Why Do We Hold Ourselves Back?

As I write this, I am sitting at a desk in room 228. It’s the end of day two  (of four) of a life design workshop. I’m tired, but it’s a good tired. It’s that “I-just-spent-the-day-knee-deep-in-soul-searching” tired. It’s that kind of tired.

As part of our work today, we were asked to craft a mission statement. To be honest, these scare me for several reasons. First, it feels like I am making a big commitment, really putting out there what my work in this world needs to be.  And that scares me, because, what if I fail? Second, it feels scary to somehow define everything I am and desire to do in 8-10 words. The fear is there, true, but y’all (I am in NC) know by now that I figure out a way to move past that fear and do it anyway. ;) (At least I try!)

As part of this exercise, we were asked to partner up and answer certain questions. The first question we had to explore was “Is there a big question I’d like to answer or a problem I feel compelled to solve?”

Boom. Just like that the question came flying into my mind:

Why do hold ourselves back?

It doesn’t seem to matter whether it is because of the stories we continuously tell ourselves about real or perceived past or present events, or the excuses we make to do or not do something, or the complete avoidance of something that we know on some level we need to address in order to get to that next best stage of our lives. Regardless of what it is, the end result is the same: we hold ourselves back.


We hold ourselves back from reaching our fullest potential.

We hold ourselves back from genuine connection.

We hold ourselves back from following our dreams.

We hold ourselves back from transforming into the most authentic version of ourselves.


Over the course of this week we’ve watched many motivational videos, participated in meditations, met new people, and discovered more about our values, beliefs and desires. It’s been inspiring and very motivating. Yet, it hasn’t fully answered my question of why do we hold ourselves back?

In some ways, the pursuit of finding answers to this question feels like a big part of my purpose. I want to know why we develop fear. I want to know why we allow stories to keep us stuck. I want to know why we cannot let certain things go. I want to know why we hold ourselves back.

While I don’t have a complete answer right now, I do believe this: I believe that we each have these unique struggles and challenges in our daily experiences to guide us to our purpose(s). I believe that the very reason why I have this question is a big signal that I am to be looking at this in myself and in others and to share what I find as part of my service to this world. I believe that the very things we are here to learn in this life are the things we are here to teach, as well.

And, I believe that trainings such as the one I am attending gives me the tools to be able to develop the awareness that leads to the knowing of what I am supposed to do at this point in my life. It is the catalyst for the questions and subsequently, the answers.

And now I turn the question to each one of you, from a deep space of curiosity and wonder, I ask you: why do (or did) you hold yourself back?

Comment below, send me an email or message me on FB.

The more we can find a common thread in our uncommon experiences, the more we will be able to identify why we hold ourselves back and what we need to do to keep moving forward. I thank you for anything you wish to share with me about this topic.

I’d like to end with this: you are this perfectly imperfect creature, made on purpose and with a purpose. As long as you have a breath in your body, you have a reason for being here on this Earth. Next time you find yourself holding back, I ask you to think of this post, stop for a moment and breath. Then ask yourself, why am I holding myself back? and allow the answers to come to you. And when you have finished processing those answers (whether it is seconds or days later), please pull on every inner and outer resource you have and take that next step forward, for the world needs every ounce of that purpose that lives in your heart.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash