Sometimes we set goals and we make the plan and we just can’t seem to get any traction. We are acting but nothing is coming together. We are doing all the things but it just doesn’t seem to stick. Hopelessness and frustration set in and it becomes more and more tempting to throw in the towel. When our steps forward are harder than they should be and we find ourselves just forcing every action, we have to ask ourselves what is going on behind the scenes? Is there an opportunity to make peace and release some dead weight?
What we miss in those instances is the opportunity to pull up all that baggage that is keeping us stuck.
During our lives we have so many experiences that teach us about ourselves. From those experiences we start to draw conclusions and formulate all the beliefs that mold our understanding of ourselves.
I’m an awkward runner. I don’t like to cook. I’m not good with small talk. I don’t like to step outside my comfort zone.
Those thoughts are all based upon empirical evidence from our past experiences — someone once told me I run really awkwardly, I botched a homecooked meal for a date once and it was horribly embarrassing, etc.
Now we add to those thoughts additional perceptions about our life experiences —
I shouldn’t have done that, I should have known better, how could I have let myself gain this much weight, how could I have been so reckless?
Our self judgments and criticisms relating to our past experiences are also in the mix. We look at past experiences, decide how the experience was “supposed” to go, and then we pile on the blame on ourselves for the bad thing that happened. We punish ourselves for events based upon some manufactured notion of how things were supposed to have played out.
When we use our pasts to criticize ourselves we are fighting our truth. We are pretending like there is some master plan that is comprised of nothing but unicorns, daisies, and margaritas. We imply that our plan is not supposed to include dark nights, mishaps and challenges. This sounds ridiculous as I write it down and I suspect it is striking you as ridiculous too — but this is what we do! Any time you believe It shouldn’t have happened that way you are suggesting that the bad thing was never “supposed” to have happened.
What if the bad thing happened exactly as it was supposed to?
What if that experience was meant to be part of your path?
What if it was supposed to teach you something critical?
It is so much more empowering to own that negative experience and use it as a learning tool than it is to try and erase it, bury it, and beat yourself up over it. You are never going to win your battle with reality — it happened. Period. Why waste any energy thinking that it shouldn’t have happened? What is that getting you?
If you find yourself plugging away toward a goal, going through the motions but not getting anywhere, it might be a good opportunity for some introspection. What is going on behind the scenes that is keeping you stuck? What energy and belief do you need to face and make peace? For my weight loss clients, peace often comes in form of learning to love their body in a new way. It means letting go of their guilt and disdain for themselves and approaching weight loss from a place of compassion. For those of us who have had experiences with abuse, it’s about learning to forgive yourself.
When we blame ourselves and beat ourselves up for our past choices (whether the cake or the marriage!), it is the most insidious kind of judgment.
We deny trust from ourselves. We deny compassion for ourselves. We deny ourselves the insights that could come from that experience — that were MEANT TO come from that experience.
Those quiet self-judgments might not be at the forefront of your mind in every moment of your day but they are there and they are keeping you stuck.
If you buy into the belief that you are a failure who has no follow through, you are never going to lose weight. If you blame your past relationships traumas on your poor judgment, you are never going to open up to new experiences. When you see yourself as the cause of all your problems, past and present, you are always on edge waiting for yourself to do it again. You will expect your past “failures” to repeat in every new opportunity, every new relationship.
When all you have is a hammer, everything will look like a nail.
When all you have is self-judgment, every new experience will look like a new opportunity for you to fail (again). There is no way you are ever going to succeed with any goal if you don’t believe at some level that you are good enough, that you can do it and that you are right where you need to be.
That’s the crux of it: you are right where you need to be. Everything in your life that has happened has brought you to this place. Stop begrudging where you are and start looking for the lessons. Be an anthropologist of your life — what were all those hard lessons supposed to teach you? See the kernel of good in all that has happened and make peace with your past.
You can’t berate yourself into success and you can’t just go through the motions ignoring your baggage. Success only comes from within so you might as well start there.
I am a certified life and weight coach and I help women all across the country create a better relationship with themselves. I am passionate about helping women find their power and start creating the life of their dreams. I would love to help you too. Check me out by signing up for a free coaching session, your life is waiting.
Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash