Let’s face it, sometimes we’re our own worst enemies—and often, we don’t even realize it. We asked psychiatrist and author Judith Orloff how we can stop holding ourselves back. Here are her suggestions.
Listen to your gut. Your intellect can help you approach challenges, but your intuition can lead you to the solution, as well. If you don’t balance the two, you might end up pushing too hard and exhausting yourself or alienating other people. I strongly suggest this three-minute surrender meditation: close the door to your office, relax and follow your breath. Quiet your mind. Ask your intuition a question, such as, “How should I proceed with this deal?” and see what ideas come to mind or what gut feelings you experience.
Ditch perfectionism. Rather than obsessing over outcomes, do everything you can, then let go and allow the situation to unfold in its natural way. Know what you can control and when to back off. Don’t keep pounding on a closed door.
Manage your anger. Don’t hold it in or criticize yourself for feeling this way. Be compassionate towards yourself and talk with friends or journal about anything that makes you angry. Set boundaries with “energy vampires” who push your buttons.
Don’t be controlled by fear. Companies are downsizing and careers aren’t as stable as we might like. Your concerns are real. But if you keep the focus on your fear, it will get in the way of your productivity and creativity. Rather than worrying about the future, bring yourself back to the present moment and do what needs to be done today. Breathe slowly and calm your body. Picture your fears as passing clouds in the sky, then focus on something positive and loving.
Stay positive. In the morning, replace stressful thoughts with one supportive affirmation. During the day, try to be of service to those around you. Frame challenges in terms of what you can give, rather than what you’ll get. Don’t criticize yourself. Take difficulties one step at a time and be sure to enjoy yourself.
(Photo for Judith’s headshot by Bob Riba)
Judith Orloff is the author of The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life