On the path to change, encountering resistance is inevitable. Managing four key components which may be blocking your progress, will free you.
I broke down last night.
Last night I was sitting in my men’s group talking about the sadness I feel around what feels like the two sides of my personality.
There’s the mature, warm, listener part of me.
Then there’s the “Fuck this” live for the fast life part of me. The one that likes to party, live impulsively and be selfish.
It feels like these two parts have been wrestling with each other for years.
While I was talking about how many times I’ve done something stupid when I am in my “Fuck it” mode I realized that there’s no way I will ever get this part handled unless I accept this part of me, and move forward.
I hate admitting this.
It hurts, it causes a lot of anxiety, and it requires a lot of effort.
But through the process of working through change and coming out on the other side it’s always worth it.
For a long time I was absolutely terrified to talk to women. It didn’t matter where. In class, at a party, on the street, through a mutual friend. I felt like my brain shut down.
There were so many times I wanted to quit. I wanted to hide and not have to go through the struggle of failure.
I’ve slowly come to peace with failing. If you have ever made an attempt to improve yourself then you’ve probably failed.
After a while, failure becomes a part of it. Just like eating or farting. It’s just something you do.
On the path to change there will be resistance. This is inevitable.
I’m an expert with self sabotage. I’ve lost count of how many times my life has been going great, only to throw it all away by eating poorly, partying too much, or shutting myself off from the world.
In the book, The Big Leap, Hendricks talks about how we all have our own comfort zone of feeling good.
If life is going great—maybe a little too great, then we tend to self sabotage to bring ourselves back down to where we are used to.
He argues this why the Wall Street executive who is making tons of money and has a great marriage cheats on his wife after closing a big deal.
Or the guy who is 150 pounds overweight rebounds back to his starting weight after losing it all. He’s not comfortable with being in shape and getting attention from girls.
How to Stop Self Sabotage
Accountability. Over time, I’ve been able to identify my own personal patterns of self sabotage. This is by making the same mistakes one million times. Now I know I need accountability to stay on track.
I email one of my friends every day to confirm that I have meditated. Meditation helps me live more consciously instead of living on autopilot and waking up hungover wishing I hadn’t done something stupid.
In college I met a girl I was really into.
She was really attractive, funny and smart. I really wanted to be with her. The whole time I was so focused on what I should to do appear more awesome or attractive to her.
I tried being funny. I tried saying all the right things. I can remember watching the attraction dissolve in front of my face.
I tried to hang out again. I would text asking if she was available. I REALLY wanted to be with her. Why couldn’t she see how great I was?
She kept blowing me off. I kept texting.
Desperation is a lot like drowning.
Your swimming instructor you had as a kid told you to remain calm if you ever started to drown. All you have to do is calmly kick your legs and relax your arms.
But you can’t be calm.
The one girl that’s halfway interested in you isn’t returning your texts. All of your friends have girlfriends. The anxiety and pressure starts to build up.
Should I text this? Should I text that?
Instead of being calm you are trying to manipulate situations. You get overly concerned of others opinions. In the end—you blow it.
What to do About Desperation
Slow down. If you find yourself frantically trying to meet women or text that girl so you don’t have to feel insecure and desperate you are only going to make thing worse.
Take a break. Go for a walk. Tell a friend what you are struggling with. They don’t even have to give you advice back. The point is you need to give yourself sometime to pause and reflect.
A few weeks ago I was talking to my friend Phil on the phone. He said when we want to take action in our lives the universe will listen.
According to him, “The universe will listen, and if you slowly make change then things will go great. If you don’t, the universe will bring out the sledge hammer and you will be forced to make change.”
Phil is a more spiritual guy than me. I like what he said.
I’ve been complacent many times. I got complacent in my last lon- term relationship. I wasn’t happy, but the effort and pain of going through a breakup scarred me.
I should have broken up with her six months in. Instead we dated for two years.
It came crashing down one night when we got into a big argument over taking care of each others needs.
I realized I had only stuck with her because I was scared to be alone. As soon as we broke up I felt an instant relief. Had I known that I would feel so much better if I had just broken up with her I would have done it sooner.
What to do About Complacency
Use death as a motivator. In my case, the universe brought out the sledgehammer and changed happened without me doing much. Sometimes this happens. Other times getting out of complacency requires effort.
Use death as a motivator. Assume nothing will change until you die. Are you happy in that relationship? Are you okay with your position at your job? If you feel unsettled, maybe it’s time for change.
Anxiety is a monster.
It eats you alive and sits inside your head and chest, pounding at you every second. You want it to stop, but it only gets louder every time you acknowledge it.
Asking that girl out causes anxiety. Kissing her for the first time causes anxiety.
It seems like analytical introverts can be more prone to anxiety because we tend to think our way through everything.
Anxiety is my biggest enemy. I’ve gotten good at keeping this monster at bay.
What to do About Anxiety
Focus on the Present moment. Meditate. Even if it’s just sitting in a chair for 60 seconds, focusing on your breath so it can reduce the panic. I’ve made this a daily practice. It’s the only way I can calm the storm in my head.
Go for a walk. Focus on the buildings and the plants as you walk by them. The more you stay focused on your surroundings and the present moment the quicker anxiety goes away.
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