How many times have you come across someone who doesn’t believe in themselves or can’t see how much potential they have?
We can all be in denial of our potential in some ways. We all have fears, insecurities and doubts-that can hold us back from becoming who we can be.
There are many reasons we can be in denial of our potential. A particular event or circumstance in our lives might have damaged our self-esteem, we may have been told lies by consistently been told we are not good enough, we may have failed and something and lost the confidence to try again, we may have done something we regret and now don’t believe we deserve to reach our potential… just to name a few.
Denial is generally accepted as a form of unconscious protection, a refusal to accept or believe. If we don’t accept or believe we have amazing potential-(which in fact we all do)- then we can’t feel bad if we don’t live up to it and don’t have to be afraid that we might find out all our worst fears and doubts are true about ourselves if we try to reach it. It can sometimes be easier to stay in denial and trust in our fears and doubts rather than in our potential.
Often the most inspiring people, or movies that touch us the most are those that have a story of overcoming an adversity, a self-doubt, a denial about themselves and through that realise their potential, rise to the occasion; their talents and abilities come alive and they realise the person they are and destined to be.
I have been on a recent journey of learning to believe in who I am more. I was in denial of who I really am and can be. I worried about my worth as a person. I have been plagued by fears, paralysing doubts, insecurities and anxiety as I’m sure others have from time to time. But these things were stealing me away from who I could be. I have learned the most difficult thing is to overcome ultimately is how you think of yourself.
Here are 5 Steps that Helped me to Break Denial of My Potential.
Step #1 to Break Denial of Your Potential: Remove the Blocks
When we put a denial in place there are usually a lot of blocks behind it keeping it there. Understanding yourself more and what you are afraid of is key. Sometimes our blocks are so great and so many, piled up in front of us we can’t see anymore what we are capable of being.
Step #2 to Break Denial of Your Potential: Answer why should I?
Why should you try and reach your potential anyway? This quote by Maya Angelou, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” expresses so simply that everyone has a song and it’s not because we should but because we have a song that we should sing.
We are all born with many great gifts, no matter where we are or what walk of life we have come from. Fully developing and expressing these gifts in the world can be a fulfilment of who we are. It’s a shame for denial to get in the way of that!
Step #3 to Break Denial of Your Potential: Shift focus
Most of the time we tend to focus on our limitations or frailties. Often they can become in our mind much bigger than are. As part of denying we have any potential we can also tend to be very hard on ourselves, judge ourselves and be unforgiving towards ourselves.
But rather than focusing on our limitations or frailties, try focusing on your potential instead. What are the great things about you? What are you good at? Where do your core talents lie? Are you good with people? Are you compassionate? Are you excellent at a certain skill?
It’s amazing how this shift in focus can change your outlook. We spend so much time thinking negatively about ourselves, imagine all that time was spent believing in ourselves. Start to let go of the fears and doubts holding you back.
Step #4 to Break Denial of Your Potential: Believe the Sky’s the Limit
Thinking bigger or outside the square will help shake the denial and get you out of the here and now. When you discover what you are passionate about the sky really is the limit in terms of what you can do from that position. From an inspired position you can start to see and visualise what you can do and how you can do it.
Step #5 to Break Denial of Your Potential: Set Goals
The most practical way to get to a new position is to set some goals. Sit down somewhere you feel comfortable and allow yourself to think about things your denial may not have been letting you think about.
- What goals do you feel will help you reach your potential and fulfill you personally?
- Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
- How is this different from where you are now?
- What kinds of things/changes do you think will help to get you there?
This positive practical action is a great step to help to steer you towards reaching your potential.
As we fulfil who we are as best we can the more contentment and joy we will start to feel in ourselves and share with others. Denial and lack of self-assurance can be what is limiting us from who we really can be.
Melanie has found that having a clear understanding and appreciation of denial and where it comes from has helped her recognize and be awakened to her true potential. This essay about denial by Jeremy Griffith has been instrumental in furthering her understanding.