Here’s one example that shows this clearly. Imagine that someone blindly believes in a good luck charm. One day they lose it and feel like everything has started to go wrong for them. Could a necklace or bracelet really determine the course of your life? If you think about it rationally you’ll say no, but the person who wears it and believes in it doesn’t doubt it for a second.
From the outside it’s easy to see how that kind of belief keeps you from growing. But it’s not like that for the people with those convictions. There might be plenty of people who don’t believe in the good luck charm, but they do believe in other ideas that have the same effect. Here are 7 of them.
1. I’m missing something
This belief keeps you from growing because it misses the point. It’s typical of people who tell themselves they’re not pretty or smart or rich enough. And they think this missing thing is what is keeping them from being happy.
But that’s obviously a mistaken belief. All it does is direct their attention away from the real problem: not accepting themselves. External things won’t guarantee anyone happiness. And every single human being has certain positive qualities and lacks others.
2. Thinking it’s better not to feel
Experiencing a strong feeling does leave marks. But for some people those marks get very deep. The only thing they want is to stop suffering and feeling pain. That desire is so strong that they even go as far as making the drastic decision to “stop feeling.”
Of course, that’s impossible. What actually happens is that they inhibit their feelings so much that it’s like they don’t feel them. However, that also robs them of a lot of wonderful experiences and prevents them from learning to deal with the suffering that will show up in their life sooner or later.
3. Assuming that being better than everyone else brings happiness
In this case, other people are objects to compare yourself to. They’re a measurement for your ego. If you beat them, you’ll feel happy with yourself. If you don’t, you’ll be frustrated and irritated. This keeps you from growing because it leads you to see relationships with other people as a competition. No one is better or worse than anyone else.
4. My life is harder than everyone else’s
This is also known as “victimhood.” It’s a false belief that leads you to think you’re always in a worse situation than everyone else. You think that only you suffer that much, or that only you have that many problems.
It’s an egocentric belief and tries to justify your suffering or frustration. The fact is that every one has happiness and pain in their life. Measuring how intense those are for everyone is completely impossible.
5. Thinking that getting something will bring happiness
Above all, happiness is an attitude and an internal feeling. It doesn’t depend on any object or event. It means creating a good balance in life. It also means developing humility, optimism, and hope.
You won’t be more or less happy because of anything external. That’s the kind of belief that keeps you from growing as a person. You won’t feel more actualized–not in a stable way–with a new car or partner. Happiness is either inside of you or nowhere at all.
6. Convincing yourself that life is suffering
Maybe you’ve heard this: you can’t choose your problems but you can choose whether or not you suffer because of them. Some people see difficulties as a challenge, a chance to push themselves to be better. Other people think they’re purely negative.
That second case is a belief that will limit your growth. Assuming that suffering is normal, that there’s no choice, that life is actually a valley of tears, and that you just go from one pain to another… They even end up thinking that good things are only a sign that more bad is to come.
7. Believing that someone or something can explain your pain
There are people who decide to explain their frustrations or limitations by using external factors as an excuse. They think if it weren’t for their parents, or their unemployment, or the world’s injustice, they’d be completely happy. In one word, they blame the outside world for what they feel inside. That’s wrong, however. Humans have the ability to overcome obstacles, as long as they try to.
As you can see, it’s easy to fall into beliefs that will keep you from growing. Without realizing it, you interpret everything through them. In the end, they just get you stuck and keep you from seeing the wide horizons you have all around you. Don’t let them.