How To Help Yourself When You’re Feeling Mad Stuck
I’ve written to you nearly a dozen times in the past month. I have a bunch of almost finished posts waiting for you to read and yet they’re all sitting, unfinished, in my files.
What’s the deal?
The deal is, I keep feeling like they’re not good enough. I get ¾ of the way through my writing when the doubt creeps in, making it harder and harder to do my work. The harder it feels to do my work, the more upset I become with myself. And now, what started as something I really wanted to do, something I care a great deal about, has somehow become something that feels torturous and impossible.
How do we help ourselves when we’re feeling mad stuck? How do we get back to good?
You get back to good by taking the pressure off. You get back to good by putting down the fight you’re having with yourself.
Years ago, my approach to working out was filled with really specific expectations. I needed to work out five times a week. I had to wake up early. I had to run a certain distance in a certain amount of time. I wanted so badly to achieve a certain result. A result that would finally allow me to feel good about myself.
What I couldn’t see then, that’s so clear to me now, is that this approach is seriously flawed. It’s flawed because the underlying belief here is that you don’t deserve to feel good until you reach some other place. As long as this is the message you keep sending yourself, you’ll forever be trapped in a circle of frustration and disappointment, wondering why you keep trying so hard, but still aren’t getting what you want.
Here’s how I approach my workouts today. I go to the gym when I feel like it. I don’t go when I should go. I don’t go when Tim Ferriss says I should go. I go when I want to go. When I’m at the gym, I do the workout that feels best to me. Right now, it’s jogging, because it’s my number one form of exercise that helps me feel inspired and relaxed and good. I exercise now as a way of taking good care of myself, not because I need to burn calories, or reach a certain weight or train for a race. I no longer work out with ANY kind of pressure to get to some ‘better’ place.
I redefined my expectations. I stopped paying attention to what was easy to measure and instead began to see how good I could feel.
This changed everything.
Now when I workout, I tell myself that if my workout sucks, I’m out. I absolutely give myself permission to get the hell out of the gym if I’m just not feeling it. I stop telling myself that I need to run 4 miles each time I’m at the gym in order to feel good. Here’s the rub, this isn’t about playing a mind-game with yourself. This is about really meaning it.
This is also the piece that scares most people. We think that if we take the pressure off ourselves, if we walk away from what feels heavy and hard and no longer good enough, if we let ourselves live the way we really want, we’ll end up homeless, broke, alone and fat.
This couldn't be further from the truth.
You can’t build a life you love if you’re in the habit of being mean to yourself.
Learning how to be kinder towards myself allowed me to change on a fundamental level the quality of my relationship with myself. It’s this relationship that determines everything else. You make very different choices when you’re feeling good than when you’re feeling bad.
If you’re in the habit of being hard on yourself, please stop. You will sabotage yourself a million ways to Sunday if you don’t.
Telling yourself you’ll feel better when you finish your work, when your house is clean, when you drop a few pounds, when there’s more money in the bank, is a zero-sum game.
You will never love your life this way because you haven’t learned to love yourself now. This is what’s blocking you from having what you want.
If you’re not getting the results you want in some area of your life, the solution is not to put more pressure on yourself. You don’t need to be more disciplined, or focused or productive. You don’t need to fix yourself.
Lasting change happens when we commit to the daily practice of asking ourselves, ‘How can I feel good right here?”
In my worst moments, I ask myself, “What’s the most loving move I can make from here?” If you can ask this question, answer it truthfully and then have the courage to give yourself what you need most, I promise you this will get you further, faster, than beating yourself up.
Even if you’ve under-delivered in your work.
Even if you’ve fallen off the wagon with food or alcohol or that social media break you’ve been dying to take.
Even if you keep dating the same wrong person time and time again.
Even if your limiting beliefs sometimes get the best of you.
Even if your life still isn’t where you want it to be. None of this is cause for alarm.
What is cause for alarm is continuing to be okay with how easy it is to be hard on yourself.
By lightening up on the amount of pressure I was putting on myself to write to you I was finally able to sit down and finish what I started. And so it goes with all the things you hope to accomplish.
If being hard on yourselves has become your standard way of operating, the meaningful change you crave will always feel out of reach. I don’t want you to look back on your life and wish you had done things differently.
I hope you’ll take this message seriously and see the value in having a much more loving relationship with yourself.
Loving yourself during moments that feel tough is one of the hardest things to practice. It’s the piece that most people tend to devalue quickly. It’s also happens to be a critical component to creating lasting, meaningful change.
Love and light,
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