Let’s face it. Most of us stumble through life feeling inadequate whilst putting up a brave front to others every day. We can’t seem to shut out this curious yet powerful inner voice that keeps reminding us we do not measure up. We then try to find comfort, indulging in unhealthy behaviour such as overeating and other disempowering addictive activities that we know are bad for us. Despite knowing they are to be avoided we still do them as they give us a false sense of security that, at least, we are in full control of those activities we have chosen for ourselves. We cling on to excuses such as we are not smart enough or too smart, too fat or too thin, too old or too young, too tall or too short, too pretty or too ugly.
Ask yourself this. Do you think Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, Danny Devito, Sylvester Stallone are successful people? A resounding “yes” I am sure. You will be surprised to learn that these celebrities have serious handicaps that would tower over our own; Tom and Sylvester suffer from dyslexia, Danny Devito is height challenged and Oprah went through an impoverished childhood and teen pregnancy. They have all overcome their lives’ setbacks and achieve giant greatness.
Tom Cruise – just one of the many Hollywood celebs who has overcome personal obstacles to achieve greatness.
So what do they do differently, you may ask? Well, they do not brood over their setbacks and let the sense of hopelessness overwhelm them for one. And they develop a passion that gives them a needle sharp purpose which keeps them busy and focused. It is not that they have no problems in their lives. They just don’t do what others do – try to wish them away. They have mastered the technique of how to resolve issues quickly and stop them from becoming distracting.
We already know this, you say. It is easier said than done.
I agree with you. That’s why we need practical and easy-to-follow how-to instructions to show us the way. I totally subscribe to that too so I promise, in this article and many more to come, I will go beyond theory and attempt to adapt professional methods for daily and DIY use.
Would you like to know how to apply the trade secret method that psychiatrists, psychotherapists and counsellors use to aid others in resolving life issues and, thereby, “unstuck” them?
Step 1. Accept this simple truth – setbacks in life are NORMAL. Expecting that life is fair and that there should be no problem is actually ABNORMAL. Consider this. You put 2 people with different likes and dislikes, different priorities, different agendas together, should you be surprised that conflicts arise? Add in an ever changing environment such as weather, culture influence, you have all sorts of accidents and coincidences cropping up all the time, some going your way whereas some will go against your wishes. So, it makes no sense to blame luck, others or yourselves for simple acts of nature. You are really being too hard on yourself. Even for those who believe in the mystics, it is a shared concept that life and nature are cyclical, dynamic and ever-changing.
Once you accept this truth, you will begin to feel liberated since you no longer get disappointed frequently by wishing for the impossible.
Step 2. Arm yourself with problem-solving skills. Now you accept that life problems are inevitable, what’s next, you want to know? It naturally follows that you need to learn the powerful techniques to solve the problems as they come rather than let them stew, snowball and steam-roll you, causing you to be “stuck” and unable to do or enjoy other things that life has to offer.
Before we talk about problem solving techniques, first we must feel confident that we have the ability to solve problems. This is what self-esteem is about. Self-esteem is having the belief that you have the ability within you to take charge of your life, to solve problems that present themselves in your life. You do this by constantly recalling situations, no matter how small, that you have been successful in solving. Do not dwell on the unsuccessful ones as they will dis-empower you.
How then is that we are all plagued by this inner voice that keeps telling us we can’t? My own hypothesis is that we are programmed with this cautious voice to help us avoid physical dangers during the cavemen days. Today, we are faced not with physical danger but mental stress. However, our minds still keep misfiring and fill us with fear even when the issue is a situational one and does not present immediate physical danger.
I will share two powerful professional techniques used to correct this. They are actually very simple. Everyone can master it through practice.
One powerful technique is to mentally tell your brain to think of the word “stop” when negative thoughts run through your mind. By doing so you literally stop your thinking process. Then replace the unproductive thought with a prepared and rehearsed positive, empowering thought.
The second technique is referred to as “reframing”. This is to generate other positive possibilities or spins that can be behind the issues to combat our first one which tends to be a negative one. Example, the rain is preventing you from jogging. Instead of brooding over it and think life is unfair, you rack your brain to think of what other things you had wanted to do badly but had never got to do. For instance, the rain could give you the excuse to curl up in bed and watch the Korean soap which you had felt guilty doing before. Another example, a friend walks past you at a party ignoring you. You immediately jump to the conclusion that there is something wrong with you. Reframing – you will consider also that he might be shy and that you ought to help him out of his shyness by taking the initiative to approach him. Even if he really chooses to ignore you in the end, you should reframe again by suggesting to yourself the possibility that he is probably struggling with some crises and is distracted. This way, you would avoid deflating yourself unnecessarily, often for no good reasons.
You see, not everything is about ourselves – although we would like to think so. We are not the centre of the universe. Other people do struggle with their own real or imagined problems and often times these spill over and affect how they interact with others.
Both of these techniques need practice. Try catching your thoughts at any random moment during the day. Ask yourself “what am I thinking about now?” and try to think of the word “STOP” followed by replacing it with positive thoughts, which you had earlier prepared. Soon, you find that your mind is like a radio or TV. You can actually control it in the same way. It is fun. With practice they will become easier and easier to apply. Before you know it, they become reflex actions that not only switch off all negative thoughts midstream but they even prevent them from forming in the first place!
Now that you have prepared your state of mind, the problem-solving methods can then begin.
I will stop here for now and continue with the next instalment on:
Shau currently runs 2 companies – a word-of-mouth internet and mobile system www.pitch2us.com that helps small businesses get more customers through referrals as well as a unique wholistic slimming licensing service www.slimcurves-system.com which helps women achieve healthy bodies and empowered minds, naturally. She trains women on the system to become therapists, helping others and gaining financial independence for themselves. More of her eguides are available here.
You can contact her by dropping her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.