|Photo credit: sideshowmom from morguefile.com|
For over a year, she had resisted making the move, even though she was painfully lonely and isolated, because she falsely believed she needed a bigger apartment. All this stuff was holding her back from moving ahead, being in a better environment.
The whole experience got me thinking deeply about my relationship to not only stuff, but also ideas that can keep a person stuck. To extend my moving-prep metaphor, first step to overcoming the junk crammed in the closets is to open the door and actually look at it.
Here are a handful of ideas that can limit you, keep you stuck.
- No one cares what I have to say; I'm a nobody.
- No one else is writing about ___, so it must be a stupid idea.
- Everyone is writing in __ genre, so I should, too.
- That's way too complicated.
- If I try this new thing, it will be such a time-suck, I'll go under.
- I can't build a new routine, it's just too hard.
- I can't afford ___ (to attend a conference, a pro editor, a computer that doesn't crash).
- This technique worked for me in the past.
- All the experts say ___ will guarantee me success.
- I'm scared of ___ (rejection, public speaking, not having a steady income).
- My family needs X, Y, Z from me.
- I can't ask so-and-so to pitch in, they'll just say no and make me resentful.
- My one experience doing ___ was so bad, no way will I try it again.
- I can't approach X or Y, they are way too busy.
- I don't have a head for ____ (marketing, social media, business).
- What if I do this new thing at the wrong time and it flops?
- What if people read my work and think I'm ____ (weird, unhinged, a heretic, a bad parent)?
- I didn't do such-and-such perfectly the first time, so I might as well quit now.
- This is really hard, therefore I must not have any natural talent and should quit.
Wow, that was kind of frightening, wasn't it? But I've had a lot of these thoughts, or heard them in some form from writer friends.
I don't have a quick fix for self-sabotage. But I know for sure that remaining in denial isn't going to resolve the problem any more than refusing to see the doctor about that weird mole will prevent you from having skin cancer.
So take the time to open that metaphorical dark cabinet where you've stuffed your worries and fears. Bring them into the light, examine them. Then consider how they might be false and need to be trashed, pronto. Or perhaps they seem true, but tell only part of the story. The unwritten part might involve a creative work-around, a challenge you just need to contemplate for a while, and a solution will come in time.
Do you ever emotionally "clean house"? What negative thoughts plague you that you'd like to jettison?