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‘Other People Are Holding Me Back’ And 13 Other Defeating Thoughts That Are Keeping You Lost

1. The idea that other people are somehow “in your way” or “holding you back” or in any way keeping you from moving forward.

While other people can be obstacles, other people are not immovable forces. What can be an immovable force is your own unwillingness to face hard things, and hard people, in order to keep going. When you say, “So and So is holding me back,” what you really mean is, “I’m not willing to work hard enough to face them so they’re no longer an issue in my life.” The only person who can be in your way or hold you back is you.

2. The idea that immaturity doesn’t have an expiration date.

If you’re closer to 30 than 18, it’s time to stop acting like a teenager. There is a difference between being silly and having a good time and living, and intentionally being a mess and a hurricane of a human being. Peter Pan is a story—not a lifestyle. There will come a day where your immaturity will stop being an lol and you’ll just be the person who everyone is whispering about. Choose to get it together. You can still be fun and be responsible. It’s possible.

3. The thought that people should just KNOW what’s going on.

People are not mind readers. If you want something, say something. If you feel something, say it. You can’t expect to put anything into motion by staying silent. Use your voice. Ask the right questions. Ask for help. Ask for what you need. Nothing changes or comes to fruition by just sitting still and hoping someone will do it for you because of their sheer intuition.

4. The mentality that things just happen to you, instead of you MAKING them happen.

If you’re going to sit around waiting for something like destiny or fate, you’re probably going to be waiting for a long time. Waiting for a magical moment or destiny or for things to just serendipitously fall into place is a lazy way of saying, “I don’t feel like making this work or happen myself.” Take control of your own life, of your own destiny. Don’t be the person that life just “happens” to.

5. The idea that just showing up is working hard.

If you’re comfortable in a plateau or not growing, sure! But showing up is just the first step. Showing up to the party is not participating. Doing the bare minimum is not the same as working hard. It’s working, but it’s not going the extra mile. It’s not looking for more that you can do, more that you can be. You’ll be stagnant, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

6. The notion that you should wait to be handed a roadmap to success, instead of figuring out your own.

Getting help from people, asking for opinions, and learning from others are all tools to success and to finding your way. But the only person who can TRULY find your own way, is you. You’re not going to figure things out by carbon copying what someone else did. You need to carve your own path. Instead of waiting for someone to show you which direction to go in, you need to decide that for yourself and just go.

7. The idea that criticism is inherently negative.

You are not perfect. You are deeply flawed and probably make mistakes daily. The idea that you are or should be immune to criticism is honestly, laughable. If your first reaction to being critiqued is, “This is just mean” or “This is trolling” or “No one would ever say something like this to me because it’s not praise” you have a lot of work to do.

8. The idea that a dream or a job has to define you.

Dreams will change. The things you want in high school, college, your 20s, and beyond are going to morph and change. If you allow yourself to be defined by something that is not permanent, you are setting yourself for a slew of confusion and self-doubt and disappointment when those dreams either 1) don’t work out or 2) change entirely. Allowing yourself to be defined by one thing, but especially something so impermanent, is a recipe for feeling lost.

9. The belief that luck will change everything.

Luck isn’t controllable. Luck isn’t predictable. And, most importantly, luck is not something you can count on. If you’re waiting for luck to change everything what you’re really saying is, “I don’t care enough to change my circumstances myself.”

10. The thought that if you just had “x” then everything would fall into place.

Things like money, success, relationships, and circumstance definitely make things easier, but they are not end-all-be-all solutions to your problems. You can have an amazing boyfriend, and still be depressed. You can have a great salary, and still feel unsatisfied. You can live in an awesome city, and still feel like you’re missing something. By putting too much stress on the things you don’t have you’re losing sight of all the things you do. And all of the things you COULD have if you just went for them.

11. The mistake of looking for external factors when failure happens, instead of looking inwardly.

And the end of the day, the common denominator in all of your failures is you. You will learn WAY more when instead of thinking, “Wow look at all the things that happened to me,” you’ll think, “What could I learn from this to do differently in the future?” By approaching shitty situations and failure from a place of wanting to learn, you’re taking control of the way you handle yourself and your life and prevently future failures from knocking you back in the same way.

12. The belief that change will be easy.

Nothing about change for anyone on this earth, no matter their level of confidence or status or whatever, has an easy time with change. Change is hard. Change is exhausting. Change makes you question everything and feel anxious and like nothing makes sense. It’s supposed to. If growth isn’t difficult to a certain extent, it’s not actually growth. They are called growing pains for a reason.

13. The idea that you can never be wrong.

Catch yourself. Are you the person who always makes excuses for why something isn’t your fault or you were simply misunderstood? It’s very human to go, “No no no! This isn’t my fault! Here’s why I’m not wrong!” But people will respect you a lot more and be a lot more inclined to help you along the way if you learn to own when you’re wrong. If you learn to be honest with where you can improve. Being able to own your shortcomings and learn from your mistakes will not only make you a stronger and wiser person (as cliché as that might sound) but it makes you better. Just all around, better.

14. The hope that one day you’ll just wake up and not feel lost.

This is idealistic, and it’s sweet and nice…but it’s not real. The fact of the matter is if you’re waiting to just wake up and *know* what you’re supposed to be doing or not feel lost anymore, you’ve basically created a world in which you will always feel lost. The only way to get yourself out of a funk is to decide you want to and then proactively make an effort to pull yourself out. No one can do the work to improve your own life other than you. So decide you’re done feeling lost and then ask yourself the next question. What am I going to do beside talking about being lost so that I don’t have to feel this way another day? Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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