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Amazing Possibilities!

  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly

#1 Reason You Feel STUCK in Life

Most people have been caught in a pattern of defeat at some time in their lives. And these patterns of defeat can come to define our lives if we are not vigilant. We want to change, we have tried to change, but we have failed so many times and start to think that we can’t change. This is a blow to our self-esteem, which means that a pattern of defeat usually signifies the beginning of some form of self-loathing.

We stop thinking about the-best-version-of-ourselves now and avoid anything that reminds us of it. We drown our defeat and sadness in anything that can distract us from what is really happening inside us.

We are hesitant to make New Year’s resolutions because we doubt we have the strength of will to honor them. We start to think and read more about other people’s lives as a way of escaping from our own. We drink more, eat more, sleep more, shop more, and seek more of every pleasure that can distract us from what is really going on within us. The discouragement of defeat leads us to the place where we don’t want to be ourselves at all—let alone the- best-version-of-ourselves.

While all of this is going on, we have the sense that something is wrong and is whispering to us from within, but we ignore that voice.

Paralyzed by the fear of failing again, we are afraid to hope. We are scared of subscribing to false hope. So, we begin to despise anything to do with personal development and perhaps anyone committed to it. They represent a dream that has been lost or abandoned, though we don’t know which. At this moment of disillusionment and disgust, we become filled with profound questions about ourselves, but we avoid them. Inwardly we are overwhelmed with all manner of self-doubt, but externally we may pump up the signs of our confidence to compensate.

We wonder to ourselves: Why am I unable to change? Is it my fault, or is this just who I am?

The answer, of course, is both.

All of this goes on until we become so desperate that we are all but forced to change. The doctor tells you that if you don’t lay off fried food, you will die of a heart attack, or that if you don’t stop smoking, you will have to have a lung removed. Perhaps it is an increasing dependence on drugs or alcohol that overwhelms and debilitates people, bringing them to their knees in desperation.

These are the lucky ones in many ways. It is sad how they had to come to it. But many alcoholics will tell you that their lives didn’t begin until they hit rock bottom, but they will also tell you horrific stories from before they stopped drinking.

Why are the people who come to radical forks in the road the lucky ones? Because most people never get to that point of desperation and so never change. It’s said that an alcoholic must choose to live a spiritual life or to die an alcoholic death. There is nothing in between. If a change in diet becomes a life-and-death situation, most people become quickly motivated and resolved. Most people change only when the pain of not changing becomes greater than the pain required to change.

But most people, perhaps you and I, can muddle along in patterns of defeat and self-loathing without drawing much attention to ourselves. All of this can be going on inside us, and most people would be completely oblivious to it. The people around us can love us and feel loved by us. Little do they know how incapable of love we truly are because we are so filled with the kind of self-loathing that prevents us from loving anybody, including ourselves.

If someone does recognize our plight, it is probably because they have been in a similar situation. This person may try to reach out to us or challenge us, but now we take refuge behind the great excuse: “This is who I am!” As with most lies, if you tell it often enough, you will start to believe it. And as we grow more and more comfortable with the lie and less and less comfortable with our- selves, we begin to add emotional manipulation to situations like this by adding, “Why can’t you just love me for who I am?”

We say, “This is who I am!” but secretly we despise who we have become and desperately want to become the self we know we are capable of being. But we feel trapped. And we are. We are trapped by our illusions of perfection, depressed by the difficulty of the road ahead, overwhelmed by our patterns of defeat.

What I have described here happens to many, many people. It is happening to millions of right now, today, all around us.

People want to change. We want to change. We know that there are certain areas of our lives that we would desperately like to transform. Be honest with yourself for a moment. What is the one thing about yourself that would most radically improve your life if you changed it?

Have you tried? Of course you have. Are you still trying, or have you given up? Maybe it’s time to take another run at it.

Matthew Kelly

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