Getting Out of Your Way

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Getting Out of Your Way
There are many ways you can stop yourself from getting the most out of life.

Recently, I wrote here about making the most of time. This month, I have been asked a lot about how people can overcome paralysis and self-sabotage, so I thought I’d pass on my ideas on the subject. Getting in your own way is all about how you relate your yourself. In addition to not managing your time effectively, there are many ways you can stop yourself from getting the most out of life—not enjoying what you have or have accomplished; not being able to get motivated, or finish what you begin; and having a negative focus, which leads to discouragement, anxiety, despair and even depression.

Paralysis:
When you aren’t able to get yourself motivated, to complete what you start, or to follow through when you need to, it’s called emotional paralysis. The main factors that lead to paralysis are Lack of Self-Trust, Being Outer-directed, Overwhelm, Perfectionism and Negative Thinking. Let’s look at each of these roadblocks, and what you can do about them:

Lack of self-trust:
When you don’t trust yourself, your own judgement, your intelligence, and your ability to manage yourself and make your own decisions, life is too frightening to move. Here’s an exercise abbreviated from It Ends With You to help you strengthen your self-trust.

Steps to self-trust:
1. Ask your own opinion. Frequently ask yourself: “What do I think about this? Do I like it? Does it make sense to me? Do I agree or disagree with the others?”
2. Listen to the answer. Listen to your opinions as you would to the ideas of a respected friend. Consider them, weigh them, and even discuss them with yourself from time to time.
3. Repeat until it’s a habit. After a few weeks, you’ll become comfortable with your personal opinions, which will have a profound effect on what you do and how you act. Decision-making will be faster and easier, and you’ll feel much more secure in making decisions.

Being Outer-directed:
Knowing and acting on your own opinion is being inner-directed. Making decisions based on what others want or just reacting and responding to events is being outer-directed. You get along like that for a while, then you grind to a halt and become emotionally paralyzed. You must be the one in charge of your life—I believe it’s what we were designed to do, and I see every day what happens to people who don’t take charge of their thoughts, words and deeds. Once you know your own opinion, you need to act on it. The opinions of others are helpful input, but your decisions must be your own.

Overwhelm:
When you don’t take time to think clearly about the issues and problems in your life, and get mentally organized, you try to solve everything at once, and become overwhelmed and paralyzed. To overcome this problem, write down the thoughts that are racing through your head, make a list of everything that needs to be done, and prioritize. Then, pick one thing, break it down into steps, and begin doing the steps. You’ll find that organizing your thoughts like this makes everything much more manageable.

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This article was originally published at Tina Tessina. Reprinted with permission.
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Dr. Tina Tessina

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Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
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Location: Long Beach, CA
Credentials: LMFT, MFT, PhD
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