Monday, January 24, 2011

Our Personal Growth Blocks

For those who are getting to know me or have known me for about the last year or so, it can be mind boggling to think that I was once an energy-sucking, negative and pessimistic person. Thank Buddha those days are gone!!!

Yes I have my moments. I am human. But my overall outlook on life has completely changed. Through life experiences, speaking to friends, acting classes, guidance from my mentors and just a better awareness of myself, I slowly fought my inner self that told me I couldn't do this or that. I overcame obstacles and continue to do so as I keep growing and changing.

I'd like to share with you an article I just read (quite literally, about 5 minutes ago) that clarified the top 5 barriers to personal growth. And if each and every inspiring visionary had dealt with their own personal barriers, you bet we have ours! The article is called "5 Barriers to Personal Growth-And How to Overcome Them". I suggest we each take a look and I garauntee it is like looking into a mirror. But no worries... there are solutions :)

I'm going to give my own breakdown of them and how I have personally dealt with them.

1) Negative Self Talk:
I grew up in a household where my parents constantly looked at our given physical circumstances and felt confined by them. "You want to do what? We have no money. I have no time. I'm too busy making money to pay the bills and the mortgage...". You get the point. I am a big dreamer. That's to say the least. I think huge, I dream huge and I always have since I was a child. I lived in my head and from my heart. But it is easy to let others affect the way you think, especially your parents, whom I find we are always trying to please and seek approval from. Because I am naturally stubborn and refuse to believe anything my parents said, I was determined to prove them wrong. I saw others I wanted to emulate, those who came from nothing and no money to being extremely succesful. They took a chance, took a risk, believed in their dreams and took actions towards it. I simply decided I was going to do the same. I began to replace any thoughts of "I can't" with "How can I?". And eventually, my habit of negative self talk faded. I also became a lot more compassionate towards my parents. I used to be resentful of them, wondering why they were unsupportive. But the more I understood their way of thinking and why they thought the way they thought, the more love I had for them. I forgave them, which lifted so much pressure from my shoulders, and offered thoughts of praise towards them for all that they have done. They left their home in Southeast Asia to give my brother and I a better opportunity in life and I can't ever thank them enough for that.

Just a side note, vision boards are awesome. If you don't have one, I suggest you start NOW! Take any blank board of any size (I like to make them big) and post and past images of the things you want. Put it in a place where you will pass by it very often or where you can see from your bed when you are open and relax. Take in the images and let it affect the way you feel. The key is to image you already have the things you want. The sense of gratitude will flow through you like a flood.

2) Lack of Support:
Again, I will refer back to my parents. I was actually quite fortunate that unlike a lot of Asian parents I know, they were quite supportive with my dreams in the arts because they are artists themselves. They no longer practise as they did back at "home" but they are true artists in the purest sense. My father paints and my mother is a performer (No wonder I went into theatre.) But for the longest time, I thought I didn't have their support until, to my surprise, they said to me "We will support whatever you choose to do but you have to commit to it and do it all the way." Now, if you find yourself without this kind of support, find a community or group of people who are like minded and you will all support eachother! It's that simple. Seek them out and along with your courage beside you, introduce yourself.

3) No Clear Goals:
How can you get what you want when you don't know what you want? Make sense? Yes, everyone wants happiness, an ideal relationship, money and so on but what does that mean EXACTLY to YOU? I spoke to a friend recently right before the new year and she said "I just hope the next year will be better". Ummmm.... can you be any more vague??? Better how? And don't just hope for it. Be specific, declare it and take action towards it. But it must begin with what you really want. Not what your parents want you to do or your partner wants from you but what you, your spirit and essence, wants to feel fulfilled. And if you don't know, then I suggest spending some quality time with yourself in a safe space where you can reflect and allow that inner voice, your true voice to speak.

4) Playing the "Blame Game": I recognize this one. I always had the perfect reason why things weren't going my way. "It's because my parents are immigrants", "I'm not getting any acting roles because I'm Asian", "No one respects me because I'm short", "I can't do that because I don't have any money", "I don't have money because all the rich greedy people have them"... and the list goes on.

I was fortunate that I was dating someone that openned my eyes that I was capable of reaching my goals and that it was all in my own hands to make it happen. The blame game satisfies us momentarily and puts the light on someone or something else but it eventually always comes back to ourselves. I understand it pains to think that we are the agents of our own destinies and circumstances but it also empowering. CHOOSE to see it as an empowerment and everything changes.

5) "I am my Ego":
We all know the ego can be a bitch. It's like a tantruming child and that's how we should treat it. Be aware if it, observe it from a distance, let the thoughts flow out of you and stay grounded.

I used to be very defensive. Anything anyone said hurt my ego because I grew up with a lot of high expectations and criticism. I seeked acceptance outside of myself instead of from within. So when I felt attacked (or I should say, my ego) I went on the defensive. Through learning how to breathe properly and ground myself in my acting classes, I've learned to respond and not react. Responding requires thinking and reflection as opposed to reacting, which is based in a more habitual animalistic way of behaving.

I'm not sure if we ever stop dealing with these obstacles. But I do believe it becomes easier the more we become aware of ourselves and our behaviours. It won't happen overnight because it does require a rewiring in the way we have thought our whole lives. We'll  be fighting with ourselves for awhile before a new habit replaces the old.

But remember.... YOU CAN DO IT. I have no doubt in my mind. Again, check out the link for ideas on how to overcome these obstacles.

And those are my thoughts this early afternoon. Have good one :)


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