I am sure you have had the experience of reading a self help book and feeling optimistic and positive while you are reading it but then noticing that positivity drain away over the next few days. Finally a fortnight later, you notice you are still in your same old pattern.
Let’s not do that this time. Here are three common traps and how you can avoid them.
Make a decision to apply yourself to your future. It is yours if you want it.
#1 Excitement vs Consistency
Reading feels empowering. It feels good when someone understands how you feel and makes like you are doing something.
But these feelings can evaporate as quickly as the excitement of Day 1 of an exercise program or the buzz from a motivational speaker.
You do not achieve physical fitness in one sudden burst. It requires small efforts consistently over time. The same is true here. You will make sudden breakthroughs. But the key to your emotional health and changing your patterns is gentle persistence over time to avoid slipping back into old habits.
That is why I am sending you each chapter separately – so you have time to absorb each change and revisit it later.
#2 Reading vs Doing
Fear leads us to go window shopping for change, just looking to see what is out there without ever taking the plunge. If you carry on doing the same things, you will get the same results. What counts is how you make things work in your life. Ironically, too much reading can be a way of avoiding doing.
I kept each chapter short to create space for you to do the exercises. Go back over the chapters regularly. You will pick up different things depending on what is happening. Write your examples. Make specific plans. Reply to the emails to tell me about them.
#3 Strong feelings
If you have been blocking stuff up for a long time, you may experience some strong emotions. Take care of yourself. You are dealing with things you have possibly been avoiding your whole life. Don’t be afraid of feelings. They won’t hurt you.
But reach out for help. Strong feelings stop us thinking straight and you need a background of calm to process them. Find a brief, solution focused hypnotherapist or supportive counsellor and ask if they can help with what you want. Or contact me by replying to an email and I will try to suggest someone.
A Quick Map
You need a map for your journey so you know which way you are going.
We will look at this in more detail but a self denying people pleasing, perfectionist pattern is based on a mixture of shame and unconscious ingrained thoughts habits and looks something like this.
It’s a set of damaging thoughts and feelings that you picked up at some point matched with a coping mechanism – your people pleasing or perfectionism – that helps in the short term but actually makes things worse in the long term. (We will look at this in the next chapter.)
And the hard bit is it has become so embedded and feels so natural. It feels so much like you you do not always know you are doing it.
It is a downward spiral.
AND the Solution
Solution focused therapy is about recognising the problem but realising that the real answer lies in finding the solution.
The solution – and the map for your road home – is the flipside of these in combination.
Doing one does not work. But when you make small changes to all three in combination, each begins to feed back into the other to make the next change simpler and more natural and so on.
This course addresses different aspects of each area so you gradually begin to build a stronger and stronger upward spiral for yourself with each change nurturing and supporting the next. (These maps, for example, are part of developing your awareness.)
- Becoming aware of what you need
- Recognising your defences and patterns
- Understanding how trying harder makes things worse
- Spotting when you are doing something healthily and when it is damaging
- Making new sense of the world – adjusting your beliefs about being ‘good’, being ‘selfish’, duty, love, and meaning in life
Becoming at home with yourself
- Becoming your own supportive, encouraging ally
- Calming and clearing away destructive thinking and feeling
- Letting go of past grief, upset and shame
- Seeing and feeling what is your responsibility and what is not
Changing what you do
- Renegotiating relationships to find more authentic connection and freedom
- Developing and practising assertiveness skills
- Meeting your primal needs in healthy ways so you are more resilient
Take a moment to reflect on which of those areas help you the most and why. Write it down. Put it in the comments.