I realized the other day that if I really want to become healthier, I really have all the tools I need. I have been working on this for long enough that I have developed a tool box full of tools like journaling, understanding my irrational thoughts and reframing them, calming myself down through self-talk, telling my inner mean-girl to shut the f*$& up (which works surprisingly well), distracting myself, etc.
Not only do I have to change my thoughts but I have to change my behaviors. And I have enough information now to do it. All it takes is commitment to myself to do it. That’s the hard part. This is where I find myself running to the thing that makes me feel better immediately, which is not the best thing for me.
I am wondering if this stems from a learned helplessness. This is “passive behavior produced by exposure to unavoidable aversive events”. Sometimes I have this overwhelming feeling that absolutely nothing I do will help, no matter how many tools I have in my toolbox. I think what’s happened is that I often was helpless and that tendency has followed me along in my life, even though I am no longer helpless. It’s weird, I can almost feel my balloon deflate when I begin to feel helpless.
To take this even further I often attribute any setbacks to my personal flaws instead of situational factors. That makes it even harder to muster up the energy to change my behavior because in my mind, I am feeling defeated and hateful toward myself because of my helplessness. So it’s a secondary feeling, a feeling about my feeling.
It’s like a double whammy of self destruction.
So this is my challenge. Recognize when I am feeling helpless, determine if that’s actually true, and act accordingly, and don’t beat myself up for having the desire and struggling with saying no to myself. And if I am in fact helpless, then letting go. But if I am not, then taking the appropriate action.
For example, am I helpless when I have the urge to go out and get myself a sugary Starbucks drink? No I am not. It’s also not some personal flaw in myself that causes me to want the Starbucks drink, there are lots of factors that are driving me to it. However, I can dip into my toolbox and choose another avenue. My goal is to keep trying things until I figure out what works best for me in each scenario. This seems overwhelming but maybe best for another blog post 🙂