Discover your emotional blocks (and take control of your happiness)
Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way. Les Brown
When we’re not 100% content with our lives, there’s generally something blocking us from being that way. Sometimes we need to know where the problem is (what’s blocking us), other times we need to ask ourselves a few honest questions (why are we allowing it to block us from moving ahead).
Everyone has a purpose in life. Everyone can be better than what they currently are. Everyone has potential to be happier. Sometimes we need to examine and remove our emotional before we can move ahead in life. Generally the things that block us are our fears and insecurities.
Sometimes life is about feeling the fear and doing it anyway – besides – what’s the worst that could happen? By discovering your emotional blocks, you will find other areas of your life improving, including: career success, love life, weight loss, relationships, happiness, freedom and self-esteem. Overcoming your emotional blocks will help you overcome other issues that are currently stopping you from succeeding including: limiting beliefs, self-destructive behaviours (as you will become more self-aware) and you’ll go from being lost to discovering what you truly want. Removing your emotional blocks isn’t easy because sometimes it means some tricky changes are ahead, but it’s rewarding!
History is full of people who experienced the worst difficulties and succeeded anyway, primarily because of their clarity, persistence and sense of purpose. This week, Happiness Weekly helps you to discover your blocks and take control of your happiness. If you’re currently feeling stuck – this blog is for you!
What is an emotional block?
Your emotional blocks are reactions that you create in response to the world. Similar to behaviours, they are actions that you choose and therefore have control over. By choosing how you perceive yourself, you can either change to start behaving differently and achieve success, or continue as you are and continue getting results you’re not happy with.
Defining symptoms of emotional blocks
Let’s get some psychological jargon out of the way and define what our emotional blocks may be:
Internal dialogue is a conscious conversation you have with yourself about everything you experience. With the theory that each though creates a physical change, it ultimately provides us with a functional change in our lives.
Labelling, as a psychologist once told me, is nothing but destructive because it can stop us from accepting things in a positive way. However, humans tend to organise things into categories, even labelling other humans into groups, subgroups, classes and functions. We tend to “live” the categories we’ve attached to ourselves. It’s kind of like the “believe it before you see it” and “fake it til you make it” theories – which are both positive ways for how we can use labelling.
Tapes are beliefs that have become so deeply ingrained that they become subconscious. They “play” in our minds and influence our behaviour without us being aware. Tapes have the power to set you up for a specific outcome.
Fixed or limiting beliefs are the beliefs we hold about ourselves, others and life circumstances that have been repeated for so long they have become ingrained and are difficult to change. Limiting beliefs are the beliefs we have about ourselves that limit what we reach and achieve. They generally stop up from receiving any positive information which confirming any new negative information. If you pay attention to your inner dialog (self-talk), you may find beliefs that lead to anxiety, depression and irritation. Such beliefs can sap your motivation and hinder or prevent you from finding creative solutions to your problems.
How can we overcome our emotional blocks?
1. Set goals. Goal setting is a fundamental part of success – it helps us know where we’re going so we can move ahead in the right direction, and also measure how we’re tracking. If we can’t accurately define our goals, what chance do we have of actually achieving them? Have you ever heard the expression “Failing to plan is a plan to fail”? This is where it comes in.
2. Monitor your progress. Once you know where you want to go, you can accurately and honestly assess exactly where you currently are. Knowing where you are in relation to where you want to be enables you to monitor your progress. Take inventory of your current situation to get an accurate picture of where you are.
3. Review your focus point. It’s important to focus on what you do want to take your focus on the negatives and looking at what you don’t want. While it can be important to consider the worst case scenario so we can avoid possible pitfalls, we need to resist any temptation to focus on that conclusion – we can do this by focusing more on the best case scenario. Sometimes the fear of failing or making a costly mistake can act like a powerful emotional magnet that captures our attention in subtle ways. Overcoming this emotional block is like learning to ride a bike, if you look down, it’s likely that you will fall off but if you look where you’re going – you’ll move ahead in that direction.
4. Discover your internal conflict. If we haven’t taken the time to discover our deepest personal standards and values, then we are vulnerable to this kind of inner disharmony. To create internal harmony, we must live and act in harmony with our core values and beliefs, but we can’t do that if we don’t know what those values are. Pay careful attention to this, especially if there seems to be some self-sabotaging tendencies. The best way to avoid this emotional block is to analyse your deepest core values and ensure everything is in harmony with them, or if not, knowing how to change them. If you struggle with this, I highly recommend the book Schema Therapy by Jeffrey E Young.
5. Review limiting beliefs. Limiting or obsolete beliefs are your beliefs about what you think you are not capable of, and what you think you do or do not deserve. They may have been established during childhood and have now become redundant or outlived their purpose. Others may be leftover from situations and circumstances that are no longer relevant. If this is your greatest emotional block, you may need to seek assistances from a psychologist to get past it.
6. Delegate personal responsibility. The quality of our life is our personal responsibility. We can either accept conditions as they are, or accept the responsibility to change them. We are the only person responsible for our decisions and actions. Taking personal responsibility is one of the most liberating things you can do because it completely eliminates the temptation to blame anyone or anything and it puts you in control.
7. Embrace change. When we successfully break out emotional attachments to “what is”, we allow room for growth. On an emotional level, there is a sense of security related to “hanging on” and this causes us to be resistant to change. As you embrace small changes in your life, your emotional security anchors shift, over time your resistance will fade and you will find comfort and security in a more fluid reality. When this happens, continued personal growth becomes your new security anchor. Practise letting go – it can be challenging but it is rewarding.
Rational people with good mental health know what they want, how they feel and why they feel that way. They find solutions to problems quickly. They have similar challenges to less happy people – but they are able to deal with them faster. Healthy people don’t get stuck for long – they rarely sabotage themselves because they acknowledge the damaging effects it can have. What have you done to overcome your emotional blocks in the past?