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When We Get in Our Own Way

Have you ever had one of those moments where you had been working toward a goal, and you got almost to the point of reaching it when suddenly it all fell apart?

Have you been in a really good relationship when you thought, “This might be THE ONE,” but then you started acting irrationally, getting too clingy, feeling worried about his/her fidelity, etc. until the relationship was left in disrepair?

Getting in our own way happens to most of us in some area of our lives. Some people get in their own way of making more money, some at finding happiness in a relationship, and others with going after a career or education goal.

The good news is that no matter how we get in our own way, it’s usually caused by the same thing and it can be fixed relatively easily once we have an awareness of our actions and a commitment to changing our behavior.

Getting in our own way happens when we reach the upper limits of our capacity for happiness. As humans, we actually have a limit on how much happiness we can feel at any given time; can you believe that?!?

A few months ago, I coached a client on her upper limit problem with her husband. After a less-than-stellar first marriage, she married a man who was her “soul mate.” They were perfect partners in every way, and she felt more love than she knew was possible in a marriage. However, she noticed that when things were going really well, she would start worrying that he was cheating on her. She had no evidence at all that he was having an affair, but she just had an underlying worry that wouldn’t leave her.

She didn’t feel like she could approach her husband with her worries because she had no proof, and she thought he would just say she was crazy. In fact, she said she felt crazy. Why was she worrying about something like this when they had the perfect marriage?

After questioning her about her home life as a child, we uncovered the long-held belief that she didn’t feel worthy of complete happiness. She thought if she was too happy, something really bad would happen to her, so each time she allowed herself to feel completely happy and in love with her husband, she reached the upper limits of her happiness and had to manufacture worry of an affair to keep from being too happy.

Does this sound familiar? Most of us have not conditioned ourselves to feel complete happiness, and once we reach our upper limit, we begin to worry, criticize or pick fights, or somehow create negativity to pull us back within the comfortable limits of our happiness.

So how do you condition yourself to extend the upper limits of your happiness and create less negativity and turmoil? Like most things worth having, it takes practice. When you start to feel unnecessary worry or the need to criticize, stop yourself and take a moment to breathe deeply. As you’re breathing, let yourself relax and drop into the positivity around you.

My client now stops her worry as soon as she feels it coming on. She spends two minutes in deep breathing exercises and feels the love she has for her husband. She reports the longer she practices expanding her capacity, the less often it comes up.

If you want more information on expanding your capacity for happiness, schedule a free session with me today! Until then, much love!

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