I’m stuck in a place where I don’t want to be. So, I guess I might as well learn something.
EXCELLENT. Acceptance of your reality is a critical step to moving forward. Many people stay stuck in denial and want to fight or resist their reality, because it’s too horrible to face. It’s like banging their head against the wall. Once they accept the reality of the wall, they can stop banging their head against it, calm down, and look for a better way, like walking around it or climbing over it, or just leaning against it and basking in the sun, relaxing. Any experience, however negative, is an opportunity to learn a lesson. That’s the silver lining in the cloud. That’s making lemonade when life hands you lemons.
Useful knowledge is to be had in different places. Go towards unpleasant places and difficult and confusing things. Challenge yourself to say “Hello” to someone.
We must face fears and realities. We can’t challenge them and overcome them until we muster the courage to face them. We can’t even understand them until we face them. When we run from them they get exaggerated and Terrifying. When we face them they shrink or even vanish, and we gain useful knowledge.
1. The behavioral-environmental part of the problem–
- Exposure–confront the scary situation over and over.
- Analyze the situation–log and assess the possible causes.
- Avoid the stressful situation or person, change your environment.
- Seek support from friends, counselors, self-help groups, etc.
2. The emotional part–
- Learn to relax–counter the tension directly.
- Desensitization–reduce the fear or anxiety response.
- Flooding or venting feelings–get strong emotions off your chest.
- Stress inoculation–learn to “stay calm” or to “talk yourself down.”
- Channel “nervous energy” into fruitful activities.
- Develop psychological toughness–take on stressful challenges.
3. Skills for reducing insecurity–
- Actually having more skills makes you feel more competent…you are!
4. Cognitive part–
- Observe and model a person successfully handling the scary situation.
- Recognize that faulty thinking may be the cause of your stress.
- Correct misperceptions–consult with others; test out your views.
- Challenge irrational beliefs and demands of how things “should” be.
- Right wrong conclusions–check with others, test your reasoning, learn to think logically.
- Intentional thorough planning of how to cope.
- Healthy attitudes–face problems squarely, commit yourself to action.
- Build your faith in your ability to handle stress and other problems.
- Find an inspiring mission in life and nurture an optimistic attitude.
5. Unconscious factors–
- Explore your history–for traumas, stressful emotions, and beliefs.
- Utilize natural curiosity–ask relatives and friends about childhood.
- Read psychological literature and case studies: Q: “True of me too?”
Now you are prepared to plan your attack on tension and fears that hold you back. Based on what you know, select the best two or three methods and give them an honest try. If they don’t work, try something else. Good luck.