Have you ever reached a point in your recovery where you felt like it’s pointless to continue putting in the effort in to fix yourself?
Recently, I was asked this question and it got me thinking about the highs and lows of the recovery process.
Taking on the challenge of recovery requires bravery, motivation and momentum. And unfortunately, as it is with any change we want to make, those attributes can grow weak over time.
New Years resolutions are a classic example of this. Think about all of the people that run to the gym on the first day of the new year. From the start, people are motivated and driven to shed those unwanted pounds and tone the flab under their arms.
But once the hard work shows up and people start to see what it’s really going to take to make change, people get overwhelmed and their gym memberships begin to collect dust.
Well, this dip in effort and motivation can happen in recovery too. It’s not unusual to reach a point where you begin to think that fixing yourself is pointless.
You may feel like there’s nothing else for you to fix. You may want to give up because you’re carrying around the painful belief that you’re a lost cause. The constant process of taking one step forward only to be thrown three steps back can make defeat seem inevitable.
Like Marvin Gaye once sang, “It can make you want to holla and throw up both your hands.”
But here’s the deal, as satisfying as it can be to work your ass off to make great strides in your recovery, there’s also a hell of a lot to learn in those moments when everything feels pointless.
And to reap those benefits, even during the most trying of times, it takes an understanding of the three mindset shifts that you’ll learn about in today’s post.
These shifts will not only help you through pointless patches but you’ll also learn how to shift your perspective when pointless becomes powerful.
Once you’re finished reading, I’d love to hear from you.
When you get into a funk and begin to feel like it’s pointless to try to fix yourself, what do you do? What, if anything, keeps you on track?
Share your experiences and insights below.
Remember, your voice, experiences and insights are vital to this community. And what you have to share is not only unique but it may be exactly what someone else needs to read. And that someone could be you.
Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing.
Until Next Tuesday,
#1 There’s Nothing To Fix
A few weeks ago I started to work with a therapist that specializes in trauma recovery. I’ve never worked with someone with this kind of specialization before and the experience, so far, has been eye opening.
We’ve talked a lot about some of the trauma related responses I have as an adult.
And every time I’ve framed a response as something about myself that needs to be fixed she corrects me. She reminds me that the responses I have make total sense given the trauma I experienced. It’s just that now, as an adult, they don’t fit or make sense in my adult world.
Being able to shift my focus from what’s wrong with me that needs to be fixed to what no longer works for me or makes sense for me, has given me the room I need to breathe.
In other words, my responses are totally fine, given my history, it’s just that they don’t work for me anymore. And that’s something about myself that I’ve decided to work on to change.
When we put pressure on ourselves to fix something that we think is wrong with us, we can easily set ourselves up for failure. If we’re putting all this time and energy into fixing ourselves we’re focusing only on the end result we’re after and not on the small changes and victories that happen along the way.
Bottom line is this – there’s nothing about you that needs to be fixed. There’s no finish line that you’re drudging towards. You may want to change or improve something about yourself or your life but that doesn’t mean you’re broken. It just means that you’re trying something new and different. Something that will better serve you today.
When you begin to feel like your recovery has become pointless, try to shift your focus from the end result you desire to any of the small victories or changes you’ve made along the way.
Those little shifts seem insignificant against the end result but don’t forget that it’s those little victories and changes that add up over time and become the bigger change you desire.
#2 Make Curiosity Your Recovery Power Tool
When your efforts begin to feel pointless that’s precisely the perfect time to pull out your curiosity power tool.
Instead of ruminating on what feels pointless, flip it around and use the moment as an opportunity to get curious about what brought you to that moment.
Was there something that triggered your response that you weren’t expecting?
Have you been spending too much time in your own head?
Are you beating yourself up for a relapse or small misstep that set you back?
If you remain curious during these trying times, you will learn a lot about yourself. You’ll discover when and how things start to fall apart in your head. If you were triggered by something or someone, with curiosity, you can learn from those situations to better prepare to deal with that trigger should it ever pop up again.
And given what I’ve learned so far in this life, there will always be obstacles and set backs to work through. And in the world of recovery, there will be times when everything feels pointless. But you get through these pointless patches by paying attention to what happens when you fall in that funk. That way the next time things start to feel pointless, you’ll know what to expect and you’ll be able to remind yourself that what you’re feeling is temporary.
There’s no need to panic, if you got through these feelings before, you can get through them again. And given that the experience isn’t new, you’re actually better prepared to deal with it.
#3 Forget About What You Think It Should Look Like
Although there’s not enough research to prove that it’s 100% true, most scientists are comfortable reporting that no two snowflakes are ever alike.
Well, the same idea applies to recovery. Your journey will not look like mine and vice versa. When you look up at someone who’s recovery you admire, trust that you don’t have the full story. You don’t know what their recovery looks like behind the scenes. You don’t know how often they wanted to give up when every step they took felt pointless and they felt powerless.
If you’re in this for the long haul then you’ve got to surrender what you think your recovery is supposed to look like. You have to let go of when and how you think you’ll reach certain milestones. You have to let go of the fear that if you relapse you’ll never get back on track.
Your recovery and your healing is a chapter in your book of life that’s in the process of being written. So let the story reveal itself one step at a time. Trust whenever you begin to feel like everything is pointless, that the feeling is not only temporary but it’s just another part of your story that’s unfolding and moving you forward.
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