Understanding the Blocks that Bind You

By Louise Hay

Now that we understand a little more about the power that we have within us, let’s take a look at what keeps us from using it. I think that almost all of us have barriers of some kind or another. Even when we do a lot of work on ourselves, and clear out the blocks, new layers of old barriers still keep coming up. Many of us feel so flawed that we believe that we are not good enough and never will be. And, if we find something wrong with us, then we are going to find something wrong with other people as well. If we are still continuing to say, “I can’t do this because my mother said …, or my father said…,” then we have not yet grown up.

So now you want to let your barriers go, and perhaps learn something different that you didn’t know before now. Perhaps one sentence here will trigger a new thought.
Can you imagine how wonderful it would be if every day you learned a new idea that would help you let go of the past and create harmony in your life?

When you become aware and understand the individual process of life, you will know what direction to take. If you put your energies into learning about yourself, you will eventually see those problems and issues that you need to

We all have challenges in life. Everybody does. Nobody goes through life without them; otherwise, what would be the purpose of coming to this particular school called Earth? For some, there are health challenges, and for other people there are relationship challenges, or career or financial challenges. Some have a little or a lot of everything.

I think one of our biggest problems is that most of us haven’t the faintest idea of what it is we want to let go. We know what is not working and we know what we want in our life, yet we don’t know what’s holding us back. So let’s
take this time to look at the blocks that bind us.

If you think for a moment about your own patterns and problems and the things that hold you back, which categories do they fall into—criticism, fear, guilt, or resentment? I call these categories, The Big Four. Which is your favorite one?
Mine was a combination of criticism and resentment. Maybe you are like me and have two or three. Is it fear that always comes up, or guilt? Are you very, very critical or resentful? Let me point out that resentment is anger that is stuffed down. So if you believe you are not allowed to express your anger, then you have stored a lot of resentment.

We cannot deny our feelings. We cannot conveniently ignore them. When I had my cancer diagnosis, I had to look very clearly at myself. I had to acknowledge some nonsense that I didn’t want to admit about myself. For instance, I was a very resentful person, and I carried a lot of bitterness from the past. I said, “Louise, you have no time to indulge in that anymore. You really must change.” Or as Peter Mc Williams says, “You can no longer afford the
luxury of a negative thought.”

Your experiences always reflect your inner beliefs. You can literally look at your experiences and determine what your beliefs are. Maybe it’s disturbing to consider, but if you look at the people in your life, they are all mirroring some belief you have about yourself. If you are always being criticized at work, it is probably because you are critical and have become the parent who once criticized the child. Everything in our lives is a mirror of who we are.

When something is happening out there that is not comfortable, we have an opportunity to look inside and say, “How am I contributing to this experience? What is it within me that believes I deserve this?”

We all have family patterns, and it is very easy for us to blame our parents, or our childhood, or our environment, but that keeps us stuck. We don’t become free. We remain victims, and we perpetuate the same problems over and over again.
So it really doesn’t matter what anybody else did to you or what they taught you in the past. Today is a new day. You are now in charge. Now is the moment in which you are creating the future in your life and your world. It really doesn’t matter what I say either, because only you can do the work. Only you can change the way you think and feel and act. I’m just saying that you can. You definitely can because you have a Higher Power within you that can help break you free from these patterns if you allow It.

You can remind yourself that when you were a little baby, you loved yourself for who you were. There is not one little baby who criticizes its body and thinks, “Oh, my hips are too big.” Babies are thrilled and delighted just because they have bodies. They express their feelings. When a baby is happy, you know it, and when a baby is angry, the whole neighborhood knows it. They are never afraid to let people know how they feel. They live in the moment. You were like that once. As you grew up, you listened to people around you, and learned about fear and guilt and criticism from them. If you grew up in a family where criticism was the norm, then you are going to be critical as an adult. If you grew up in a family where you were not allowed to express anger, then you are probably terrified of anger and confrontation, and you swallow it and let it reside in your body.

If you were raised in a family where everybody was manipulated by guilt, then you are probably going to be the same way as an adult. You are probably a person who runs around saying “I’m sorry” all the time, and can never ask for anything outright. You feel you have to be manipulative in some way in order to get what you want.

As we grow up, we begin to pick up these false ideas and lose touch with our inner wisdom. So we really need to release these ideas and return to the purity of spirit where we truly love ourselves. We need to re-establish the wonderful innocence of life and the moment-by-moment joy of existence, the same joy that a baby feels in its blissful state of wonder.

