“Don’t wait for your feelings to change to take action. Take action and your feelings will change.” ~Barbara Baron
You are stuck because you are waiting to want to do the things you know you need to do to get better. You aren’t doing the things you know you need to do because you don’t want to feel bad, but you already feel bad. You are already doing what you don’t want to do. Why not choose to do something that you don’t want to do that will actually move you forward?
If you are waiting to want to do the things that will create change, you will remain stagnant.
I was stuck in misery and self-hatred for most of my life. I knew there were things that would help, like diet, exercise, and therapy. I also knew that there were parts of myself that I was afraid to acknowledge or confront. Like how selfish I could be, or how poor my attitude was about almost everything, or how I felt used by men when I too was using them.
We all have a shadow side; we all have shame and guilt. We are all perfectly imperfect. When I stopped running and trying to hide these parts of myself, from myself and others, it gave me space to heal and nurture myself. It created space for me to take one small step to take control of my mind, which then led to another step, and so on.
What you need to start doing depends on your level of depression, misery, or disconnection with yourself and spirit.
If you are at the point where you can’t get out of bed because you hate yourself and your life, then start with mirror work. It’s not easy for most of us to look into our own eyes in the mirror. We have to face ourselves instead of focusing on other people, and this can bring up a lot of self-judgment. But over time, as we say loving words to ourselves, it becomes easier to challenge that judgment.
Start with something simple. Simply place your hand on your heart and tell yourself, “I am trying to love you.” “I want to learn to love you.” “I love you.” Repeat this over and over.
If you need a friend to come over to pull you out of the bed, then call and ask a friend.
It might feel like you’re the only one struggling, and you might fear that asking for help means you’re weak, inferior, or a burden. But no one has it altogether. And people want to help, but we often don’t know how or what to do. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s brave and takes courage to ask for help. Give yourself props for having the courage to ask for help.
Creating a better life for yourself does not require you to make big changes all at once. Consistently doing small things is what will move you forward. But you might even resist the small things.
Let’s say a friend suggests you try painting, journaling, going for a walk in nature, meditating, or stretching. More than likely, you’ll say, “I don’t want to.” More than likely, you have received this advice before. I would pick the suggestion you have heard most frequently or the one you feel the most resistant to.
Let’s use painting, for example. Your knee-jerk reaction might be to say, “I am not an artist” or “I am not creative.” That’s a lie. That is your mind trying to keep you where you are because that’s what the mind does. Even if you are in a bad spot mentally, the status quo feels comfortable to your brain. It is what your mind and body are familiar with.
We are all creative beings with an unlimited amount of knowledge that resides within us. We have the ability to heal ourselves. To reconnect ourselves to something greater than our mind and our thinking. You have that power within you, but you have to take a different approach to what you are already doing, and that means doing what you don’t want to do.
Ask yourself: What is the smallest step, the smallest thing that I don’t want to do, that will move me forward?
For me, it was committing to three minutes of daily meditation, which I knew was an achievable goal. I found that once I got into the practice, I usually ended up spending more than three minutes. In the beginning, I often felt uncomfortable and restless, but after a couple months I started to really enjoy it. Sometimes my heart feels expanded, my mind has only positive thoughts, and it feels like pure bliss.
I now spend ten to twenty minutes a day in meditation. Once that became a habit, I added to it.
Meditation has helped me pause and get curious about my thoughts instead of getting carried away with them.
For example, let’s say I have the thought “OMG, he has not called me in two days. He must not like me. I suck. No one is ever going to choose me. I am so boring. Maybe I should text him. Wait, no, don’t text him…”
Mediation has given me the ability to hear the first thought—“OMG, he has not called me in two days”—and stop it right there.
I learned, with consistent practice, to pause and change the course of my thoughts.
So now my internal dialogue would sound like “He is probably busy, but if he doesn’t like me, that’s okay too because I like me. What is something I can do in this moment that will bring me joy?”
Mediation has also helped me create space for hidden parts of myself to come forward and for creative ideas to surface. You see, we can only have one thought at a time. If you are constantly ruminating, having negative, judgmental thoughts about yourself or others, there is no space for creative, loving, supportive, healing thoughts to come through.
I have been on the road to recovery and healing from trauma for years. There were times when I felt frustrated and would spiral back down, but by making things I don’t want to do habits, I’ve changed my life. All by committing to taking simple, small steps.
Commit to one tiny thing that you don’t want to do, that you can do every day, for a hundred days, and see what happens. Be prepared to have your mind blown.