3 overriding obstacles to moving forward

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Each of us has our own list of issues that block our paths, stymie our efforts and keep us stuck. We might even be willing to admit some items on our lists are self-induced and based on a lifetime of conditioning by people in our lives and consequences from a variety of circumstances. And while each of those issues are valid and worthy of investigation, I believe they can be culled under three general headings that are the overriding obstacles to our moving forward.

Here they are:

The burdens of the past

Few of us I think can claim to be completely free of our pasts. There is always something, however small, that lingers long after its full-fledged attack; long after every other issue has been dealt with and cleared off the table. If we are honest, we will own up to not only harbouring some burden from back in the day but allowing it to wedge itself in the wheel of our life, severely hindering our development and progress.

A burden is a heavy load, weighing down, weakening and even crippling the person who is carrying it. You might consider your past as simply a collection of good and bad memories with no real power over you. But left unchecked, they can run rough shod over your mind and your emotions and slowly assume control of every facet of your life.

In the same way that positive experiences influence us for good and generate logical, creative and productive thoughts, feelings and actions, negative experiences manipulate our beliefs about ourselves, people and the world at large. They stimulate perplexing and irrational emotions and provoke actions that muddle and disrupt our lives.

Psychological counselling can help you to unearth the burdens of your past that are still upsetting you and complicating your life today. Wouldn’t you like to move from a complaining, disgruntled and bitter person to one who faces his or her past, deals with it once and for all, leave the worst of it behind, walk away with the good parts and move forward with your life?.Then try the following step-by-step process to lighten the psychological and emotional load you are carrying and free yourself to move forward.

• Acknowledge the reality of your past

• Break it down

• Capitalize on the positives

• Discard what is hurting your life

Am I saying that it is easy? No. It is a downright difficult task, laden with emotional upheaval. Yet, if you really wish to reach the destination you have only been dreaming about, it is a necessary process.

The challenges of the present

The realities of life in this century are staggering. We are called upon to stop lagging behind and “get with the program”, be technology savvy, dress for success, act like we’re already successful, be feminine but hold our own in any male-dominated arena, multitask, stay focused, ward of stress and overwhelm, be ambitious, assertive, proactive, and a multitude of other demands.

Every day is a challenge to do what we have to do at work, do it well, even excel. Then switch gears to manage our home and families and still find time for ourselves, our friends and our personal interests.

These simple and much touted practices will help:

• Preserve your spiritual strength with prayer and meditation.

• Propel your physical health with regular exercise and healthy eating.

• Prime your mind with material that instructs and informs.

• Pamper yourself with quality time-out and self-nurturing activities.

• Protect your cherished relationships.

The fear of the future

If you think the present is troubling and difficult, I can imagine why you are afraid of future. But being afraid in a vacuum doesn’t help.

What about the future frightens you? Knowing what you fear and why, is the first step towards making sense of your anxieties.

The Serenity Prayer coined by Reinhold Niebuhr can help to ease your fears as you focus on God and let go of circumstances beyond your control. When the fog of hopelessness descends upon you, and you can’t imagine anything but the worse outcome, whisper the Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

It is admirable to say that you want to move in a particular direction with your life and your career. It is commendable to step up to the plate that’s laid out before you. But if you are faltering with burdens of your past mixed with challenges in your present and wrapped in fears of the future, you’ll get nowhere fast and accomplish nothing.

To make any headway in your dreams for your life, you should make haste to cast off the negative weight of past experiences and face today’s challenges head on with confidence and wise choices. You must also size up, attack and conquer your fears of the future and avoid worrying about anything that is beyond your control. Only then will you be free to launch forward in whatever direction you want to go in your life.

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