Sometimes the biggest obstacles are the ones we create and tell ourselves about the world around us.
Our thoughts are more powerful than we realize, governing our expectations, our interactions, and ultimately our ability to be successful.
It's easy for delusions and lies to take root and grow, and left unchecked, they can do serious harm.
Do any of these sound familiar?
1. I have to be perfect.
Even if perfection were achievable, it's not a healthy goal; as we discussed here not long ago, perfectionism can hold you back. Remember that mistakes are part of being human -- and sometimes they're our most valuable teachers.
2. My life is harder than anyone else's.
Everyone faces difficulty and crisis. It is in dealing with every challenge, problem, and difficulty that we are able to learn and grow.
3. If I ignore it, it will go away.
Procrastination, magical thinking, and rescue fantasies may help us avoid hard truths for a while. But reality always catches up, and the longer you wait the worse it becomes.
4. I'm too young, or I'm too old.
I recently wrote about accomplishing great things at any age. At 5, Mozart was already competent on keyboard and violin, and at 76, Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa. The truth is you are never too young or too old.
5. I'm just not the happy type.
There will always be difficulties, but we determine how we handle them. Remember, happiness is not something we are; it is something we become through our choices.
6. I don't judge people.
We all judge people. Researchers say we arrive at our first conclusion in less than a second. In some cases, it's ourselves whom we're judging, seeing how we measure up and fit in.
7. If I follow my heart, everything will work out.
Following your heart is good, but it should never override intellect and intuition. Aim for balance.
8. I don't have a choice.
We always have a choice. It's easy to blame others, or fate, for our outcomes, but accepting responsibility for yourself and your actions is an essential part of your humanity.
9. My worth is determined by my work.
No single facet of your life determines your worth. It's spoken in every action and word you undertake. It's who you are.
At worst, lying to ourselves can destroy us. At best, it can make life more difficult.
Let's really think about it.
A version of this post originally appeared on Medium.