Getting there



So you want to do something ------and that involves making changes in your life. You want to do something but somehow you keep coming up to “New years resolution” time each year  and the same issue lies there on the table unresolved, unsolved, not moved forward.

Sometimes it is circumstances, sometimes it is the people around you but far more often it is YOU that causes the lack of progress.

Making changes is scary, it is the unknown. There is security in your current position, you know where you are what your limits are. If you achieve that goal there will be a whole new set of things to worry about--- so is it worth swapping one set of concerns for another?

There also a degree of self indulgence in the victim role “ Why cant I get ahead” “Why does everyone else seem to succeed” That is a known place I can cheer myself up with food/ wine/ chocolate etc  and feel hard done by but cosy and safe. “Poor me”

We often think the lives of others are more exciting, successful, rewarding but that is just what we choose to believe, what we tell ourselves as a way of comparing.

All that does is make us feel bad about ourselves and maybe even jealous of others. Neither of these emotions  gives us any benefit, they build the barrier between us and our aspirations even higher, makes them less attainable

 

One way to start getting things sorted is to analyse those we see as doing better than us and see the real picture -- bigger house equals bigger mortgage, bigger car equals bigger loan which then guarantees higher stress levels, more pressure to work hard just to stand still. Consider that what you are envying is their debt, their stress, their fear of something happening that will result in them losing what they have. That is just one aspect to consider when comparing lives. Think too about the strain those people put on their relationships in attempting to convince you that they are happy and successful. It is you they are doing all this for, to impress you, to make you like them, to make you want to be around them.

 

Now we need to be careful, we are not saying  ( well actually yes we are saying ) “Don’t strive for what they have”

 

The conspicuous signs of success come as a result of realising ambition and being successful at whatever you want to do. Where many go wrong is in seeking the material stuff and then finding themselves enslaved by the need to pay for it so that whatever pleasure they originally got from their success is lost in  maintaining a  lifestyle that really has nothing to do with it.

 

Mindfulness asserts that striving is not a good thing because it makes your focus narrow, makes your goals the only thing you chase which  then takes away the quality of your life.  We set ourselves targets and goals, work out indicators that show us if we are on track or falling behind. It is like steering down a bumpy track and forcing the car to create new roads rather than following established tracks--- because we are led to think that we have to be constantly innovating, breaking the mould, finding new directions. That sounds like quite aggressive  and energy consuming action so we tend to feel daunted by the prospect.

BUT what if there is a different approach?

What if instead of dashing off looking for new directions we begin by looking at what already exists--- patiently noticing every aspect. Don’t think of this as copping out or sitting back, this is a proactive exercise, it takes effort not to dash in and start solving things with only partial knowledge or information.

When we see the full picture, understand why things are as they are that we see new opportunities, new ways of doing things. In fact it is highly productive because you can view all the things you are comparing as partial failures--- they have elements that you could use—but your calm observation allows you to see which parts are not necessary, which elements are missing, what new direction you could take things that others have already developed.

 

So the way this relates to New Years Resolutions is ?

 

It is to enable you not to see a wall of difficulties to overcome in order to reach your goal. It is saying stand back, look at the barriers and see how far they stretch, see where they end, see if there is a way through that you had not noticed before, see if the barrier is a barrier. It may just be your excuse for not taking action. Often when we lack confidence we erect barriers as an explanation for why we are stuck where we are.  Seeing our own insecurity as something outside of us and therefore something we cannot control—something that controls and limits us in fact.

So from this inaction --- what are you not getting, what are you losing and why are these things not providing the motivation you need?

 

Some politicians think that if you take reduce benefits enough  people will go (back ) to work, if that were really true and if they really believed it they would stop all benefits over night and instantly the unemployment problem would be solved.

 

The reality is that there are other issues that affect individuals. Feeling unworthy either through lack of confidence or  skills stops people applying for jobs they could  probably do well if they were supported in the early stages.

If you want to do something in your life you may know that you have the skills and perhaps most of the confidence but you lack support. You may feel that if you try and fail you are letting others down, what you tend not to consider is, if you succeed how much will others gain.

 

Developing a way of thinking that supports whatever ambition  you have  then creates a more positive attitude. You in effect become your own support.  There are various visualisation  exercises that you can do, and there is something called forward  pacing that further help you grow into an image of yourself that you create as the ideal. This way of being helps you recognise what benefits would accrue if you take action and who else will benefit from the choices you make. Consider how life would be different if you took a brave step

 

You can do this alone when you know how but almost certainly one or two sessions with  a therapist will create a firm foundation and give you a direction in which to move. That is  where I become part of the process: we can discuss your objectives—social, emotional, economic, developmental or any other area you want to work on. I help you develop the route and you set off. Being in control takes the nervousness out of the situation, you control the speed and intensity and then as things begin to develop you can catch the flow and ride the crest of the wave.

1234© Martin Williams 2015