Ask fibromyalgia and chronic illness peeps what they can do to feel better and you’ll get a boatload of answers. We can all list at least a few basic things we can do to improve our health. But what gets in the way? What reasons do we use to hold ourselves back?
Here are 10 possible reasons (plus a bonus) that you may not have found your much-sought-after forward momentum.
Do these reasons resonate with you?
TIP: These reasons aren’t unique to the fibromyalgia and chronic illness communities. And, they’re not just about what gets in the way of making healthy changes. The following 10 tips will share clues regarding why you may find more hesitation (and even roadblocks) than you’d like in the things that you want to do.
Ready to discover what’s in your way?
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10 Reasons Why We Hold Ourselves Back (from healing and getting what we want)
ONE: We assume that we’ll have to make too many difficult changes.
Dairy free, gluten free, sugar free? Where to start and do I have to? The truth is that the changes needed are unique to you. And, how you implement them is also unique to you. YOU decide what changes to approach, and what to leave alone — for now.
TWO: We already feel isolated and alone and figure we won’t have the support needed to make changes.
“Nobody is on my side, and no one understands the pain that I experience every single day.” That’s exactly what I told myself for more than 15 years. Perhaps you tell yourself something similar, too? To collect your tribe of support, FIRST, become your own advocate. Then collect resources (people and information) to create your own healing plan. Of course, a fibromyalgia coach is a great first step. 😉
THREE: We feel conflicted about what changes to make. Too many options and we don’t know what to do first.
Have you made nutritional changes, and taken new nutritional supplements, all while participating in a 5:00 AM Better Body Bootcamp? How long did it take to become overwhelmed? Not long. Healing does take a multidisciplinary approach, but an experienced practitioner can help you to determine what to start with first, and what to add in next. Steady and consistent wins the race.
FOUR: We’re acutely aware of not following through “the last time that we tried something new,” and we (understandably) don’t want to feel that disappointment again.
There’s nothing like the pain of disappointment to derail our intentions. But there’s an even greater tragedy than feeling disappointment — not trying at all out of the fear of feeling disappointment. Unexpected results are simply part of the journey and don’t have to be viewed through the lens of disappointment or failure. Viewing each step as a part of the process takes an objective viewpoint. One that’s non-judgmental and pragmatic. It often takes an outside viewpoint to achieve this.
FIVE: We believe that the changes will exceed our resources – either time or money or both.
It’s super common to believe that change is going to cost us in some way. And, that’s because it does. Pursuing change does take effort. Time allotment or shifting how and where we spend our money may be needed. The most important thing here is to keep an eye on where you want to go. Twenty years ago I would not have believed that I could live fibromyalgia medication-free and in a body that’s nearly pain-free. What did my pain cost me? There’s no way to define that. What about the time and costs I incurred on the way to where I am now? Worth every minute and every penny.
SIX: We think it’s going to be too hard, too much work, too much effort.
Anything that is different is perceived as hard. Why? Because we haven’t done it before. That only makes sense. And, if it were easy and effortless, wouldn’t we already be doing it or already have it by now? The key is to focus on what we want to change rather than on the “effort” it will take to make it happen. I promise you, some parts of the journey will feel easy and effortless. And, some parts won’t. But know this — it’s not all one or the other. Every journey goes through phases just like a long road trip. Some parts are an uphill climb and other parts are coasting downhill. TIP: Focus on the destination rather than the hills.
SEVEN: We believe that we don’t have what it takes.
We believe that if we only knew more, did more, or understood more, we’d have what we want. That sentence alone is exhausting. Notice how heavy it feels to experience all of that lack? Believing we don’t have what it takes is a self-defense mechanism born of fear. If we stay where we are, we can’t fail, right? But what’s the cost of staying stuck?
EIGHT: We believe that nothing works anyway, so why try?
In psychology terms, this is called “learned helplessness.” It comes from our past experience regarding a specific outcome that we haven’t achieved. We believe that our efforts are doomed to failure. Talk about heavy, right? It makes sense that our past can result in some pretty gnarly (and unhelpful) beliefs. But our future is not predicated on the past. There will always be outcomes that we haven’t achieved yet, so it’s natural to not know how to get there. The next time you feel helpless about an outcome, remind yourself that it’s just your mind’s way of keeping you safe. Learned helplessness is the opposite of nothing ventured nothing gained. Think about the fact that in every endeavor, there’s a tipping point from not achieving to finally reaching success. Allow yourself a bit of grace in that unknown space of moving forward anyway.
NINE: We believe that whatever it is that’s needed to heal (changing how we eat, changing our fitness routines, changing our stress management practices, etc.) is easy for others but not for us.
This is an “it’s easy for you but not for me” issue. Learned helplessness is about how we feel about ourselves, and this roadblock is about how we feel about others. The belief that others have some sort of superpowers or fastrack to success allows us to feel justified in not getting what we want. We create an “us” and “them” scenario where we identify with the tribe of people who stay stuck. Rather than thinking of it as “us” and “them,” start thinking about creating your own tribe. Consider yourself a tribe of 1 and follow your own hand-drawn map to your desired destination.
TEN: We believe that we’re somehow intrinsically broken. That the challenges we have to overcome are impossible, immovable, and unchangeable.
This is the most heartbreaking belief of all. And, it’s super common in the chronic illness community for valid reasons. Let me clarify. The belief isn’t valid — it’s 100% false. But the reasons why we believe it are valid. For many of us, we’ve lived with the pain, frustration, and challenges of a compromised body for so long, that we can’t imagine it any other way. And, if we can’t imagine a whole and healthy body, we can’t take steps toward making it a reality.
Summary of Roadblocks to Recovery
If it’s not enough to deal with all of these 10 reasons we hold ourselves back, there’s an overarching reason that gets in the way of most forward progress into new territory. What is it?
It’s the belief that there’s only ONE right way.
This one is a real stinker. We may not think we have this one, but it’s extremely common to believe that there’s a right way to go about something which naturally means that every other approach is wrong.
Black and white thinking is the death knell of progress and goal achievement. Rather than looking for the right way, look for something that feels right — right now. Take a step. And, then you can assess and either change direction or keep going.
See the difference?
It’s all in the approach. There’s no ONE right way to begin the healing process. Just take a step — any step — and then give yourself the time and space to assess how it’s going. Be kind to yourself as you move forward. Give yourselves encouragement and inspiration to keep on going. In other words, watch that crappy self-talk. (Here are a few tips on moving forward and past self-talk.)
How to make this process faster and easier? Enlist the help of a guide. Choose one that’s “been there/done that.” Select help from an experienced fibromyalgia coach who has not only improved their own symptoms but helped others to do the same.
As always, it’s your call. I hope to hear from you.
Wanna know what healing looks like? Check out this handout called, The Restoration Trio? It details some of the benefits you can experience once you put healing practices into place. Check it out HERE.
If you’d like to finally get the support you’re looking for and start healing from the root-level, go HERE for more info.
Move the blocks that are in your way!