“May you have the courage to break through the patterns that are no longer serving you.”~ unknown
Everyone was handed a 10″ by 5″ by1/2″ wooden board and a Sharpie pen. The exercise was simple. Write whatever is blocking you, holding you back from achieving your goals on the board and then break the wood board, with your hand! People didn’t believe they could do it. Some had no idea what the barrier was that was holding them back. Not realizing those patterns, being unconscious to the mindset or the behavior that might be stopping you or sabotaging you was in itself a barrier.
Some boards talked about certain foods, some talked about situations like kids or caregiving, some talked about drinks and socializing. One person wrote “old age.” Her words were, “I can’t change that or break that barrier, I’m 70!” The group all looked at her and said “but you are!” She was busting through that barrier just by coming to work out every day with the group. She was starting to change behaviors and patterns that had run her life for a long time without even realizing it was happening. It took her a while to break the board, and when she did, the entire group cheered for her, reminding her that mindset is what is important not the number or age.
This is the third time I have gotten to do this exercise. The first time I just wrote food and drinks. It was summer time, I thought the only barrier to my success was that I was having fun eating and drinking my way through the sunshine. The second time I went through this in October, I dug a little deeper to realize that I was my own barrier. So my board only said “ME” on it in big letters. Knowing that I could sabotage myself, and fight myself this seemed logical. This last time my board said the honest truth, “emotional eating.” Lonely? Eat something. Tired? Eat something. Angry? Eat something. Hurt? Eat something. Feeling defeated? Eat something. Feeling undeserving? Eat something. And of course the something is never fruit or veggies, it’s chips (even chia and flaxseed chips in large quantities are not good for you!), nuts, nut butters, and an occasional chocolate candy or the dreaded processed anything! Or I psych myself into thinking that a protein bar is good for you! Not when eaten instead of in place of meal, as a chocolate fix after the meal or in between! Oh I know, don’t have it in the house Suzy, don’t buy it. Yep, that works when maybe you live with other people who keep you accountable, not when you live alone. You can buy anything, nobody knows. I know, I’m only hurting myself, but that is part of the dance. Self sabotage is about hurting yourself and ensuring you aren’t successful so all of those people who don’t believe you can do something are right. And for me, it allows me to still be unsuccessful and can beat myself up, hence the vicious cycle of barriers, mindsets, failure, and self sabotage.
As I broke the board with the palm of my hand, I felt something shift. I don’t want to sabotage myself anymore. I don’t want my mind to get in the way of my success, I want my mind to pull me through to the other side. The barrier is me. The barrier is my reaction to what is happening around me. The barrier is allowing my emotions to dictate my actions instead of being focused on how I want to show up, how I want to approach life, how I want to live. I don’t want to live to anyone else’s standards or expectations. I don’t care what other people think anymore. I need to focus on me, how I want to approach life and let those expectations of me and high standards that I cannot meet and therefore sabotage myself go. I needed to release this big idea that “I can’t do this, I don’t have the ability.” I have heard all too often, “just don’t eat it.” Like it is that easy when it is about your emotions not being hungry. At least I should say, for me it isn’t. Perhaps for others who do not dig into their emotions, this is simple. For someone who goes deep into their own healing and allows themselves to feel, not so simple. But I’m getting there!
Breaking barriers and changing mindsets is some of the biggest and deepest work we can do as adults to continue to evolve and grow. We need to figure out the barrier, name it, heal it, and then release it. And sometimes when you dig just a bit, you uncover where that barrier comes from. Uncover whatever it is that is holding you back. Break through that barrier and figure out what needs to change, in your mindset, in your approach, in your life.
As the Doors sing, “Break on through to the other side!” I’m there!