You got the promotion! After waiting patiently (and proving your mettle), you’re finally reaping the rewards.
For a few glorious minutes after eating said salad, you feel on top of the world, invincible, and light. Until reality sets back in again.
It seems like everything that could go wrong does- your boss has been giving you the side eye, computer crashes at work, locked out of your apartment. You decide to drink away your sorrows at the company happy hour and have one too many glasses of wine, showcasing classic signs of self-sabotage
Just a few days ago, you felt like you had your life together. Now, you’re left wondering where that feeling went and how to get it back.
The Upper Limit Problem is when we subconsciously sabotage ourselves after experiencing something great, like a promotion or finishing a marathon. This self-defeating belief that we aren’t good enough for success often happens without us realizing it.
According to psychologist and author Gay Hendricks, we have an “inner thermostat setting” that controls how much good feelings we permit ourselves to experience. If we exceed our customary level of happiness—through success or abundance, for example—we unconsciously bring ourselves back down by inviting in negative thoughts related to self-sabotage syndrome.
We often tell ourselves that we’re just being “realistic” or humble when, in reality, we feel undeserving of happiness and success. However, this attitude can prevent us from achieving big wins. If you find yourself thinking like this, it’s actually a sign that you’re positively challenging yourself and attracting more abundance into your life.
Have you ever been in the middle of celebrating a victory when Suddenly, negativity pops into your head and ruins the moment? It’s like being hit in the stomach- all of the wind is knocked out of you. For example, You might be thinking to yourself or telling a friend about how great things are going at work, when you start doubting yourself (“I know presenting in front of the CEO is an awesome opportunity, but what would my colleagues think of me being chosen for this instead of them? Who am I to have the spotlight?”). Suddenly, your good mood vanishes and is replaced with anxiousness, suspicion, and that horrible feeling deep in your stomach. Consequently, this feeling expresses itself outwardly; you become so tense that you get a sinus infection the day of your big presentation.
If we want to be successful and happy, it is essential that we understand the Upper Limit Problem. This way, we can prevent its negative effects from holding us back. The Upper Limit Problem refers to the feeling of discomfort and self-sabotage that come with success and happiness. In order to overcome this problem, we must learn to recognize it and take steps to eliminate it from our lives.
These are the three steps you’ll want to take:
1. Get to know your “happiness comfort zone.”
The Upper Limit Problem is a sense of discomfort you may feel as a result of success. It can be helpful to think back to times in your life when you experienced this problem so that you can understand how it affects your self-worth and happiness. If you’re aware of the sabotaging limiting beliefs that crop up when you’re doing well, you’ll be better equipped to handle them.
2. Constantly test your boundaries.
Accept happiness and enjoy the feelings without judging them. If you start to think about worst case scenarios, remind yourself of the good feeling and return your focus to enjoying the moment.
You can also choose to share your accomplishments and happy experiences on social media. Whenever someone sends you a compliment or congratulatory message, make an effort to read it and reply with something along the lines of, “Thank you so much! I put in a lot of hard work and it’s great to see that it’s finally paying off.” Avoid diminishing your success by attributing it solely to luck, good timing, or any other external causes.
3. See your discomfort in a new light.
You’re not stuck with your current level of happiness. Work to change the way you feel about success and happiness, so it’s easier to maintain a high set point in the future.
Because brains are hardwired to avoid risk, Upper Limit Problems arise.
So when you’re feeling anxious after taking a risk that paid off, remind yourself that this is good news! It means all your hard work is finally starting to pay off. Acknowledge the discomfort and remember that it’s just a sign you’re headed in the right direction. You might even achieve more success than you ever thought possible!
If you’re aware of the Upper Limit Problem and its contributing emotions but don’t give in to them, you’ll be much more likely to succeed. Acknowledging these feelings allows you to work up to your potential and share your talents with others.
Have you struggled with the Upper Limit Problem and seen its negative side effects in action? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@MelodyWilding)!
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