Think of what you want to become true for yourself. State them in positive, not negative affirmations. Now, go to the mirror and repeat your affirmations. See what obstacles are in your way. When you begin to state an affirmation like, “I love and approve of myself,” really pay attention to what negative messages come up because as you recognize them they become the treasures that will unlock the door to your freedom. Usually, the messages are one of the four I mentioned earlier-criticism, fear, guilt, or resentment. And, most likely you learned these messages from people "back there."

Some of you have chosen some difficult tasks to handle in this lifetime, and it is my belief that we really come here to love ourselves in spite of what they say or do. We can always go beyond our parents' or our friends' limitations. If you were a good little girl or boy, you learned your parents' limited way of looking at life. You see, you are not bad; you are ideal children. You learned exactly what your parents taught you. Now that you are grown up, you're doing the same thing. How many of you hear yourself saying what your parents used to say? Congratulations! They were very good teachers and you were very good students, but now it is time for you to begin to think for yourself. A lot of us may face resistance when we look in the mirror and repeat our affirmations. However, resistance is the first step to change. Most of us want our lives to change, but when we are told that we have to do something different, we say, “Who me? I don’t want to do that.”

Others may experience feelings of despair. Often, if you look at the mirror and say, “I love you,” the little child inside says, “Where have you been all this time? I’ve been waiting for you to notice me.” Waves of sadness come up because you have been rejecting the little child for a long, long time.

When I did this exercise in one of my workshops, a woman said she was very, very scared. I asked her what frightened her, and she shared the fact that she was an incest survivor. Many of us have had this experience called incest and we are learning to come through it. It’s interesting that it occurs so often on our planet. We read so much about incest these days, yet I don’t think it is happening any more now than it ever did. We have advanced to a state where we now feel that children have rights and we are allowing ourselves to see this ugly sore in society. In order to release the problem, we have to first recognize it and then we can work through it.

Therapy is so important for incest survivors. We need a safe space where we can work through these feelings. When we have let the anger and rage and shame out then we move to the space where we can love ourselves. No matter what we are working on we want to remember that the feelings that come up are just feelings. We are not in the experience anymore. We need to work on making the inner child feel safe. We have to thank ourselves for having had the courage to survive this experience. Sometimes when we are dealing with an issue such as incest, it’s difficult to accept that the other person was doing the best he or she could at the time with the understanding and awareness and knowledge that they had. Acts of violence always come from people who were violated themselves.

We all need healing. When we learn to love and cherish who we are, we will no longer harm anyone.

Stop All Criticism

When we are dealing with criticism, we are usually criticizing ourselves all the time for the same things over and over. When are we going to wake up and learn that criticism doesn’t work? Let’s try another tactic. Let’s approve of ourselves as we are right now. Critical people often attract a lot of criticism because it is their pattern to criticize. What we give out, we get back. They may also need to be perfect at all times. Who’s perfect? Have you ever met a perfect person? I haven’t. If we complain about another person, we are really complaining about some aspect of ourselves.

Everyone is a reflection of us, and what we see in another person, we see in ourselves. Many times we don’t want to accept parts of who we are. We abuse ourselves with alcohol or drugs or cigarettes or overeating or whatever. These are ways of beating up on ourselves for not being perfect—but, being perfect for who? Whose early demands and expectations are we still trying to meet? Be willing to let that go. Just be. You will find that you are wonderful just as you are this very moment.

If you have always been a critical person who sees life through very negative eyes, it is going to take time for you to turn yourself around to be more loving and accepting.

You will learn to be patient with yourself as you practice letting go of the criticism which is only a habit, not the reality of your being. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be if we could live our lives without ever being criticized by anyone? We would feel totally at ease, totally comfortable. Every morning would be a wonderful new day because everyone would love you and accept you and nobody would criticize you or put you down.

You can give this happiness to yourself by becoming more accepting of the things that make you unique and special. The experience of living with yourself can be the most wonderful experience imaginable. You can wake up in the morning and feel the joy of spending another day with you.

When you love who you are, you automatically bring out the best in you. I’m not saying you will be a better person because that implies that you are not good enough now. However, you will find more positive ways to fulfill your needs, and to express more of who you really are.

Guilt Makes Us Feel Inferior

Many times people give you negative messages because it is the easiest way to manipulate you. If someone is trying to make you feel guilty, ask yourself, “What do they want.? Why are they doing this?” Ask these questions instead of inwardly agreeing, “Yes, I’m guilty, I must do what they say.”

