As Human beings we are naturally creatures of habit. The older we get the more willing we seem to be to find a comfort zone and stay in it. We have a tendency to procrastinate by getting stuck into our daily routines which somehow have a way of overwhelming us. Days, months and years pass us by, in what seems like a bat of an eyelid, until one day we wake up and realize that we haven’t achieved half the things we hoped for, or dreamt about, when we were younger.
Does this sound familiar to you? Now why should that be?
I would like you to take a moment and think back to your childhood days when you created your imaginary worlds and acted them out in the real world. Think about how you felt. My guess is that back then anything was possible. You didn’t stop to think about the consequences. You didn’t have any fears or doubts. There was nothing to hold you back. You were the sole creator of everything.
How many times did you fearlessly do something like climb up a tree and get stuck? You didn’t worry about getting stuck. You just went ahead and climbed the tree. You only worried about getting down when the need arose. Each event occupied its own time and space. You never thought that far ahead. You took one step at a time and crossed each bridge when you came to it. You never thought about failing or having failed. The aim was to climb the tree which you succeeded in doing.
So, why should things be any different when you become an adult?
The blessing of being an adult is that we have an acquired sense of knowledge from our experiences that help us make more appropriate judgments. The curse of this knowledge though is that we let it hold us back by misusing it to create possible unfounded fears in our minds.
Lets look at the example of our tree. As adults who want to climb the tree, we stand there considering how we are going to get down before we even start to think about how to climb it. Our immediate thoughts are: “What if I get stuck”?, “Who will rescue me if I get stuck”?, “If someone has to rescue me, they will think I am an idiot - at my age - climbing a tree and getting stuck”.
If we haven’t begun climbing yet, how can we possibly know whether there will be a clear way for us to get down?.
What’s happened here? Well, technically, we’ve had a goal shift without even realizing it. Instead of climbing the tree, our goal has now become getting down. We stand there, before the tree, having a series of negative thoughts and internal dialogues with ourselves, until we are completely dissuaded from our original goal. Instead of thinking positively about creative ways we could get down, i.e. by following the same path we use to climb, we choose to persuade ourselves that we cannot do it - full stop. So, we give up. We walk away from the tree and don’t even make an attempt at it.
The problem is though that when we have walked away, we still have a lingering bitter taste of disappointment in ourselves. It’s another goal gone by the way side. It’s another negative self-judgment, which is now stored in our personality profile. It’s another element we add to our failure list.
So, what happens next? Well slowly but surely, as we accumulate negative thoughts about ourselves and about the things we failed to do, we start to shy away from things we would like to do simply because we think we know we are going to fail. We make no attempt at anything that will disappoint us again. We do not trust ourselves anymore. We become insecure and lose best part, if not all, of our self-confidence. So, we only apply ourselves to the realm of things that, (we think), we know for sure that we can succeed at. We create a world around us that is safe and stay locked up in it.
Essentially, we have unwittingly and yet willingly become our own worst enemy by creating an image of ourselves as failures, as losers and as people who are not blessed with special capacities like others who seem to succeed at everything they do. The truth is that we are not giving ourselves a chance. From thereon in, we seem to prefer to shut out any opportunity that we think goes beyond our readily misconstrued abilities and we sadistically deny our true capacity for achievement any benefit of the doubt.
The end result?
We unconsciously or consciously, as the case may be, resent ourselves. We resent those around us because we love to lay blame on them for our shortcomings. We overeat to compensate and then hate ourselves for being overweight. It’s a classic vicious circle in an ongoing spiral. We are unfulfilled and dissatisfied with our job because it does not align with our original goals. We fail to make promotions in our jobs because, although we believe we are up to it, our external behavior tells the world otherwise. We have difficulties in our relationships because, in this frame of being, we choose partners who either over-compensate for us, which in the long term makes us feel completely worthless or under-compensate for us, who in the short term makes us feel better about ourselves.
As human beings we are masters of disguises. We accommodate ourselves and just plod along accepting second or third best instead of the best for us. One day though, when we least expect it, who we truly seeks revenge as it demands to be unleashed. The question is: Are you really going to wait until that happens or are you going to take action now?
It is not enough to just hope, wish or think that something is going to happen. There is an Italian motto that says: “Dio aiuta chi si aiuta”, which translated means: “God helps those who help themselves”. So, you need to take action. You need to take responsibility for yourself in the here and now if you want the future to be different. Mahatma Ghandi once said: You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Search deep in your soul and find out how you got to be where you are. Ask yourself what it is that holds you back. Put them in groups. Is it money? time? fears?
Name them all. Write them down. Acknowledge them. Then write down next to each one all of the subgroup excuses like: “I don’t earn enough”, “I work too many hours”, “I am useless at drawing”, whatever , but be sure to write them all down until you have no excuses left to write. By writing them down you are taking a step in being willing to face them. By facing them, you can work through them and then let them go.
Dig a little deeper into yourself and decide what it is exactly that you did, or failed to do in your life, that was so bad you cannot forgive yourself. Write them down. Acknowledge them. Face them and learn to forgive yourself. Tell yourself that you forgive yourself and love yourself. Tell yourself that you are sorry, that you made a mistake and that you are willing to start over. Commit to the words you tell yourself.
Then, write down all the things you have ever wanted from life. Have them clear in your mind and on the paper in front of you. Start to think of ways you can make extra time, extra money, be better at whatever it is you want. Write them down. Write down the qualities you love about yourself even the ones you lost somewhere along the way.
Set yourself realistic daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. Write them down in a journal and after each day or each week keep a written track of your progress. Learn to prioritize. Learn to manage your time better. It does not matter if you have to carry some of your goals over from one day to the next. Do not be hard on yourself because of it. Just know that you will whatever it is the following day. The important thing is to keep moving forward.
Make your end goal climbing the tree and not worrying about what the end result will be. As long as you are moving forward towards what you want, you cannot fail. As long as you are changing your views about you, you are already a winner. Doing something is better than nothing and by doing something you will begin to see a turn around in your world. Nobody can fail when they are doing their best. Praise yourself for your achievements and do not judge them by anyone else’s standards. You are you and you are unique.
Live in the preparation of today and the tomorrow will come by itself.
Drª Venerina Conti
Holistic Psychologist, Freelance Writer & Life Balance Coach
Available for completely confidential and anonymous consultations
Copyright: venrecords 2007