What is a ‘Glass Ceiling’?

In this article, you will learn:

  • What is a “glass ceiling” in the context of psychology;

  • How and why we build a “glass ceiling”;

  • How to break a glass ceiling.

Many people dream of building a successful career, providing their families with a comfortable future and gaining authority among colleagues. However, not everyone succeeds in turning these dreams into reality. And external circumstances are not always the key factor in this problem: first, we build barriers in our head, and then we pull up the reality that will correspond to them.

The “glass ceiling” effect in careers is more often associated with women due to stereotypes prevailing in society. They started talking about him with the development of the feminist idea in the 80s of the last century in the United States. It was then that women first announced bias on the part of their counterparts of the opposite sex and were very successful in their struggle for equality. But in our time, when the idea of ​​gender equality prevails over prejudice, this phenomenon is relevant regardless of gender. Where the glass ceiling effect comes from and how to break it, you will learn from this article.

What is a “glass ceiling” in the context of psychology

The glass ceiling is a psychological barrier that often has nothing to do with objective reality. You can be very talented and very promising. But, for some reason, you do not fully implement all this.

Imagine you are walking up the stairs. You walk confidently and without fear. Then you get to a certain step and hit your head on an invisible obstacle. And find a rational explanation for this:

  • It’s too early for me to get promoted;

  • This is too responsible;

  • I’m not good enough for this;

  • I will develop chronic stress;

  • It is more painful to fall from a great height, and so on.

Of course, external tangible factors cannot be ignored, since they determine the objectivity of what is happening. Yes, and conditions for career growth are not always there. But we will dig deeper and figure out what unconscious restraints prevail over a person who has outgrown his workplace, but is desperately holding on to it.

How and why we build a glass ceiling

In fact, logically substantiated “I can’t” are often skillfully veiled “I don’t want”. In other words, a person has secondary benefits and ulterior motives for marking time in one place. The reasons why we put stop signs on our way are not realized by us, since they are stitched into the subconscious by deep attitudes. And the behavior and reactions dictated by them, as a consequence, form circumstances in the external environment where the goal is not achieved. These reasons are worth knowing.

Looking at the opinions of others

Not those abstract people who say that the career clock is ticking. They are often not authorities for us. It’s about people who influence thoughts and actions. Only significant relatives put a block on success. Of course, also unconsciously. For example, parents who, in an effort to take the life of an adult child under control, devalue his achievements in every possible way and refuse to love him as fulfilled and self-sufficient. They, in turn, are driven by the fear of becoming unnecessary and then abandoned. Another example: fear that relatives and friends will turn away because they feel they are not ready to survive your success. All of these fears in the balance far outweigh career ambitions. Therefore, when we make an important life choice in someone else’s favor, the goal that was already looming on the horizon turns into a point.

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