Helping yourself can feel daunting. You know that there’s something that you need to change but you’re afraid. We can get stuck in feeling like the same patterns are hard to get out of. Old behaviors (no matter how dysfunctional or toxic) are familiar. I think that we get addicted to a certain kind of behavior because it’s what we know. You might want to help yourself break free of these unhealthy patterns, but maybe you don’t know how. That’s kind of how I feel right now. I’m uncomfortable with certain patterns that I’m used to doing but I’m not sure how to help myself get out of them. I told my therapist this the other day, “I’m good at recognizing my problems, but I’m not sure how to solve them.” And it’s true, I have a lot of emotional insight, but the solutions seem to baffle me.
Part of that is anxiety. I am anxious about what will happen once I change my old behaviors. The ambiguity and the unknown makes me nervous. But what’s the alternative? Getting stuck in the same behavioral feedback loop. I know I don’t want to do that. I believe that there’s a healthier way to live my life, I just have to get there. Helping yourself isn’t easy, but it’s what we need to do. It’s like getting up in the morning. Sometimes you wake up and you think (or at least I do) “I don’t want to get out of bed.” Then once you do get up, things get a little bit clearer. You focus on the next step and then the one after that.
Helping yourself can feel daunting, but what if you focused on one step at a time? For example, I want to work on organization. I find myself stuck in a pattern of feeling disorganized a lot of the time. I’m not going to fix this pattern overnight, because that wouldn’t be realistic. What I can do is start to make a list for today. I can think about the things I want to accomplish for this day and this day only. This way I am organizing myself but in small steps. Then I can begin to work on a bigger plan for letting go of the pattern of disorganization. I have begun to help myself in this small manner.
Before you know it, you’ve done a lot for yourself. I’ve recently learned about Behavior Activation, which is connected with CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy). Behavioral Activation is a theory that when you change your behavior you change the way you think. This is a big part of how you can help yourself.
There are many ways to help yourself and you don’t have to do it alone. Some people choose to work with an in-person therapist or they consider learning about online psychotherapy. Either way, you don’t have to help yourself BY yourself. In fact, sometimes getting an outside perspective can help you see things better.