Almost everyone has something preventing them from being as successful or as happy as they could be. While there are thousands of possible causes, I find that the ones listed here are some of the most common and debilitating. I decided to republish this list (which can be found in Chapter 5 of The Power of Losing Control) during the holiday season, as we tend to get busy, unnecessarily stressed, and may find ourselves with family members or in situations that stir up old negative emotions.
#1 – Regret
He who regrets loses twice. By living with regret, you are reliving the same loss, which makes it an even greater loss than it was in the first place. Better to examine what it was that prevented you from seizing the opportunity at the moment. In other words, what were you afraid of – will you have the same fear next time?
#2 – Anger
Anger is often a response to something or to someone. We don’t have to be angry, because we do have other choices. The way we respond is always a choice. So why would we choose to respond with a self-defeating attitude rather than one that would serve us better. Remember – anger is based in fear.
#3 – Blame
It is rational to blame someone for something that has happened in our past, and unfortunately, they got to do whatever they did because we cannot control someone else’s behavior. However, something that has happened to us is always less important than what we can do for ourselves now. Blame prevents us from focusing our energy on what we can do for ourselves, and therefore further perpetuates our pain.
# 4 – Guilt
When we feel guilty, we make ourselves feel bad about ourselves, probably about something we did in the past. That moment is over, and to continue to feel guilty means that we refuse to accept the current reality. This is self-defeating.
#5 – Pride and Ego
It is by putting others first, by honoring their humanity, and by acknowledging their value that we get to make the connections that allow us to truly feel good about ourselves. Letting go of ego is at the heart of love and all spiritual practice.
#6 – Insecurity
If life were a chess game and we were constantly playing defensively out of fear of losing, we might not lose, but we certainly wouldn’t win either. Constantly acting out of insecurity is tiring and debilitating, and over the long haul will wear us down and tire us out.
#7 – Jealousy
Jealousy is born out of insecurity and pride. We see others as happier or more successful (usually because we are insecure with what we have); we then want what we think they have because we don’t want to see ourselves as “less than” they are – this is our pride talking. If we can focus our psychic energy on ourselves rather than letting others determine how we feel, we don’t need to waste time or emotions on feeling jealous.
#8 – “What If” Scenarios
These are fear fantasies we create for ourselves that prevent us from letting go of what’s not serving us well. “What if” scenarios prevent us from grabbing onto better ways of thinking that will allow us to grow. Most of what we worry about never happens anyway. Be where you are.
#9 – Debilitating Myths
If we are the stories we tell ourselves we are, and if our stories are self-defeating, then we need to let go of those stories and write ourselves new ones. While we can’t change events in the past, we are completely in charge of determining what those events mean to us now. And remember, accepting yourself does not mean making excuses for yourself.
#10 – Debilitating Definitions
All definitions are really self-reflexive, or definitions about us. So when we recognize that a definition of something isn’t serving us well, we can examine ourselves to determine what it is about us that isn’t working. By re-framing the definition that does not serve us, we can begin to let go of any negative thoughts we are having about ourselves.
(c) Joe Caruso and Caruso Leadership. Do not reproduce without permission.
Read more about the concepts from The Power of Losing Control: