What’s holding you back?
A friend asked me that recently. That is the question of a real friend by the way. Anyone that can inject that kind of reality into a conversation is a real friend. The kind you want to keep around and on speed dial. The timing was especially interesting as well. The night before, I had a dream about driving. In the dream, I had just purchased a new car and decided to take it for a spin. It wasn’t driving quite right; it was hesitant and didn’t handle well. It accelerated much slower than I would have expected.
When I got back from my attempt at a joy ride, I realized as I was getting out of the car that I had left the emergency brake on. That explained a lot of things. As did my friend’s question.
In my rear view I realize that in his question there was also a statement. Something was holding me back. That he assumed. And he was curious if I knew what it was.
I didn’t. At the time. Now, looking back through that rear view mirror, I know that it was unresolved grief.
So, what’s holding you back? What is keeping you from pursuing the dreams you have? What is your emergency brake? Here’s a list of the top three that have held me back over the years:
There is a grief that is a necessary and normal part of loss. But if we can’t move through it and, instead, get mired in it by constantly recalling the loss or, just as harmful, ignoring it, then we can end up stuck in it. Grief is not something that was meant to be handled alone. It takes a community of people, carefully selected soul friends, and sometimes professional help from a trained therapist. For me, it was all three.
My wife’s bff has a tattoo of a humming bird on her arm and the line, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When I am not secure in my own path, I tend to look at others and wish I could be like them, have their unique gifts and abilities. I begin to compare myself to them and then rehearse all the ways I could never measure up. All this amounts to a huge distraction from recognizing my own unique abilities and working the field of my calling.
What are you afraid of? For the longest time I was afraid to succeed. I was afraid that if I succeeded I would end up lonely. (Ever heard the phrase, “It’s lonely at the top?” I turned that into a fear-laden mantra and rehearsed it constantly.) I was also afraid that if I succeeded I would make others who were not succeeding feel bad. Then one day I realized I was never asked to be the manager of their feelings or reactions. Imagine that! I’m not responsible for that. (Take that off the “to do” list, thank you very much.)
Those are just my top three … what are yours?
“And courage is a weapon we must use to find some life you can’t refuse.” –Over the Rhine, Etcetera Whatever
Photo (Flickr CC) by banspy