Why Can’t I Move Forward in Life?

Move Forward In LifeYou are not alone if you find yourself asking, “Why Can’t I move forward in life?”

The bad news is that your failure to move forward is probably due to experiences in your past. The good news is that this does not define you. Changes can occur that will allow you to move forward. You just need to recognize what you need to change and be brave enough to do the work.

There are so many reasons that could cause your struggle to move forward in life. Messages you received as a child can be unknowingly carried into adulthood, damaging your self-confidence and preventing your success and happiness. Or a difficult situation in the workplace may have damaged your self-confidence.

However, you can let go of the past, learn from these mistakes, and set yourself on a path to achieve the success and happiness that you deserve.

Let’s take a look at various life situations that can cause fear and doubt and how you can overcome these to move forward in life.


Negative Messages and Experiences from Childhood

A child is born with a natural emotional openness to life experiences. However, early experiences can teach some children that the world is not a safe place.

I don’t say this with blame. How we function in life began from messages we learned, witnessed, and experienced. Many times these messages began in a parent’s childhood. 

This limitation in a child’s early development includes the inability to question the accuracy of what a child experiences. Besides, the young child does not have the mental capacity to think outside themselves and their experiences. Therefore, they carry these negative beliefs forward in their life.

This limitation prevents the child from understanding that their negative beliefs are most likely inaccurate. Unfortunately, these beliefs about their Self follow them into adulthood. My article The Inner Child: Whose Eyes Do You See Through? discusses overcoming these erroneous beliefs.


Move Forward in Life By Correcting Negative School Experiences

As the child enters school, he carries those negative beliefs with him. The child continues to experience negative situations without questioning their truth. This acceptance of negative events seems normal to the child because often it matches what the child learned to expect from others because of his “limitations” or negative behavior.

Therefore, it’s easy to understand how a child’s early experiences form his belief about himself from the beginning of his life.

The limitations he experiences in school could change for the better, depending upon the experiences he has with his teachers and other students. However, since we carry our own beliefs of our worth, this usually is not the case.

 The lucky few are the kids who had an excellent teacher who saw their worth and helped the child to understand and accept this as well. But sadly, some teachers may not have recognized the child’s social or academic limitations or gifts. Or perhaps they were overwhelmed with their responsibilities and missed the cues. Heal Negative Childhood Experiences as an Adult can help you understand how to correct the effect of these experiences.


Choosing a Career

How one chooses their career comes from a variety of ways. They may have had a dream of a particular path since childhood. Or they picked up a parent’s expectation of a specific path in life.

Sometimes it was just dumb luck that they fell into a career they loved by accident. And others may have only worked at a job because they were hired.

Regardless of the path, we take our sense of Self with us wherever we go. The less we believe in ourselves, the less we are likely to take chances of the “unknown” for fear of failure. 

Therefore, we may choose what feels “safe” for us and has the least chance of us failing. Or we believe in our Self and move forward.

The key is to choose a career that you enjoy and makes you feel good about yourself. And to do that, you must become good friends with your “core,” that gut feeling we all have inside us from time to time. Your Core is Your New Best Friend explains how to do this.


Our Work Habits and Beliefs About Self Determine Success in Life

The more we value ourselves, the better we will want to do in life. When we believe we can succeed, we are more motivated to work toward that result. We also will look for signs of moving forward towards success along the way.

If we don’t believe in our ability to succeed, we lose faith in ourselves and most often lose our motivation to do the necessary work. Also, the less confidence we have to succeed, we quickly can learn only to see our failures. This negative focus will inaccurately define our ability to be successful in life.

Everyone has ups and downs in life. What matters most is that we continue to move forward in a healthy and productive path. 

It’s vital for you to always be aware of your beliefs about you and your ability to move forward in life. If you are needing more training to do the work that makes you happy, then put the effort into those things that help you achieve this goal.

This is a choice we all must make in life. The ABCs of Improving Your Self-Esteem NOW can get you on the right track.


Creating Healthy Relationships – What Gets in the Way?

If you find you are not moving forward in your life in terms of your relationships, you need to examine the emotional health of those people you are attracting. Are these relationships making you happy? Are they healthy?

As we create friendships and romantic relationships in our lives, we attract those people who have about the same degree of self-esteem as ours. It may look different, but it still will be about the same degree of self-esteem.

If you want to be in a healthy relationship, you need to be emotionally healthy yourself. Therefore, it”s imperative to do an inventory of how you value and believe in yourself. 

