Few things in life are as uncomfortable as having to face your own fears, limiting beliefs about yourself or others, deepest desires if you aren’t living them already, and places where you feel trapped or paralyzed. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations of our own making, and we realize the only way out is through the raw and rough terrain of our darkest places. This is generally a very good thing, shedding light on whatever we’ve pushed down that his risen back up to bite us in the a$$, but I don’t know anyone who enjoys it or finds it comfortable. No one heads there willingly, you go because you realize you must if you want to start co-creating your life. A Jim Morrison quote comes to mind, “We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict.” Many people run, deny, or numb out when they come up against it. Sometimes this takes the form of extreme busyness, or all-consuming relationships, shopping, eating or not eating, drinking or drugging or sleeping all day. Holding back the truth or denying reality is exhausting. It’s painful and it’s also pointless. Eventually, if you want to be at peace, you’re going to have to turn and face yourself.

I get emails from people who are struggling all the time and most of them compound the pain by beating themselves up for it. “I know I need to stop doing this, but I can’t seem to help myself.” You stop when you’re ready to stop and not a moment sooner. If you aren’t ready, you’re going to keep hitting that brick wall for awhile. It gets worse before it gets better, because most people hit the wall through unconscious action for quite some time. When you start to realize what you’re doing but haven’t yet found the strength to stop yourself, it’s even more painful because you hit that wall without the blinders on. You watch it coming closer and closer until you get bashed in the face, and you wonder, “Why don’t I care about myself enough to jump off this horrible ride?” But you may need to play it out consciously a number of times before you find the power to make a different choice. “Stopping” isn’t some easy thing; it isn’t likely to happen right away just because you’re making an effort. If you’re trying to stop making habitual choices that end up hurting you, that means you’re trying to rewire your system and change like that doesn’t happen without great effort, determination, persistence, support, guidance, time, and a willingness to smash your face along the way without giving up.

Despair and frustration are not fabulous traveling companions when you’re working to create something beautiful. An inner voice that tells you you suck and you blew it again is not going to inspire you or strengthen you or motivate you to give it another go. That voice is more likely to make you want to pull a blanket over your head and call it a day. You’re looking for the death of one thing, and the birth of another. Old habits die hard, as the saying goes, but it’s never too late. If your way of being isn’t working, please don’t hate yourself for it. I mean, truly, welcome to the human race. Lots of people get stuck in the rage, blame, shame cycle, and it gets old and tired because living a life where you feel powerless really doesn’t seem like a great way to go. So you change things up, but by all means, get back-up, get yourself some help. That might be your yoga practice, it was for me. Also seated meditation, and therapy, and reading and writing and hiking and not feeding that inner voice of meanness that may have taken up residence in your head. What you need to strengthen yourself is personal, but that inner voice is the thing. If it’s nasty, starve it until it’s nothing more than a whisper, nothing more than vapors and feed a voice you want to hang out with. Little by little, the kind voice in your head will start coming out of your mouth, and informing your actions and your choices. Eventually, it will lovingly insist that you no longer bash your face into brick walls. In the meantime, go a little easier on yourself. This business of being human isn’t easy.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

If the posts are helpful, you can find my books here and my yoga classes and courses here.