What Is Holding You Back From Experiencing What You Desire?
We all have an elusive goal whether it’s a job promotion, number on a scale, romantic interest, or a figurative house on a certain block. I say elusive because we can want it so badly, work toward making it happen, and make all of the right moves, yet something still holds us back.
As a therapist, I watch this happen with many of my clients. In these moments, it’s my role to help them figure out what the roadblocks are that keep them from getting what they want and being the best version of themselves.
Both our inner critic and outside pressure may say, “Well, you must not really want it then if you aren’t there yet” or “It’s just not meant to be.” Often, though, the truth is far more complex.
What is your roadblock?
One of my clients desires to be comforted in the face of immense sorrow, change, and hardship in her life. She feels isolated and deprived without this comfort. However, when we got to the heart of why she was not receiving this comfort, we were able to identify a roadblock. She realized that she had been avoiding crying in front of those she loved and hoped for comfort from because she didn't want to be a burden.
Her fear of being a burden was hindering her from being comforted.
It was only once we were able to identify this roadblock that we were able to start the intentional work of removing that roadblock and letting her begin to get what she needed in her life.
While these kinds of moments occur in each of our lives on our personal journeys, they are also easy to spot in our relationships with friends and loved ones.
When Complementarity Becomes Contentious
Often, people tend to find a partner with something that they don't have but desperately want in their lives.
For example, I’m not organized, but my wife is very organized. It’s almost as if there is this piece of me that is attracted to that in her because I have always wished I had that strength, and through partnering with her, I am able to add that to my life. But the catch is, as couples are together longer, that complementarity can devolve into codependency and further into animosity. This can lead to feelings of resentment and envy, rather than reliability and harmony.
Finally experiencing that organization in my life that I have always wanted begins to feel uncomfortable. Of course, it does! Maybe that’s why I was never able to achieve that level of organization. At some level, there is something about it that rubs me the wrong way; it chips away at my sense of carefree, go with the flow way of living. Just as my client (at an unconscious level) deemed the act of getting comforted too uncomfortable, even though she really wanted it.
This may also happen with a friend who has a personal strength, job, income, family, possession, or any number of things that we wish we had. We become jealous and resentful of their virtue or good fortune, we can’t handle what it’s like being around what we thought we wanted, and then we begin to value the relationship less.
Choose Growth Instead of Resentment
When this happens, we may blame our partners or friends and refuse to see our own part in the resentment. Perhaps we leave our partners or friends and meet someone else who is very similar (because again, we are attracted to a strength we don't possess ourselves), and then the cycle begins again.
However, this solution is only temporary. It doesn't remove the roadblock that is ultimately holding us back from truly fulfilling our desire in our relationships with others.
It often takes a good look in the mirror and a reconciling with pride. It takes the hard work of examining our weaknesses and allowing ourselves to grow toward who we really want to be. Instead of blaming our partner or friend for their strengths, we are able to nurture our relationships and travel the transformative journey of life together.
Understanding how past experiences have shaped your beliefs and identity and how they may cause roadblocks in your life is a crucial step toward becoming your authentic self.