Personal Blocks


You’re home, and have been since Covid forced a layoff where you work.  That was 4 months ago. 2 months ago you were offered another job; you turned it down because, you told yourself, it was still too dangerous. At home, you’re going stir-crazy from boredom and no direction, and yet you still almost automatically turned down the job – without really discussing safe ways of making it happen. 2 days ago, it happened again, this time with less excuse, and you knew it was because you were scared and worried – not about getting sick (because you know how to keep yourself safe) but because you don’t know if you have what it takes: it’s been 4 months, after all, and you haven’t kept up.

That’s a block – a personal block. We all have them. We don’t like or want them. They usually make us feel at least less than powerful.

I don’t often experience my own blocks getting in my way anymore – at least, not strongly enough that they stop me in my tracks. I’ve spent years becoming aware of them and working through them. And yet, it still happens – it happened today.

We’ve all heard of writers’ block. Writers’ block can happen because of a personal block – perhaps freezing with the terror that you’ll never write something as good again as you did the last time. Personal blocks can be fear-based, but not always. They are, however, always based on our beliefs. My recent block was about both a belief and a fear – and that stopped me for a while.  I was afraid I wouldn’t measure up to the standards of others, or of myself; and I believed in standards that were actually unrealistic.

It took me a while to bring this into my awareness so that I could do something about it, and once there – in my awareness – I was able to replace that belief with something real and silence my fears of inadequacy.

This is what we all need to do to counter a personal block – bring it into awareness, see what’s really real and what isn’t, and replace the lie that stops us with a truth that moves us.

Personal blocks are coming up more and more, partly because we have less to distract us. And maybe that’s a good thing.



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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at 


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