I never, ever thought that I'd be able to do a split. I've always been jealous of the ladies who were so effortlessly flexible that they could stretch their bodies any way they wanted. My body, on the other hand, is rigid. It's easy for me to "other" myself. Those ladies can be flexible, but my body is different. I can't.
This kind of mindset has bled into multiple areas of my life - and I'm guessing that you can relate, too. It's a two-part self-sabotage: you (a) have a specific view about what is or isn't possible for you, and (b) are firmly set in the belief that it is different for other people, but you're the unfortunate exception.
And so, to put it bluntly, we keep ourselves stuck. We may tell ourselves, "Of course, I want to be healthier!" or "I really want a healthy relationship" or "I want to graduate and get the job of my dreams." But when those words are really underlined with the belief of "that can never happen for me," you've sabotaged your race -- by not allowing yourself to step out of the gate.
Do you see? Your self-deprecating or limiting mindset is stopping you from even starting. You're looking at an entire mountain, focusing on how impossible it is for you to climb, or how it'll take you to reach the top. And because of this, your currently reality is the only truth you'll embrace. "I'm at the bottom."
Everything starts from a base. Every professional started as a clumsy student. Every healthy relationships started with a learning curve. And so on, and so on...
So, what's your thing? What is the glass box you've placed yourself in?
I can remember talking with my best friend about being unsure about starting grad school. "It'll take two whole years!" The thought of uprooting my life and moving away from what was familiar was unfathomable. And the two to five years after graduation to complete clinical hours? It'd take way too long to become a licensed marriage and family therapist. Not to mention the multiple courses and hours of supervision to become a certified sex therapist. It was overwhelming!
And, I can remember what one of my professors in grad school said to me: "whether you go for it or not, that time will still pass."
So I began. I packed my bags. Took the leap. And that first semester in a new state, with unfamiliar faces, was hard. My mental health took a huge hit. I regretted the decision several times, until... I took my first class on affair recovery and fell in love with the field, with the work. Suddenly, work didn't feel like work anymore.
And today, 6 years later, I am a licensed marriage and family therapist and one step from full certification as a faith-informed sex therapist. A long time, sure. But this moment is real. It is here. And it took several baby steps to get here.
Adjusting to the Dream Come True
Ah, but what happened when I reached the goal? What happens when you reach your goals?
There is a moment of celebration, sure... but there is also a moment of... pause. And the pause requires integration.
Can you accept that this accomplishment, this shift in life stages, is now a part of your reality?
If you used to struggle to find food to eat meals, and now you can afford to order an extra serving at restaurants: can you allow yourself to enjoy this?
If you have suffered through infertility and miscarriages for years and, for the first time, enter your second trimester of pregnancy: how does it feel to have reached a milestone of joy? can you enjoy this?
If you have desired a healthy relationship with your spouse, and after years of fighting and poor intimacy, they finally begin opening up and communicating with you: can you allow this to be the new state of your marriage?
Those are all heavier examples, of course, because I believe that life calls us to complexities. But, to return to my much simpler example: I did the cobra pose for the first time today, and an elbow stand for the first time last week.
I was so sure that my body didn't bend or move this way. I had given up on trying; just watched with awe as others were able to do it. And, now that I can... I have two options:
(a) accept and welcome this as a new reality for me. Enjoy the new ability. Understand that a part of how I know myself has changed...and so there is more to explore. Move upwards. Move forwards. Continue stretching and see slow and steady win the race.
(b) let fear of change take over. Call it a fluke, a random anomaly that only happened because the instructor was helping. Revert my mind to believing that I still cannot do these things, or that this change won't last. Stay stuck. Stop stretching. Stop trying. Quit.
Accept, welcome and explore; or let fear take the steering wheel. These are your options.
So, what's your situation? Where are your limiting yourself? Try identifying your scarcity mindset. Then, once you've pinpointed it, look for other areas in life where you've already overcome or surpassed a previous limiting belief. Did you follow Path A? Or Path B?
Your mindset influences more than you consciously know.
Hey, luv! I'm Sadé!
I am a licensed marriage and family therapist and a dating coach for ladies impacted by Purity Culture.
If you're as intrigued by the Deep Dive as I am, subscribe to the My Intimacy Therapist Podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.