Let’s Re-evaluate What’s Holding You Back
Stop Living “Until”
So often we live our lives based on a perceived state of imperfection vs. perfection or preparedness vs. readiness, mastery vs. ineptitude, and so on. Our minds are risk- and pain-averse and like to keep up from potential disappointment and failure just as an overprotective parent might prevent their child from signing up for sports or trying new things. We have the thought that “I’m not good at that,” or “I’ll never be able to do that” so we don’t try. Our mind helpfully generates justifications and excuses that we use to buffer our position.
The problem is that the more we don’t try, the less we do, then the less chance we have to disprove our overly negative assumptions. We become fused and associated with the labels we assign to ourselves (“not good enough,” “underachiever,” “less than”). We feel as if we’re somehow avoiding something painful or scary by playing the safe way. If you search your feelings and reflect on your experience, you’re likely to find that avoidance rarely achieves what we want it to. It doesn’t work in the long term. We merely receive a temporary distraction from whatever was bothering us, only to find it plop right back in our lap in the long-term. The irony is that we usually then have to deal with the consequences of the original problem, plus our avoidance behavior (e.g., whatever we engaged in to try not to feel those feelings, such as overeating, overspending, procrastinating, you name it). By avoiding, we end up feeling worse and even further from the things that seemed “unobtainable”.
Here’s the Key
But what if your brain isn’t giving you the best advice? What if you aren’t guaranteed to fail or miss the mark? You don’t know until you try. You also probably won’t reach a point at which you feel ready to do that. Perfection, mastery, and anxiety-free states are not sustainable and are not likely to be obtained by most humans. Why? Because it’s normal for humans to experience anxiety, make mistakes, and have space to learn new things or improve upon the things they do know. If you wait for those states to arrive, you’ll be waiting for a train that never comes. You’re not likely to feel like going to the gym some days so you may just have to go unmotivated. You’re not likely to feel super confident with zero anxiety when you do something new, so you’ll just have to do it scared.
THAT’S OKAY. Say it with me. “That’s Okay!”
You can feel your [insert undesired emotion here] and do it anyway.
Your mind will continue to chatter to you about why it won’t work, why you shouldn’t do it, and make excuses for you. Great! Thanks brain. We appreciate your input and will take it under advisement. Onward toward that thing we want to do. Notice the unhelpful commentary. Hold it, and move forward.
How Do I Do This?
If you’re tired of always feeling like you fall short of your goals because you get stuck in the avoidance muck, we can help you learn how to change your relationship to unhelpful emotions and move towards what you find truly meaningful in your life.
Give our clinicians a call or email today to take the first step towards a new way of doing things!
Dr. Roddenberry can be reached at (919) 245-7791 x 1 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more about Dr. Roddenberry’s treatment approach here.