720.370.1800 - Intl 844.331.1993
Select Page
How to Let Go of Anger

How to Let Go of Anger

Release Anger + Reclaim Yourself

 

How to Let Go of Anger

Not to long ago I was talking with one of my life coaching clients about a regrettable situation that he experienced with a family member. There was a bad argument that actually became physical, and an already strained relationship felt like it was broken beyond repair.

He was okay with that: This family member was so toxic that it was probably in the best interests of all to not attempt to mend that particular relationship, but rather focus on healthy boundaries.

In our coaching session we talked about the event itself, and we both agreed that he handled himself as well as possible under very difficult circumstances.

But, as is so often the case, even though the event itself was in the past, he still found himself having intrusive thoughts and feelings about it. Specifically, he felt angry. He felt angry at his family member for being so horrible. He felt angry that he’d been assaulted. He felt angry that this person had been so disrespectful and hurtful to other family members. He felt angry that a holiday gathering that should have been a happy time for his family had been spoiled.

His question to me, “How do I let go of anger?” was such a good one that I thought I’d share the answer(s) with you, too. Why? Because I bet that you, like so many of our life coaching and therapy clients here at Growing Self, might also be harboring some anger that it’s high time to release.

Anger: When The Past Is Emotionally In The Present

There are many different types of anger that often impact our life coaching, therapy, and couples counseling clients here at Growing Self. All are different in some way, and similar in others. All are important, and deserve attention.

Anger After Being Mistreated

Many people harbor feelings of anger after being mistreated in the past. Perhaps they were wronged by a parent, or a sibling, or a friend, or a co-worker, or in a former relationship. They have the right to their pain, and often the anger itself is entirely legitimate and justifiable: They were treated badly and have a right to be angry.

The issue arises when they are feeling angry, now, in the present moment, months or years after the event occurred. The anger attached to the past event is still very much alive inside of them and impacting the way they feel, as well as their sleep or even their physical health.

Having unresolved anger from the past can also impact your current relationships. Until you’ve worked through your anger, it’s likely that you will be triggered by situations in your current relationship and that can lead to problems. If you find yourself having feelings about things that seem out of proportion to what is actually happening, it may be helpful to do some exploration around whether you have lingering feelings of unresolved anger from past experiences.

Anger After Infidelity

It’s extremely difficult for many people to release anger after infidelity or betrayal. One of the biggest hurdles to many of our marriage counseling or couples therapy clients who are trying to repair their relationships after an affair is helping them let go of anger after infidelity or betrayal.

Feeling so angry with your partner after a betrayal is very common, but unless you’re getting support in how to work through that anger constructively, anger can also be extremely destructive to the relationship. While there is a place and time for anger, if you don’t find a way to work through it, ongoing anger after an affair can sabotage your efforts to rebuild your relationship. 

Anger After a Divorce or Breakup

Similarly, many of our breakup recovery coaching clients are dealing with massive amounts of anger after a breakup or divorce. While it is absolutely normal to be angry after a divorce or breakup, anger is also one of those emotions that can keep you stuck in the past for much longer than is healthy for you.

Many people find that working through the anger about their breakup or divorce is an essential step in their healing process.

Feeling Angry With Yourself

It’s also not uncommon for people to be carrying anger towards themselves. This is often (paradoxically) true for people who have done a lot of wonderful personal growth work and are very different people than they were years ago. As they evolve personally, they may become aware that they did things in the past that they would never do now — and they feel angry with themselves for it. Learning constructive ways to deal with feelings of regret, or forgiving yourself for behaving badly or betraying yourself in the past is often a crucial step towards ultimate growth and healing.

Why You Need to Let Go of Anger (Eventually)

If you’ve had bad things done to you, you will understandably feel angry. And sometimes, in certain circumstances, anger is actually a very healthy, helpful emotion. Anger protects you, it warns you, and it gives you the energy to defend yourself. But at some point, anger no longer serves its original purpose of protecting you.

However, unresolved anger simmers inside of you, creating a physiological stress response that over time, damages your body. Furthermore, unresolved anger leads to thoughts and emotions that constrict your ability to feel positive emotions. Worst of all, unresolved anger can trap you: Tarnishing the present moment, taking up all the space in your relationships, and coming out in ways that are destructive to you or others.

Letting Go of Anger

So on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I’m going to be sharing my best advice for how to let go of anger. We’ll be discussing:

  • Different types of anger
  • How holding on to anger harms you, ultimately
  • Strategies to work through anger, productively
  • Ways to maintain a more positive emotional equilibrium
  • How to find forgiveness (and still have boundaries)

I hope this podcast helps you on your path of growth and healing.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

Letting Go of Anger

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: The  Golden Dawn, “Let The Sunshine In”

Enjoy the Podcast?

