Last week I talked about embracing change. This can be difficult when you’re stuck in some way—and there are a lot of ways to be stuck! That’s especially true when you perceive being in a rut as something negative that's beyond your control instead of a signal to your psyche that something needs to shift.
I want to share with you three common roadblocks that can keep you marching in place, and a suggestion for moving past each one.
When you fear the outcome of taking action it can be challenging to make a move. You might fear what others will think, or fear that you’re not enough. Maybe you fear you won’t like the change, or that it might be too hard for you, or that you don’t know enough and you need to be certain of everything before you can make a move. Maybe it's just that it seems easier to stay stuck than anything else. Any of those could slow you down; more than one might be totally paralyzing.
The good news is most of your fears are unfounded. Steven Pressfield explains it as Resistance in The Art of War, and it shows up as any kind of roadblock in your way. Psychologists say it’s your Ego trying to keep you safe from the unknown. Evolutionary biologists talk about how your fight/flight/freeze response gets triggered now by things that aren’t really dangerous.
The reason for your fears doesn’t really matter. What’s important is that you recognize them as mere thoughts and don’t let them keep you stuck.
Suggestion: Simplify everything down to two simple forces, LOVE and FEAR, and choose to go with LOVE. Use that as the lens to look at your thoughts and to make choices on your actions. If you come from LOVE—for yourself, for others, for the universe—things feel expansive, possible, even warm and fuzzy. What would be an exciting, slightly expansivel next step if you use LOVE as your guide and let go of fear?
Highly sensitive people are masters of overthinking. You may have realized how much time gets sucked up by rolling possibilities around and around like marbles in your brain. In some ways this connects to fear, because you want to be totally sure you’ve thought through every possible trajectory before you make a choice. Or maybe you imagine every response each person in your world might have to the action you take. Honestly, none of this is helpful. It doesn’t help you take action, it just keeps you in the rut. The sooner you can recognize when you’re spending too much time on the same question, the better.
Suggestion: Set a timer for how long you’ll spend to research or think about a certain decision. Fifteen minutes for something small, a couple hours for something larger. List pros and cons, write down probable outcomes, get facts that are relevant. When the timer goes off, stop. Set the timer again for 1-5 minutes and use that time to choose your next action. If you can’t decide by the end of that time, flip a coin representing the two top answers, and follow through on whichever one you get. If later on you receive more information and feel another choice is better, that’s fine. You can always switch it up if there’s a good reason. The point is to get out of analysis paralysis and do something.
LACK OF WORTH.
Feeling like you’re undeserving of the good things in life is a showstopper. It’s often connected to putting everything and everyone ahead of yourself. When you get all that taken care of there’s little time or energy left for you and so your dreams and ideas go to the bottom of the list—every time. Sometimes there’s the self-defeating question Who am I to think I can/should/deserve _______ ?
These limiting thoughts are often leftover from childhood when, as a highly sensitive child, you took in unkind and erroneous information from others and it lodged deep in your belief system. You may have ideas about yourself that no longer serve you. In fact, they do the opposite, they sabotage you.
Suggestion: Take time to discover what it is you truly desire.
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
If there were no restrictions on time, money, energy, or education, what would you love to try?
If you go back to the dreams you had as a child or adolescent, which ones still hold excitement for you?
Now remind yourself that there’s a mission you’re here to complete that no one else can do because it’s uniquely yours to carry out. To ignore this dream is a huge loss, not only to you, but to the world that awaits it. You are worthy and deserving of bringing this vision to fruition. What is the first baby step you want to make in moving closer to your dream?
Above all, remember to be kind to yourself. Beating yourself up when you realize how long you’ve been standing still is not helpful in any way. Be grateful for the awareness you have now and the opportunity to take action, all the while practicing self-compassion.