My Own Worst Enemy

“We have seen the enemy and it is us.” – Pogo

I am a natural dreamer. By this I mean that I have always concocted ideas and inspirations that saw me living a life less than ordinary. With a few exceptions, I’ve always dreamt big, challenging the norm, aiming for above average.

Not that all that many of these imaginings have seen the light of day. There are still lists of desires that I’d envisioned over the past five, ten, and fifteen years that have not yet been achieved. This lack of achievement has, at times, contributed to the level of my regular depressiveness.

Unfortunately, by my reckoning, I grew up in an environment that did not truly foster my limitlessness. My proclamations of being an entertainer, for example, was jovially, well, entertained when they were made in my youth but come crunchtime in my late teens, my options for a future was as a doctor or engineer, as I recall. I also grew up in a community that did not believe nor understand that there could be more than what they currently experienced.

I do advocate that we are in charge of our own lives, of course. The environment and situations that we grew up in may temper or belittle us but, ultimately, our choices for success are our own. My upbringing, however, did make this a little more difficult. My emotional and mental health, created out of a victim mindset, has worked against me for many years.

This mindset was something I’ve been actively working to change in my young adult life. In the eye of my mind, I saw great things for myself and, yet, my habitual way of thinking kept me from achieving them. I’ve done many self-help, metaphysical, spiritual and healing courses over the last decade. Each one assisted me in pealing away another restrictive layer.

Many times, anger and frustration surfaced through the realisation that there was yet another layer to eliminate. I was furious at my parents, peers and educators for having layered these limiting beliefs on me. My sense of worth has never been high. As a child and teen, I was never in the “in-crowd”, a common misfit with interesting ideas and few social skills. School peers who met me in University and post-college life expressed disbelief at how different I was to what they remember. Outwardly, I was actively changing myself, becoming more social, more self-aware, more able at realising my destiny as I’d defined it.

And in all that time, I still had chunks of under-the-surface, unconscious habits and beliefs that undermined me every step of the way.

I’m relating my tale because it isn’t just my issue. The vast majority of us are ruled by limiting beliefs and sense-of-self that have been accumulated throughout our lifetimes. The vast majority of us are also not consciously aware of this. It took me many years to accept responsibility for all my self-sabotaging ways, and not blaming my care-givers. Even now there are moments when I automatically feel an anger bubble at parents and peers for a habit, belief or influence that I’ve allowed them to bestow on me. The trick comes in being aware of these moments, recognising them for what they are, and releasing them. Releasing the hold that the limit has on me.

It’s not always a smooth and immediate journey, of course, but, over time, through this awareness, I have unhooked myself from many habits and beliefs that have worked against me. It starts with taking responsibility. Regardless of how those habits have formed, I have it in my power to change them. And, yes, sometimes that change is rocky and challenging but, in the end, it’s worth it.

My natural victim mentality has been (and, to an extent, still is) my worst enemy to my dreams and desires. My strong warrior nature, on the other hand, is steadily becoming my new natural state.