Here are three articles from my website that discuss in more detail the connection between our dating experiences and our. Self-esteem. Here is the first article: self-esteem. The next article addresses the concept of identifying an unhealthy relationship. And the third article identifies components of a healthy relationship.

If you want to have a healthy relationship, it begins with you and your self-esteem. As your view of yourself improves and becomes more accurate in positive ways, so will your relationship choices.


Commitment in General

Webster’s definition of commitment is “engagement or involvement.” For some, this means being “stuck,” trapped, confined, etc. 

For some people, the fear of being trapped and unhappy, or having a lack of choices for oneself, “feels awful.” Just saying the word “commitment” is unsettling. Living that negative experience is even worse. 

Often, it’s a fear of having regrets and not being able to make a positive change due to a lack of control. However, it’s essential to look at this issue closely. You must identify how and why you would feel you have no choice or way out of a particular situation.

Then, determine what action you can take to improve or change the situation. Look at your choices. Seek consultation if need be. You don’t have to do this on your own.

Very often, what we call commitment is not always “permanent” if we choose to make a change. What’s most important is to learn from negative choices and improve your decision-making in the future.

This article discusses How to Overcome Regrets and Move On With Your Life.


Committing to the Right Mate

For some, commitment is a challenge. A romantic relationship is the most vulnerable relationship there is because the heart does what the heart wants. We have no control over that. However, we can control what we do about a situation.

 What if you feel down the line that you made a mistake? How do you get out of a negative relationship? And very often, there is a fear of making the same mistakes in the next relationship.

What people often don’t understand is that if you actively learn along the way what works and what doesn’t work for you, you move forward in your life.

Remember, the healthier your self-esteem is, the healthier your mate will be because we tend to choose the same degree of self-esteem as ours. Therefore, if you make healthy choices, your relationship will tend to be easier to navigate moving forward. Both people will be more inclined to put effort into the relationship so it can flourish and grow.

I developed a Relationship Checklist to help you work through this process.

Healthy Relationships 101 isn’t taught in school, so don’t be afraid of getting assistance from professionals along the way. 


Letting Go of the Past to Move Forward In Life

Ahh, this is one of the biggest challenges for many people. It’s about seeing the humanness in ourselves and moving forward in life with positive changes. 

Everyone has had negative experiences in their life. It’s often how we learn about ourselves and what works for us. The challenge is not to allow yourself to be defined by those negative experiences. Instead, learn and move forward. 

Some people struggle more to let go of the past than others. Sometimes it’s because they feel so much guilt from their actions that they believe they don’t deserve to feel better. It’s about forgiveness and our fallibility to make mistakes.

For others, they don’t know how to let go of negative things, especially when those actions were at the hands of someone else. They don’t know how to forgive – themselves or others. So they feel trapped and resign themselves to living out the memories of negative experiences – as if that’s their punishment for their choices. Punishing yourself is not necessary. It’s important to learn from our mistakes and to see the humanness in us and others who fall short or fail sometimes. 

One of my favorite sayings is that “we use up heartbeats” and waste them over some of our poor choices in life by hanging on to our regrets. Instead, accept the humanness in yourself and others and move forward. Life is way too short to hang on to past negative feelings. It’s a choice, however.

If you missed it, here’s How to Overcome Regrets and Move On With Your Life.


Learning From Your Past Mistakes

Whether we learn from past mistakes or not is a choice we make. We can hang on to negative beliefs about ourselves or someone else, or we can choose to make positive changes and move on. The choice will always be yours to make.

If you see the humanness in yourself and others, you know we all make mistakes. If you believe you can change, then so can others if they also choose that path. All you can do is focus on your choices and decisions and move on from there. We have no control over other people’s choices—only ours.


Final Comments

As you can see, there are many reasons some people don’t move forward in life. To me, it’s a choice we all must make, one way or another. Will you waste “heartbeats” holding onto grudges, fear, resentments, and other ways of being stuck?

Or will you choose to let go of those negative things that have held you back from enjoying life and moving forward?

The choice is yours to make. If you don’t know how to make the changes don’t be afraid to seek professional guidance, remember, they don’t teach life skills in school. It’s never too late to move forward in life.

About Susan Saint-Welch

Susan Saint-Welch LMFT has counseled couples and individuals for many years on issues such as dating, marriage, family drama, coping with difficult times, improving self-image and living the life you love. She provides psychotherapy for clients in California and Dating, Couples and Life Coaching for clients outside California through secure video conferencing. She has published numerous articles regarding these issues on her website, on YourTango.com and on MSN.com.

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