I think most of us can relate to feeling frustrated and helpless when we are feeling stuck. It’s an awful feeling to want forward movement and have your “wheels spinning.”
Oftentimes the biggest contributing factor to our stagnation is ourselves.
It’s our limiting beliefs, low self-esteem and self-sabotaging behaviors that seem to betray us.
There’s a civil war raging inside us between wanting happiness and wellness and being emotionally in a place to believe that we deserve those things.
If you’re reading this and you resonate, be encouraged. You are not alone and there is certainly hope to create the life you want to “get out of your own way.”
The first place to start in assessing how best to get “unstuck” is to figure out what obstacles are getting in the way of the positive change we want to see in our lives.
For most people, their relationship with themselves is the biggest monkey wrench “jamming the system.”
Often times our struggle with self-worth and self-sabotage is rooted in painful life experiences that reinforced that we are unworthy of being happy and healthy and we internalized these experiences and their messages as gospel truth.
The most helpful tools in shifting out of that stuck place is through awareness and loving accountability.
Self-awareness helps us be able to recognize when we might be making decisions operating from a place of self-judgement and condemnation.
Think about it…if you are believing the worst about yourself, your emotions and actions will follow. Your decisions may reflect an unconscious, or perhaps conscious, belief that you are bad or not good enough.
If you’re bad and not good enough, you will make self-punishing choices that reinforce you deserve judgement and punishment.
If, with the practice and power of self-awareness, you can begin to “catch” small thoughts, feelings and behaviors that reflect believing that you are unworthy and undeserving, you can begin to implement change.
Pay attention to small and perhaps subtle ways you might be standing in agreement with low self-worth.
Start really small by bringing awareness to things like choices in how you physically care for yourself, ways in which you can be kinder to yourself that feel “doable.” As you bring awareness to these patterns, you are both practicing choosing healthy and positive ways of thinking and you are warming up the “self-compassion muscle” that will be vital when you begin to look at larger decisions in your life.
Larger life decisions may be how you allow yourself to be treated, what you give yourself permission to dream for and execute.
If we can begin to notice our small patterns, they will highlight bigger patterns and help us to bring our unconscious to conscious awareness.
We can’t change things until we are made aware of them.
By working to observe things in our thoughts, feelings and behaviors, we can begin to observe without judgement. Simply notice. Meet the temptation to think negatively about yourself with “that’s curious” or “isn’t that interesting.”
Observe simply for the sake of noticing for a while. This will begin to teach you how to interact with self-sabotaging patterns with self-compassion in the future.
Start small and aim to be as consistent as you are able. Start where you start and know that that is good enough.
This effort all builds on one another and truly leads to seeing the larger positive shift we’re all hoping for. Find people who love and support you and share how you’re working on “getting out of your own way.” You’ll be surprised with the support you’ll be offered.
Having a safe and trusting support system allows you to work through things in community and healthy relationships can often usher in healing where past relationships wounded us.
If you are struggling to find safe and trustworthy support, seriously consider seeking out a professional therapist who can walk alongside you as you remove the obstacles that have kept you “stuck.” They will encourage you, hold you accountable and empower you to maintain positive change in your everyday life.
May you be encouraged that change is possible and know that you are wildly capable of creating the change you want to see in your life.
Start small and go from there. When you feel like you’ve messed up, keep going. Reframe the idea of failure and embrace that failure is a necessary part of learning and growing, not evidence of you not being good enough.
Be mindful of what you’re thinking about yourself and observe unkind, abusive thoughts.
Begin to believe that if you would not say those things to a loved one, then it is not okay for you to say it to yourself. Surround yourself with trustworthy and emotionally safe people who will support you as you learn and grow. May you be well and fight for yourself. You are so valuable and you can do this!
Lauren Bittner LPC, NCC, CCTAP, CCTP, SFW – www.lauren1bittner.wixsite.com/instillhope
“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” – Bruce Lee
Personal growth and life transformations start with awareness.
An awareness of time, our most valuable currency, provides an opportunity to cut through chaos and move straight to the creation of goals and strategies for achieving those goals.
For many, even the awareness of time and our humanity isn’t enough to break free from pain, take chances, and discover our best lives.
Why is that?
The simplest explanation is that it’s easier to be complacent than to experience the discomfort that comes with change and the unknown.
But there are those that understand the value of time and are no longer willing to accept pain. Once the switch has flipped, amazing transformations can begin.
A dear client stated, “Well, I better get to changing or get to dying, because I can’t do this anymore.”
Her switch flipped.
She created goals and within a year of our first visit she divorced her abusive husband, found a good job, and started college. She and her daughter are safe and happy. It wasn’t easy, but she is proud of her accomplishments. She is an example of how the awareness of time and pain can motivate change.
When we’re aware of time, we do our best to spend it wisely.
We are watchful of seemingly benign ways time is wasted. We let go of past and regrets. We no longer anticipate another person’s opinions or judgements. We refuse to be robbed of our time, damage our self-esteem, or impact our personal growth.
“My past is divided into two parts: Incredible memories or amazing lessons,” is an affirmation I created to remind my clients to look forward and to find the good in every experience.
Recalling or revisiting any memory can be useful, once we decide that it is. Experiences are good teachers and are the main ingredients of empathy, understanding, compassion and love.
Remember, it takes the same amount of time to generate negative or positive words and thoughts.
Unfortunately, it is easy to default to negative and outdated programming, especially if we have been perfecting our negativity for a few decades. However, we can train our minds to default to more positive thoughts and behaviors by:
- Pausing – When you notice negative thoughts or speaking words, simply pause and pay attention for about five to eight seconds.
- Processing – During the pause, ask yourself, “Is this a good use of my time?”
- Proceeding – Using the feedback from pausing and processing to decide your next steps.
Over the next week, notice how you spend your valuable time.
Write down the amount of time you spend doing tasks you hate, thinking thoughts that don’t serve you, or feeling guilt or shame. Count the minutes and hours and then ask yourself, “What would I love to be doing instead of this?” Then, do that and be happy.
Renae Cerquitella, Behavioral Health and Relationship Coach – www.okchypno.com