5 Things to STOP Doing and Get Out of your Own Way.

The difficulties you meet will resolve themselves as you advance. Proceed.. light will dawn and shine with increasing clearness on your path. – Jim Rohn.

Image: Via Valerii9116 at Flickr.com.

(This is a post by Dr. Amy Johnson. Pic credit: Valerii9116 at Flickr.com).

We all get in our own way from time to time. 

You know the feeling. Life seems unnecessarily difficult. You may not be scaling a mountain, but even the slightest incline can wear you down after a while. 

Maybe you can’t put your finger on exactly what it is, but you have the sense that if you could just think differently, see things in a new light, or feel a little better, life would be easier. 

You are right, it would. 

Below are five of the most common ways I see people block their own happiness and make their lives harder than they need to be. You don’t have to master all five of these to have a happy life. You’re human— you may never “master” any of them and that’s perfectly okay. 

But the more you can recognize them in your life, become aware of when and how they play out, and begin to choose differently, the easier things become!

So here are 5 ways you may be standing in your own way – any of them sound familiar? If so, it’s time to STOP doing these things and get the heck out fo your own way!

#1. Stop taking things personally.

What other people think, say, and do is almost never about you. 

Even when it is about you, it’s not really about you. If someone doesn’t thank you for a gift, that’s about them. It may speak to their character or to the fact that they’re having a bad day or that they simply forgot.

It’s not about you! 

If they scream at you and tell you they hate you, that means they feel hate. It means they are a screamer. They are angry or hurt or want to hurt you. It’s all their stuff. Their response is up to them—you didn’t make them do anything. 

The next time someone does or says something you want to take personally, consider 5 alternative explanations for their behavior. 

If they ignore your email for example, what are 5 reasons they may have done that? Five reasons that have nothing at all to do with you

1. They could be sick in bed, not checking email.
2. Maybe they just got dumped and your email is the furthest thing from their mind.
3. They are rude.
4. They’re super nice but really, legitimately busy.
5. They don’t like you because they don’t like anyone.

See? It’s not about you.

#2. Stop chasing carrots.

When you feel badly, you immediately try to change your circumstances. Maybe you need a new toy? A younger man? Flatter abs?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with changing your circumstances. Adding a few new carrots to your plate will definitely make you feel better, for a while. They might get you out of your funk. 

But they’re bandaids, not lasting solutions. Pretty soon you get bored with the toy and the younger man shows his flaws and you’re right back where you started. 

Instead, realize that more carrots don’t mean more happiness. They just don’t. You’ve been down that road before and if you think back, you’ll remember. The carrot made you happy for a bit, but not for long. 

Rather than striving to add more stuff, try shedding the judgments that aren’t serving you.  

That voice that tells you you’re not good enough unless you have/do/are….? Question that voice. Don’t believe it on first pass. Take it to task a little. 

If nothing ever changed and you couldn’t add new circumstances to your life, you’d have no choice but to experience your current circumstances differently. See them in a way that feels better. 

Will you try that now? 

#3. Stop trying to do it yourself or ignoring Inner Guidance.

Do you ask for help when you need it? If not, you’re making things a lot harder than they need to be. 

And I don’t just mean asking other people. Other people are good and all, but do you know you can ask yourself, too? The bigger part of you, that still small voice that knows you pretty well? You know – the one you usually discount or ignore aka your INTUITION?

I’d highly recommend talking to that voice.

Ask it for some guidance and then be quiet and listen to what it has to say. The listening is harder than the asking. Your mind will try to tell you it’s not real. That’s not the real still, small voice. 

But if can manage to listen despite the doubts, you will receive. Maybe not in the traditional way you expect. I’m not promising that you’ll get a crystal clear response. But you’ll get something in the next song you hear, the next conversation someone strikes up, or your next fleeting thought. 

Tune in. Ask. Listen.  

#4. Stop speaking unkindly to yourself.

You may not always speak to yourself with complete and utter kindness. Most of us don’t, but life would be much easier if you did. 

Try this: Treat yourself the way you’d treat your favorite, innocent kid. Speak to yourself the way you’d speak to that little girl or boy. 

If your goal was to raise a child to be self-assured and full of life and confidence and love, how would you treat them? Really think about that and then treat yourself that way. 

When you start criticizing yourself or talking yourself down around others for fear of looking arrogant, notice what you’re doing and stop. There’s nothing noble in disparaging yourself. It’s not humble, it’s harmful.

Praise yourself once and a while. Give yourself some kudos, especially if no one else is. 

You deserve it. 

#5. Stop believing you can’t change.

Maybe you’ve said something along the lines of “This is just the way I am” a few times in your life. 

Or you’ve reasoned that since you’ve been swearing or dating bad boys for the last 30 years, it’s too late to change now. 

If so, you’re in your own way. I assure you, you can change if you really want to. 

If you’re letting those automatic, ingrained habits run the show while you sit back and say “Isn’t it a shame?”, you’re missing out on a whole lot of freedom. 

Instead, understand what change looks like. It looks like making a decision to try something new and failing miserably. 

Then re-deciding, trying again, and failing miserably once again. It looks like this over and over until one day you re-decide and try again and you don’t fail. Something sticks. 

You’re going to screw up along the way. A lot. Screwing up is irrelevant unless you give it meaning and choose to quit. 

But if you hang in there, one day you wake up and you find yourself dating fewer bad boys or swearing less. And you realize change was happening all along. 

I’d love to hear from you – which of these is dragging you down? Resolve to get out of your own way, today! Please like/tweet/share this post, thanks! 

Dr. Amy Johnson is a master certified life coach who works with perfectionists, control freaks, and anyone who wants their inside happiness to match their outside success.  

Her book, Modern Enlightenment: Psychological, Spiritual, and Practical Ideas for a Better Life gives readers new perspectives and ways of thinking that allow them to change old patterns and see the world in a more enlightened way. 


** Want MORE BLISS and less stress in your life? Inner Sparkle: The 21 Day eCourse is made for you. Click here to get inspired. Happy. Sparkly. **


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  1. says

    I love your advice about stopping chasing carrots. Too often I find myself removing myself from life when it gets difficult instead of entering more fully into it and experiencing what is happening. I believe that when I can sit with what is happening and my reactions to it then my reactions (and the mind set that created them) begin to change. Thanks for the reminder to stay present to what is.


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