar, lose it with their kids and have moments of doubt just like the rest of us.
This is YOUR journey. These are YOUR dreams. Only YOU can know, deep in your heart, what is right for you.
And also what’s NOT right for you.
In a few weeks, I’ll be talking about how we can figure out what IS right for us, but we have a few more obstacles to overcome first. So for now, let’s just try to be aware and notice when we fall into the comparison trap. And when we do, remember this –
NO ONE has their shit together as much as we think they do. NO ONE.