Step by Step

Start from where you are, not from where you want to be


“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end”

Ernest Hemingway

 

Step by StepTwo weeks ago I wrote an article about New Year’s Resolutions, you can read it here.

Specifically I spoke about why the usual resolutions do not work because on the whole people do not have the willpower to see them through.

This lack of willpower can be similar in overcoming anxiety and panic.

However, the reason willpower is often not enough alone is because most of us want the change to be instant.

When that change does not occur quickly we become disheartened and our willpower fades along with it.

The changes you try and make do initially start to help you feel better, but when they are not as pronounced as you had hoped for your determination can quickly subside.

Eventually after only a few days or weeks you slip back to your old anxious habits and thought processes.

You seem to end up in a vicious cycle where you only begin to act when you feel at your worst, but are unable to keep it going.

In that post I therefore suggested that rather than treat your decision to overcome anxiety and panic as a resolution, you must make it part of your everyday life.

It’s now who you are, you’re the person who will not let their anxiety and panic win.

By doing it this way it does not put a set time frame on it as a resolution does, it is just who you always want to be.

Now in theory that is all well and good, but just like a resolution it is likely to fail because of one major thing.

You want to be that person now.

If you have decided to make the commitment that you are now the person who will do what is required to feel better again, that does not mean you will just become it.

If you try and start from where you want to be, it is a sure fire way to never get there.

It becomes a whole lot easier and manageable when you are able to start from where you are, and accept the time and the journey which is involved in getting to where you want to be.

You must understand who you are now and what got you to this point and then look to improve, step by step, day by day to who you want to be.

When you approach it with this view you are much less likely to feel overwhelmed with what you are facing and less upset when you realise you’re currently a long way from your destination.

It is something I used to do a lot.

I’d get my self all fired up and tell myself all the things I was going to change and do differently and then when it wasn’t all in place a week later I felt lost and defeated.

I’d often then end up feeling low and depressed and quite often I would then go in the other direction and look to hit the self destruct button.

I’d talk to myself and say ‘what’s the point? There’s no hope, I’m always going to feel this way’.

Right about then I’d reach for the drink or go after another ‘little win’, just to feel better, if only for a few hours.

Anything to distract myself and to try and make my thoughts and feelings go away.

In some messed up way I quite liked those moments. When I’d say ‘fuck you’ to the world and stop caring about myself or any thing in my life.

I liked it because I felt like it empowered me.

If I didn’t care anymore about the world and was happy to drink myself into oblivion then I was now strong and confident, not weak and feeble.

Of course this didn’t last long. Reality would hit back hard a short while later and I was left feeling worse off than I was before.

Thankfully I found the other way.

So when you make that commitment deep inside, that you will do what it takes to stop anxiety and panic ruling your life, do it knowing this:

You must not try and be the person you want to be today, tomorrow, next week or even next month. If you do, it is likely you will give up all too soon when you realise you are not that person now.

Instead, accept where you are and who you are and be ok with that. Then use every day you have to slowly pull yourself bit by bit from the mire of your mind.

It is why being told to ‘snap out of it and pull yourself together’ never helps and why learning to live day by day is so important to do.

Understand what is involved and get your mindset right first.

Whatever you do, don’t try and be that person, the finished article, straight away.

 

Hugo Rock

 


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