How I've Held Myself Back

Updated: Mar 15, 2020

I’ve been thinking long and hard about one of my limiting beliefs lately. These beliefs are funny because a lot of times we don’t even know how they are affecting us until we really reflect on what we are doing, or not doing, in our lives. Before I started my most recent journey into personal development, I considered myself pretty self-aware. I’d taken all kinds of personality tests, I knew what my temperaments were, what my areas of improvement were, and definitely played on my strengths.

One thing that I considered a weakness or area of improvement was that people were generally intimidated by me upon first meeting me. I’ve been told my whole life that I was intimidating, they thought I was going to be a snob, I didn’t appear friendly… Once someone got to know me, they would say their assumption was wrong. This ties in directly to my limiting belief that my personality isn’t likable. It must be true because so many people have made this initial judgment about me.

Over the years I gave this belief a platform into my reality. I’ve spent many years attempting to portray a different persona when walking into a room or making small talk to break the ice. I went way into my head to see what I could do differently, so I wasn’t coming off as negative from the start. This has always been a big deal to me because first impressions really matter, especially in the adult world where sometimes that first impression is our only chance. It can be the difference between success or failure.

I can tell you that my actions are tied to multiple personality tests I’ve taken. The one that hit home the most to me was Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I am an INTJ. This fits me to a T. I think strategically in most situations, I get bored easily, I am cynical. There is so much more!

So, what have I learned? Well, I know that I observed my environments to ensure I was wearing the mask I “thought” each setting wanted from me. I know that I played into the role of a rescuer as a way to get people to see me as likable and always willing to help. I’ve spent so much time in my head, I forgot to lead with my heart.

My biggest takeaway from these last 2 years of honest personal development is: I lost myself in my attempt to be someone I thought people wanted me to be when I just need to be me. If someone finds me intimidating upon first impression, that doesn’t mean I am. That likely stems from a limiting belief they hold toward someone like me or my energy. While I believe I should continue to put my positive energy out there, I know now that I will never be able to control what others think of me. What I can control is my own actions, decisions, and behavior which will continue to be genuine. What I can control is leading with my heart.

This is way easier to say than to do for me. I’ve been leading with my head for so long! It's my comfort zone. It protects me from getting hurt or making a fool of myself. It's also made it hard for me to open up and be who I really am... It is the road I choose to travel now and for many, it is the road less traveled. The benefits are great and the costs of not following my heart are high. Leading by example for my kids is my biggest trigger. I want them to have more than me, be better than I ever could. That starts with me showing up each day in a way that they choose to look up to me and being my best for them in every way I can. It’s weird to know that had I not taken this leap into personal growth 2 years ago, I may have never really dug into this the way I have. I may have never known what I really needed to do.

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