I once heard a quote that really stuck out to me, "It doesn't matter where you are on your journey, as long as you're still moving." When I heard this, I began to break it down and apply it to my own life. I realized that there were things I could improve on and that I had been staying 'stuck' and 'comfortable' in the spot that I was in. It made me realize I'm never stuck in whatever place I'm at in life mentally, and that I always have the choice to keep moving. The fact of life is that it's a fun, beautiful adventure. But even with all the great things life brings, it also brings a whole lot of things that suck.
Life throws us curve balls, and gives us shitty situations that we are forced to deal with. Life can be awful at times, sometimes more times than not. And even though I'm only 22 years old, I've learned a lot in life. And I've come up with three specific things that I believe has held me back from continuing my journey when life brings things that are not so great. Maybe these things have held you back also:
You can't solve a problem if you can't define the problem.
There's a term I learned in psychology that has always stuck out to me. It's called the self-fulfilling prophecy. What it means is that when we create expectations about things in our life, our behavior changes towards these things, causing our expectations to actually come true. For example, if I constantly tell myself that I'll never be able to be as healthy as I want, or be the goal weight and have the body I want, this changes my behavior towards the gym, eating healthy, and everything else. In turn, I end up creating the exact thing that I believe will happen: never reaching my goal.
When we engage in the self-fulfilling prophecy, we create the exact thing we probably don't want. In my example, if I truly want to be healthy and in shape, but I keep telling myself I can’t do it, I won’t do it and I won’t reach my goal. We have to first learn when the self-fulfilling prophecy becomes a problem in our lives, and learn how to be confident in the change we want to see in ourselves.
We can’t solve our problems until we realize what exactly our problem is. We need to define our problems with better attributes and be confident toward the goal we are trying to reach. There is research that has shown that when we are confident in reaching a goal, we are already more likely to reach it.
Talking and complaining about your problems can make them seem worse over time.
When something happens in our life that generates a negative emotional response, it's only normal that we vent to the people that we trust and even ask for advice. It's important to talk about how we're feeling so we can get it out and deal with it. But we have to recognize when it becomes a problem. When we constantly use the problems that we've dealt with in our lives, even issues that are years old, we stay a slave to these problems without realizing it.
Although venting gives us a sense of comfort (that someone understands us and our struggle), our problems can seem way worse than they actually are when we keep our focus on them. Additionally, using them to constantly complain and make reasons for the way we only keep us from changing what we aren’t happy with.
For example, if I constantly use the fact that I was hurt by men in past relationships as a reason why I am the way I am, although it may be true, using this as an excuse to be the way I am only makes me stay a slave to my past. This, in turn, creates a never-ending cycle and keeps me unhappy in future relationships with others because I keep defining myself based on past issues in my life.
The truth is, we are perfectly capable of change. Change is never easy, but it's always possible and always worth it when truly feel motivated to change. We have to learn to let the past go and move on with our present.
Playing the victim of your problems doesn't help you solve them.
And I know what you're thinking... "I'm not playing the victim. My problems are f*cking legit, I'm allowed to be upset." And you are! No matter what you're going through or have gone through, you absolutely need time to grieve and be upset about things. No problem is worse than another, but rather someone's experience with the problem can affect their interpretation of it. Comparing problems is never a good idea because everyone's experience is different.
But the point is, the longer you play a slave to your problems and allow your mind to convince you that you aren't able to overcome the issues you've been through, the longer you stay glued to your problems and stay a slave to your past. This road to nowhere that your mind convinces you that you’re traveling on will never allow you to overcome your issues.
Everyone has been through experiences that make them who they are today, whether good or bad. But with certain problems, we have to stop using them as excuses to be the way we are, especially if we aren’t happy with the way certain experiences have shaped us.
Solutions come when we recognize that sometimes we use our problems to stay where we are, because we're afraid and because we've become so comfortable. When you decide you're capable of overcoming anything you've been through, you end up finding solutions
"We are all capable of change and growth; we just need to know where to begin." — Blaine Lee Pardoe