Many parents manipulate their children with guilt because they were raised the same way. They tell lies to their children to make them feel less than. Some people are still manipulated by their relatives and friends when they grow up because, first of all, they don’t respect themselves, otherwise they wouldn’t let it happen. Secondly, they are manipulative themselves.

Many of you live under a cloud of guilt. You always feel wrong, or that you are not doing the right thing, or apologizing to someone for something. You will not forgive yourself for something you did in the past. You berate yourself for a lot that goes on in your life. Let the cloud dissipate. You don’t need to live that way any longer.

Those of you who feel guilty can now learn to say no and call people on their nonsense. I’m not saying to be angry with them, but you don’t have to play their game anymore. If saying “no” is new to you, say it very simply: “No. No, I cannot do that.” Don’t give excuses or the manipulator will have ammunition to talk you out of your decision. When people see that manipulating you doesn’t work, they will stop.

People will only control you as long as you allow them to. You may feel guilty the first time you say no; however, it gets easier the next few times.

A woman at one of my lectures had a baby who was born with congenital heart dis-ease. She felt guilty because she believed that it was her fault—she did something to the baby. Unfortunately, guilt does not solve anything. In her case, no one did anything wrong. I told her that I thought it could have been a soul choice for the baby, and a lesson for both the mother and baby. My answer was for her to love the baby and love herself and stop feeling that she did something wrong. That sort of guilt would not heal anyone. If you do something that you are sorry about, stop doing it. If you did something in the past that you still feel guilty about, forgive yourself. If you can make amends, do it, and don’t repeat the action again. Every time guilt comes up in your life, ask yourself, “What do I still believe about myself?” “Who am I trying to please?” Notice the childhood beliefs that come up.

When someone comes to me who has been involved in a car accident, there is usually guilt on a deep-seated level and a need for punishment. There can also is usually guilt on a deep-seated level and a need for punishment. There can also be a lot of repressed hostility because we feel we don’t have the right to speak up for ourselves. Guilt seeks punishment, so we can literally become our own judge, jury, and executioner—condemning ourselves to a self-imposed prison. We punish ourselves, and there is no one around to come to our defense. It’s time to forgive ourselves and set ourselves free.

One elderly lady at one of my seminars felt enormous guilt about her middle-aged son. He was an only child who grew up to be a very withdrawn person. She felt guilty because she was very strict with him while he was growing up. I explained that she had done the best she knew how to do at the time. I believe he chose her as a mother before he incarnated into this lifetime, so on a spiritual level, he knew what he was doing. I told her that she was wasting all her energy feeling guilty about something that she couldn’t change. She sighed, “It’s such a shame that he’s this way, and I’m sorry I did a bad job.” You see, that’s wasted energy because it doesn’t help her son now, and it certainly doesn’t help her. Guilt becomes a very heavy burden and makes people feel inferior.

Instead, I told her that every time the feeling came up, she could say something like, “No, I don’t want to feel that anymore. I’m willing to learn to love myself. I accept my son exactly as he is.” If she continued to do this, the pattern would start to shift. Even if we don’t know how to love ourselves, the fact that we are willing to love ourselves will create the difference. It’s just not worth it to hold on to these patterns. The lesson is always love yourself. Her lesson was not to heal her son, but to love herself. He came into this life to love himself. She can’t do it for him, and he can’t do it for her.

Organized religions are often really good at making people feel guilty. Many of them do some heavy numbers to keep people in line, especially when they are young. However, we aren’t little children anymore, and we don’t have to be kept in line. We are adults who can decide what we want to believe. The child in us feels the guilt, but there is also the adult in us who can teach the child otherwise.

When you hold your emotions down, or hold things in, you create havoc within you. Love yourself enough to allow yourself to feel your emotions. Allow your feelings to come to the surface. You may find yourself crying for days or your feelings to come to the surface. You may find yourself crying for days or getting angry a lot. You may have to process quite a bit of old stuff. I suggest you do affirmations that make going through the process easier, smoother, and more comfortable:

“I now release with ease all old negative beliefs.”
“It’s comfortable for me to change,”
“My pathway is now smooth,”
“I am free of the past.”

Don’t also add judgment to your feelings. That only pushes the feelings down even more. If you are going through incredible dilemmas or crises, affirm that you are safe and that you are willing to feel. Affirming these positive feelings will bring about beneficial changes