“Be friend to yourself – one you can tell everything too without fear of judgment. Unless you truly listen to yourself, you can not give yourself solid advice. ”
So I wrote a blog post this week that for some reason isn’t right. When I read it I don’t feel it, ya know? It feels just as foggy as my mind has been lately. I considered posting it anyway but my perfectionism kicked it. Then I started thinking about all the places perfectionism stops me from moving forward. My motivation to do anything other than thinking, external behavior on display for everyone to see, is limited because God forbid if people don’t absolutely LOVE it. It just wouldn’t be right if people’s lives weren’t changed by it. My perfectionism is fueled by other people’s perception of me. No wonder my motivation wanes… you can’t please everybody. Instead, I do nothing.
I’ve been doing some research on what stops people from fully investing in whatever it takes to “change their lives.” As a therapist, I see people who want to “be happy” but yet come in week after week without taking the initiative to change anything, regardless of suggestions by me. I am no exception. There are several areas in my life I’d like to change that I know how to change, yet, I do nothing. What limits our readiness and motivation for change?
In my research I stumbled upon motivational interviewing. It’s a therapy technique clinicians use to help people get past their own bs. The gist of it is to really listen, get a thorough understanding of what is being communicated, give it back to the patient so they can call themselves on their own bs, and ascribe to changes they see fit. This technique can be used with cognitive behavioral therapies (i.e. challenging your thoughts to impact your behaviors and emotions) to encourage patient investment in treatment and self-evaluation. The goal is for the patient to become their own therapist.
This led me to consider a repeated theme in my blogs to date. Listen to yourself. Be friend to yourself – one you can tell everything too without fear of judgment. Unless you truly listen to yourself, you can not give yourself solid advice. Instead you will either defend your bad habits because, let’s be honest, change is hard OR you will passively agree to what you “should be doing” but have no intentions on actually doing it. This type of involvement in self-growth is short lived and counter motivational.
Through authentic reflection you can really learn yourself. I mean really understand why you do the things you do and why you think the way you think. With this insider knowledge you can develop plans unique to your own needs. These plans not only will work but you will also be motivated to complete them.
Example of what this looks like:
Say I want to start a diet. Instead of saying I’ll never eat carbohydrates again I should mindfully observe my patterns. I learn about myself that I eat a lot of peanut butter sandwiches, especially at night. I learn that I am often tired and stressed from the day and I associate my peanut butter toast as a reward for making it out of the day alive. The event looks like this. I think, “Man, I want something to make me feel good.” I make a piece of peanut butter toast because it hasn’t failed me yet. While making it I think sweet nothings about my toast. While I eat it the feeling of joy is confirmed and lasts for at least the time period I am eating it. There is a clear cause and effect that has created a pattern – not eating bread ever again may not work for me 🙂 BUT, if I identify that the problem is feeling stressed at the end of the day and can identify another way to cope that does not conflict with my goal then I will have learned a way to disrupt a negative pattern. Using “If… then…” language will help you develop clear plans based on accurate observations. Look at how your thoughts and emotions impact your choices. Then consider ways to validate your needs (such as decreasing stress) while creating a plan toward your overall goal.
NEED HELP APPLYING THESE PRINCIPLES IN YOUR LIFE? MEET WITH ME PRIVATELY.
Sometimes we can “therapize” ourselves and other times we can not seem to figure out why things are so difficult. If you would like to meet with me to explore ways to become your best self, feel free to contact me (http://www.elisedaviscounseling.com). I offer individual therapy in private, comfortable spaces in Raleigh, NC and Durham, NC. Information about cost of services, insurance options, and availability can be found on the website.
If you are interested in integrating movement through yoga into your therapy process or personalized workshops please contact me via the same website.
E.N.D. Pain. Let go. Live,
Elise Nicole Davis