The Top 10 Barriers to Self-Growth

Almost anyone you meet these days is seeking ways to improve, become more “evolved” or just simply be a better person. The self-growth and self-help industry has soared in popularity almost as fast as the diet and fitness industry.

It is understandable and admirable for people to want to be the best version of themselves possible.

However the challenges of everyday life: developing a business or career, raising a family, growing a meaningful relationship and staying healthy and positive can be daunting.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise then to know that personal growth, like everything else in life, has a cost.

Deciding what kind of person you wish to aspire to be or what goals you wish to accomplish takes clarity of mind a willingness to look carefully and honestly at yourself and the courage and commitment to make changes.

There are those who believe that their personal growth has been undermined or thwarted by circumstances or other people. They may look for external reasons that things haven’t worked out and become discouraged when facing obstacles. They may not be ready to look carefully at themselves for a true explanation of why things aren’t quite going their way.

To take full responsibility for things which happen to us is a lot to ask. The tendency to look outside for reasons (or excuses) is tempting.

Although there are clearly times when external forces can slow us down or throw us off track, the barriers to self-growth and personal success are generally found within us.

Top 10 Barriers to Self-growth

1 ) Fear:

It may sound obvious that fear would be number one on the list but many people don’t experience it that way. They may rationalize their reluctance to make changes by interpreting their excuses as valid reasons. It is often only through taking an honest personal inventory or thorough self-examination that a person realizes that his fears have been driving him.

2 ) Denial:

Others may have suggested that you need to change (maybe you’re too angry or stubborn) but you are not hearing it. You prefer living in your own world of fiction despite what people close to you (and even, perhaps the little voice inside your head) have said. Personal growth will not be possible if you think it is unnecessary for you to make changes.

3 ) Pride:

There’s nothing wrong with being proud, as in being proud of your accomplishments. However when someone has an inordinate opinion of his own importance and carries a sense of superiority over others, it will prevent him from keeping an open mind about change and growth. Pride sometimes prevents people from being willing to admit they made a mistake, thereby learning from the experience.

4 ) Defensiveness:

Being overly defensive is a signal to others of your insecurity. A person who is excessively concerned with guarding himself against real or imagined criticism is not able to grow. His defensiveness closes him down and he becomes a prisoner in his own prison.

5 ) Not taking responsibility:

Repeatedly blaming others or circumstances for what happens in your life is a way of avoiding your own responsibility. To experience self-growth you have to be ready to take the heat. Blaming others can create the conflict you need to deflect the focus away from you and onto someone else.

6 ) Lack of self-discipline:

If you have lofty ideas about the things you would like to achieve and the person you would like to become but lack the self-discipline to accomplish those things, you will always be disappointed in yourself. There is no reaching the top if you are not willing to make the climb.

7 ) Lack of motivation:

It is easy to say that you would like to do something (for example: exercise, learn a language or get better at being in a relationship) but until you understand why you want to do something you will likely not accomplish it. Being truly motivated creates a powerful force or drive that can propel you to achieve what you want. Many people just think they should want something and create a fantasy around the thought. Try answering this: What do you want that you really cannot live without?

8 ) Lack of goals:

It is the old story of: “If you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to get there?” To achieve growth you need to know what you want and map out a course to get it. Many people resist creating and writing down goals often because they have simply not gotten into the habit. Start small and build your goal setting skills.

9 ) Negative/Pessimistic attitude:

This is not the same as having healthy skepticism. Having a negative/pessimistic attitude creates an internal state where few, if any, options exist. Expectations of only the worst sort of outcomes cloud the mind and hamper the possibilities of growth. The spirit is drained of inspiration and the person is stuck. Learning to creating a healthier attitude will open up your options.

10 ) Lack of support:

If you surround yourself with negative/pessimistic people you are unlikely to achieve personal growth. If you do not have a good support system you should try to develop one. It is hard to go it alone. To achieve good and great things in your life you need the support of good and great people.

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About the Author

Dr. Stan Hyman is a licensed psychotherapist and Life Coach in private practice in Miami, Florida. He works with individuals, couples and business partners helping them to resolve conflict, stay positive and create great relationships.

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