What does a PhD thesis and a relationship have in common? They both require hard work and sometimes you'll hit road blocks that prevent you from achieving your desired outcome. Read on to learn how one woman adjusted her perceptions of reality surrounding her PhD and how you can apply the lesson she learned to your relationship.
"Reality is reality, there is no point to sugar coat it," a friend of mine said with a great sigh. I agreed but there is more to this statement than just that. It reminded me of the story of a young woman, Irene, who didn't try to sugar coat a gloom "reality". Instead, she chose to focus on another reality, one where she focused on the positive. This helped her get unstuck.
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Irene had been feeling stuck when she receached out to me this past February. She was not able to make any progress in her PhD thesis for quite some time and every time she forced herself to work on it, her efforts backfired. She had severe writers block and no way out. Her thoughts/ideas got crippled by a fear that if she missed that last deadline, all five years’ worth of work would become a zero.
At first I thought Irene was exaggerating. After all, she had been working on it for five years so how hard would it be to do it for a few more weeks? But as we talked more, I sensed that big boulder of fear on her chest. I knew there must be something more powerful than this fear holding her back. So I decided to ask her what the most intriguing part of her research was and what drew her in the first place. This is when Irene opened up. She started talking about her goals and original dreams of making an impact. I brought her attention to her own words and then as a follow-up, I offered her to imagine what her PhD committee members could learn from her work. Voila! That was the last push she needed to bypass her fear and focus on her real intention — to enrich her field with her work of passion that could potentially benefit those daunting committee members even.
Irene completed her thesis, presented it to the committee and passed, all within that hard deadline. By shifting her focus from the reality of the deadline to the reality of possibilities, she was able to succed. Irene didn’t sugar coat the reality of deadlines. Instead, she simply chose to shift her focus towards a reality that empowered!
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If you're feeling stuck, scared of unhappy in your relationship, ask yourself why you were in it in the first place. Remembering why you love your partner and what makes them special will help you figure out a solution to help you get out of a rut. Remember - it happens to a lot of people but those who think positively often have positive results.
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