Top 5 reasons we delay our dreams until a crisis

Throughout my 34 years of working, I’ve experienced one very chronic pattern –  I’ve tended to wait far too long, years, in certain cases, to do what I instinctively knew was right or what I deeply longed to do. Whether it was staying in business partnerships, relationships that weren’t right for me, jobs I disliked intensely, or resisting having critical conversations with people, I somehow found myself not doing what I wanted. Often, I’d wait until a crisis hit that pushed me to make a bold move.

Turns out, this experience of waiting years before doing what you long to is a very common practice among thousands of people around the world. I know because I hear from thousands every year asking for help about this.

I’ve discovered, too, through my research that women fall prey to this much more than men. Through my training as a therapist, energy healer and coaching through my programs, I’ve become much more aware of this tendency and have learned to see it more clearly for what it is – a deeply-entrenched fear of nurturing ourselves, and a fierce resistance against bravely honoring what we believe will make us happy, and acting on it.

Why do we hold ourselves back from doing what feels right?

Below are the top five reasons we don’t speak up, stand up or brave up to take the actions that will create a more nurturing, rewarding and satisfying life that aligns with what we believe and want deep down:

You question if you’re right to have these thoughts and feelings

Using my life as an example, I waited years too long to take action because I questioned if I was “right” to think the thoughts and feelings I had. For instance, after leaving corporate life and becoming a therapist, I found the therapy work for me – while rewarding – could be very dark and disturbing. I didn’t want to be in such close proximity, every minute of the day, with the darkest experiences of human life, including rape, incest, pedophilia, child abuse, drug addiction, depression and suicidality.  So much despair and pain was wreaking havoc on my own life, and it colored my personal experience in many ways. My boundaries simply weren’t sufficient at the time to experience all this pain and not have it bleed into my own life.

But I felt very bad about considering leaving therapy as a profession, and I doubted myself. I asked myself over and over, “What kind of true helper and healer am I if I leave this line of work?” So I didn’t leave, for years. Until a crisis occurred: a client called me one morning to tell me she was going to kill herself that moment by “wrapping her car around a tree.” And I realized I needed to make a change.

I’m so glad I found coaching, teaching, writing and training. I use all my therapy experience and knowledge every minute of every day in my coaching and teaching work, but my professional identity and role has shifted to something I love much more than therapy because I finally honored what I felt, deep down.

Others may disagree with your thinking, so you doubt yourself 

So often, my clients tell me they doubt what they believe or know to be true because others tell them that they’re wrong. I’ve learned this: if you listen to other people about what you should want and what they think is best for you, and refuse to make yourself your own highest guide in all things, then you’ll suffer and life won’t go well.

After all, you’re the only one on this planet who knows everything about you and can make the best decisions for where you want your life to go.

You don’t want anyone to be upset with you, and standing up for yourself upsets people 

This is a terrible problem for so many women – we don’t want to upset anyone by our actions or words. We’ve been societally trained, many of us, to be people pleasers – to do, act, appear and speak in ways that are pleasing, comfortable and supportive of others.

The problem with that is that it stifles our independence and strength, our ability to think our own thoughts and act bravely on them – especially if they’re going to be upsetting or angering to other people. 

Again, you can’t live the life you’re meant to if you never want to upset anyone.

As a writer, I’ve seen that if you’re not upsetting someone with your ideas, you’re probably not saying anything very important.

You are afraid of change or starting over because you don’t want to lose ground

Many folks know what they want to do, but are deeply afraid and resistant because this new direction will represent some form of a “loss” – of money, status, self-esteem, position, security, or other things they, or society, deem important. So, they don’t make the move until something forces their hand.

The question we need to ask ourselves in these cases is this:

“What are you giving up – what is the true cost – of you not making the move you dream of and that you know will, in the end, suit you better? What are giving up by staying where you are?”

You somehow, subconsciously, are compelled to remain attached to not loving yourself because that’s exactly where you’re most comfortable

Finally, I’ve seen over and over that, due to pain and damage in our childhoods where we weren’t validated, seen, loved, appreciated or recognized as valuable, we’re more comfortable stuck in pain, disappointment and unhappiness. You feel more comfortable and familiar with what it’s like to give up on yourself, to play the victim, to hand over your control and to make excuses for all the reasons you can’t have life as you want it. 

But once you see exactly how your subconscious sabotage is keeping you immersed in pain and regret, and even self-rejection, you’ll never again agree to keep yourself stifled and suppressed.

Are you ready to brave up and finally do what you’ve been longing to all these years?

This article originally appeared on and is republished here with permission.

Kathy Caprino, M.A. is an international career and personal success coach, writer, speaker and leadership developer dedicated to the advancement of women worldwide. Considered a “brave up” expert for professionals, Kathy is the author of Breakdown, Breakthrough,  and Founder of Ellia Communications, Inc., the Amazing Career Project and Amazing Career™ Coach Certification training.  Kathy is also a Forbes, Huffington Post and LinkedIn contributor, TEDx speaker, and top media source on careers, women at work, leadership, success and personal growth, For more info, visit and connect with Kathy on Twitter, FB, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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