You know that little sensation that tugs you in a certain direction? You know you must take action, whether it’s tackling a new project, changing your situation or sharing your thoughts. You know you’ll be fulfilled once you realize it. But you’re paralyzed.
You hear that little voice telling you all the “good reasons” why you can’t, why you shouldn’t or why you don’t need to undertake that action. It dissuades you over and over. And you can’t stop it.
But if you learn how to recognize it as an illusion, you can dissociate yourself from it, and it slowly dissolves.
Let’s identify a few evil thoughts and find out how to fight those mental blocks that sabotage your best intentions.
1. “I’ll never be able to make it.”
You’re telling yourself it’s impossible to do anything. You feel overwhelmed. You feel defeated way before you even start. Yes, this might be a big task, but cut it into small pieces and you’ll see how much easier it will become. Acknowledge it for what it is, and make it seem less important than it really is.
Say instead: “I don’t like this, but I’ll try to make it happen,” “This is bothering me, but I’ll do my best,” “I’d rather have an easier task, but I’ll try anyway,” or, “I can always ask for help.”
2. “It’s too late; there’s no use.”
By saying this, you don’t think of confronting your problem and solving it in a concrete way. So you’d rather forget. You’d rather erase all the negative emotions and uncomfortable sensations. You’d rather not act. Is it really too late? Is it really no use? Isn’t there still a window of opportunity? Can you still take some actions on a smaller scale?
Say instead: “It’s not over yet. I can start by doing the easy little things first.”
3. “I can’t do what they expect.”
What exactly is expected of you? Do you actually know what it is? Has anyone voiced it clearly? Do you actually think you’ve been handed over something that others don’t believe you can do? If they handed it to you, it’s because they believe in you and trust you.
Say instead: “I can respond appropriately,” or, “I can do what’s needed and it’ll work.”
4. “I can’t show this. I have to get it right. It needs to be perfect.”
You believe that anything short of perfection is horrible and that even minor imperfections will lead to catastrophe. Why subject yourself to such tyranny? Doing so will only lead you to frustration, depression, anxiety, or anger. Although it’s good to aspire to perfection and push to reach your peak level of performance, perfection doesn’t have to be the only requirement. Besides, do you have a precise idea of what “perfect” looks like? Stop hurting yourself. Stop setting standards that are so high that they can’t be met or are only met with great difficulty.
Say instead: “I’d like this to be of superior quality, but I can only do my best. A few mistakes won’t kill me.”
5. “I don’t know where to begin. I don’t know what to say.”
Here you feel helpless. You think nothing is possible when, in fact, everything is possible. There’s not one good way, but many ways to start doing something. So the real problem just lies in choosing where to begin.
Say instead: “Starting somewhere is better than starting nowhere.”
6. “I’ll do it when I find the perfect situation/person.”
When will that be? In a month, in a year or never? The perfect thing/situation might never come if you don’t take action. And it might not be as perfect as you envision it. But you can move toward it. That’s what makes life adventurous.
Say instead: “I’m willing to take risks.”
7. “Even if I try, I’ll make a mistake. I’m not good/smart enough.”
Why set yourself up to fail right away? You see it in your future as if it were already decided. Your future is not a fixed destination; it’s a place you can create out of the choices you make right now. Sure, you might make mistakes, but look forward to them, expect them, and learn from them.
Say instead: “I can adapt to any situation. I’ll do what’s necessary to make it work,” or, “I’ll get better at this.”
8. “Whatever I do, it’ll always be the same. It doesn’t make a difference.”
You have feelings of despair, discouragement, and numbness. You’ve tried a few times and failed, and you’re afraid of being hurt again. So you prefer to stay still, to be passive, to be unresponsive because you’d rather feel safe and secure.
Say instead: “Let’s try this one more time.”
9. “I’ll take care of it tomorrow/later.”
Will you really? Or would you rather ignore that little voice, that little uncomfortable physical sensation, or that unpleasant feeling? Sure, there are times when you can postpone an activity. But if you do it more than once, when you know it would be in your best interest to take care of it now, you are procrastinating big time. Ask yourself what the benefit will be if you do it now. What will it cost if you don’t?
Say instead: “I’ll do five minutes of this to start,” or, “Let’s cut it up and do one thing at a time.”
10. “This is just too hard.”
You feel you have to put too much effort into your task. But at the same time you’re still making an effort to breathe, walk, and talk, right? So you can make an effort. Yeah, it may be harder, but so what? That shouldn’t discourage you at all. At first, you might have to work a little harder, but things will get easier over time.
Say instead: “This can be easy and effortless.” (Even if it might require you to spend some energy.)
11. “That’s the way I am. I can’t change this.”
Think about this: what has remaining the same done for you lately? Has it helped you improve your situation in any way? It’s not that you can’t change, it’s that you don’t want to change. Big difference. But if you want to get ahead, you have to change.
Say instead: “I’m willing to make an effort,” or, “I’m willing to change.”
Vanquish Your Demons and Take Action
You view these recurring negative thoughts, these evil thoughts that have been holding you down in the dumps for a long time, as an excessive weight on your ankle that is stopping you from moving and realizing yourself.
But what you hear in your head is not really you. Your true self is in fact the person you could potentially become.
So change your script. Find the strength to be adventurous, dynamic, and solution-focused.
If you feel these evil thoughts paralyzing you, if you feel stuck, or if you feel dissociated, just do one thing. You must decide to let go; you must decide to move on. Allow yourself to make your situation joyful, and allow yourself to love and forgive yourself no matter what.
Because you know how you will feel about yourself once you do.
Featured photo credit: Worried Girl, Woman, Waiting/RyanMcGuire via pixabay.com