What Would Your Life Look Like If Nothing Held You Back?

Recognise your ways of self-sabotage

Zita Fontaine

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Photo by Nowshad Arefin on Unsplash

I’m a huge fan of thought experiments and provocative questions that make you think and reconsider. I like musing about them and discuss them and I am ever so grateful that sometimes my kids come up with such absurd questions — with childish innocence and nonchalance — that I can’t but marvel at how their amazing brains work.

At the end of an exceptionally long day — which I have plenty of with a full-time job, a few extra projects and three kids — we got into an argument with my youngest daughter about staying up late. To make my point, I found myself explaining to a 5-year-old that life can be really difficult and people can’t always do whatever they want.

“I thought adults can do whatever they want…”
“Well not really.”
“But why? You are an adult. What stops you from doing whatever you want?”

I stopped to think of what really stopped me from doing whatever I want — and I almost started a speech about expectations and society and obligations and time and Covid-fatigue, but then I didn’t. Moreover, after we somehow resolved the conflict — involving a tiny bribe for the next morning — I started to think hard about what she asked.

Really, what stops me?

And I realised that it’s me. I am the one stopping myself. I am the one holding myself back.

Of course, there are external factors — but they are like gravity, it would be stupid to fight them. But within the limits of external limitations which could be questioned more and pushed more — I admit — the biggest obstacle in my own progress and happiness is usually me.

And in most cases, I don’t even realise that I am sabotaging myself in numerous obnoxious ways. All I know is that I am stuck. All I feel that I am less successful than I should be (according to who and what and who gets to decide by the way?). All I know that I am held back.

It takes some self-reflection and accepting a couple of harsh truths to be able to snap out of the state of self-sabotage. And the first step is to understand how you are doing it to yourself. What everyday habits and mishaps are holding…

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Zita Fontaine

Writer. Dreamer. Hopeless romantic. Newsletter: zita.substack.com Email me: zitafontaine (at) gmail