There are so many struggles that we all have when it comes time to make those hard decisions. You know which ones I’m referring to. The one that would require you to separate from your normal group in order to press forward and achieve your goals. Maybe you’re like many individuals who fight hard to maintain their friendships, relationships, and even relationships with family members in effort to not “seem fake” or act like you’re “too good”. The problem with that line of thought is that it is often prescribed to you by those who don’t share your vision, drive, or desire to improve.
My pastor, Dr. Bradley of Mountain of Blessings Christian Center, is currently teaching (and yes I mean teaching and not preaching) a series he titles “Overcoming Slave Mentality”. A great series and I encourage all to go to the website and listen to the archives…you WON’T be disappointed. Anyway, one recurring theme in this series is the idea of boxes and allowing society, our peers, and our families to “box” us in and keep us in a designated box. You may be the one allowing yourself to be boxed in. How many of us when in elementary school were asked what we wanted to do/be when we got older? How many of us can even remember what it was we chose? Possibly a police officer, a doctor, an astronaut, a dancer, a princess, a lawyer, etc. This was back when we were young enough to dream and maintained that innocence to not allow others to crush our dreams. Why is it, then, that some of us never achieve our dreams? What happened along the way? Did we simply achieve another dream, or did we let go of our dreams altogether?
It is time to take a step back and truly think about the answer to that question. Even if you have achieved your dream, what were some of your barriers along the way? Dr. Bradley spoke about being influenced by those we interact with. In the world of psychology, that theory is called Symbolic Interactionism first coined by Herbert Blumer. There are three basic premises to this theory: 1) we, as people, respond to situations based on the meaning we ascribe to the situation 2) this meaning comes from interactions we have with others 3) the meaning is often interpreted based on social experiences. Essentially, the theory is stating that while we all may believe that we are individual thinkers, our thinking is, in fact, shaped by our interactions and experiences.
Now that all the philosophy, theory, psychology (blah, blah, blah) is explained, let’s now talk about how it relates and what we can do to improve. We were once young, innocent children with dreams of being somebody. What happened along the way? Did we allow others to influence our decisions? Did we allow friends and/or family to influence what we became? Did we allow these same individuals to make us believe that we don’t deserve to be better? Did we fall into quicksand and no matter how much we fought to achieve, it feels like we’re fighting a losing battle? Are we afraid to tell our best friend that while we love them, we’re unhappy in this same situation, and in order to be where we want to be in life we need to move? Are we allowing our parents to control our every move in life even though we’re adults? Are we too busy trying to “fit in” because standing out is scary? Are we too afraid to achieve our dreams, or, better yet, too afraid to FAIL? Well here are some suggestions that can be used to help you overcome the self-doubt, overcome the self-imposed barriers, overcome the fears, and destroy your box.