The Grief Trap

Yesterday I coached a young woman we can call Molly, who experienced a brutal loss her first semester at college, dropped out, and hasn't returned. I love working with people like her, who have options ahead and time to pursue them.

But here's a universal that gets in the way; the voice of doubt.

Molly is so young she doesn't yet have the skills to determine if her fear has real meaning, or if it is a simple response to trauma, that will fade as she grieves. Under her tears, she is a vibrant, fierce woman with resolute values that do not waver. She knows who she is. And, deep inside, she can feel the pull of her true path. The trick is focusing long enough to come up with a plan.

Molly is hard at work now dreaming and defining her next steps. She gave a name to the doubt monster that creeps in, right on schedule, as soon as excitement starts to build. He's called Mr. Gloomy. He has a place at the table, where Molly insists he stay put, while she plays with ideas and possibilities.

Mr. Gloomy wants to protect Molly from all risk, possible harm, and unfortunately, potential joy. She is learning to set boundaries with him, so she can get back to building her life and being happy.

Who wants to keep you stuck in sadness, and safe from risk? What boundaries could you set with your unhelpful inhibition, so you can follow your own true path?