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Google Play

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Let’s  Talk

How to Create a Joyful Life

How to Create a Joyful Life

Reconnecting With Your SELF

A JOYFUL LIFE | Do you ever feel like you’ve lost touch with what really makes you happy? Or like you spend all of your time doing what you have to do, and almost never things that you want to do? Or, like so many people, do you go through your days with a vague sense of dissatisfaction — feeling like even on good days, they could somehow be better?

If so, you’re in good company. So many of our life coaching and therapy clients come to us with exactly this situation: They just want to feel happy. They want to feel good about themselves, and their lives. They want to feel connected to others, and like they have meaning and purpose in their lives.

But they currently don’t.

Too many adults, especially conscientious, hardworking, responsible and successful adults, spend so much time meeting their commitments to others they start to lose sight of who they really are, and what they like to do for fun.

It’s an easy slide: Especially as you “adult,” growing into a career with more responsibility, settle into a marriage, and start welcoming children into the world, you life starts to be more about all the other people you have depending on you than it is about you. Over time it stops feeling like “life is good” and more like, “I have so much to do.” Can you relate? (Lisa raises hand)

Many men and women spend their entire days, morning to night, doing things that they need to do, or to be of service in the lives of others — be it a boss, a business, a spouse or a kid. Even the darn dog needs something!

Who has time for fun?

Sometimes I ask a Denver therapy client or an online life coaching client, “What do you do for fun?” and I get a blank look, a stutter, or a reddening face. (This is especially true of my American clients. I do work with people all over the world for online life coaching and the Europeans with their six weeks a year of paid vacation can often tell me exactly what they do for fun!)

How to Be Happy Again

So this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success is all about YOU: and helping you get reconnected with your authentic happiness so you can experience a more joyful life. As always, I’ll be offering some insight, new ways of thinking, and actionable ideas you can start using today.

Specifically, we’ll be discussing:

  • What the current “science of happiness” has to say about what moves the happiness needle… and what does not.
  • The biggest hidden culprit getting in between you and a joyful life
  • Simple strategies to get reconnected with the real you (who IS still in there!)
  • Why you can’t buy happiness, but where to invest your resources to cultivate more joy
  • Life hacks to make more space in your life for fun and play

I hope this discussion helps YOU reconnect with your true self and what makes you most happy. You deserve it.

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

How to Create a Joyful Life

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Enjoy the Podcast?

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Google Play

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Let’s  Talk

More Love, Happiness & Success Advice 

How to Let Go of Anger

There is a time and place for healthy anger, and getting stuck in anger can keep you anchored to a painful past. Learn how to release anger and reclaim yourself, on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. Read More
Letting-Go-of-Anger-Let-Go-Of-Anger-Denver-Therapy-Online-Life-Coach-Denver-Anger-After-Infidelity-Anger-Breakup-Divorce

How to Create a Joyful Life

Do you ever feel like you've become disconnected from the "real you" and that you've lost touch with your authentic joyful self? This episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast is all about how to reconnect with yourself, and start feeling happy again. Read More
Joyful Life Be Happy Again Denver Therapist Denver Life Coach Online Therapy Positive Psychology

How to Get Ahead at Work

Are you feeling frustrated with your career? Do you know you're capable of more, but can't seem to get ahead at work? Here's some actionable career advice to help you move past stagnation, and into job satisfaction. Read More
How to Get Ahead at Work Denver Career Coach Leadership Coach Career Advice

How to Find True Love

Hoping to make this a summer of love? If you're single and dating with intention, the latest episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast is chock full of expert dating advice to help you find the long-term love you're looking for. Read More
Denver Dating Coach Online Dating Consultant Dating Advice Podcast Dating in Colorado

How Travel Helps You Grow

Travel can be more than about getting a change of scenery. When you travel intentionally, it becomes a powerful vehicle for personal growth, self-discovery, and soul expansion. Get tips for intentional travel on this edition of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. Read More
How Travel Helps You Grow Online Life Coach Denver Therapist Online Life Coaching For Personal Growth Therapy

How to Get Ahead at Work

How to Get Ahead at Work

Advice From a Career Coach

HOW TO GET AHEAD AT WORK | Do you feel frustrated with your current job? Perhaps you generally feel good about your line of work, but want to take it to the next level. Maybe, like so many people, you’re feeling a vague sense of dissatisfaction with your job: You know you want more, you know you can do more, but aren’t sure which direction you should go in — much less how to make it happen.

Today, you’re in for a treat. I’ve invited Denver career coach and leadership coach Nicholas Manning to speak with me on the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, and share his best advice for how to move past paralysis and stagnation, and start taking control of your career in a new way.

We’re talking about many things to support your professional development, including:

How to Know When It’s Time to Make a Career Change

As with all personal growth work, the starting process of transforming your career often begins with not-so-great feelings, including stagnation, frustration, self-doubt and even fear. Understanding how to turn these “negative” feelings into motivation is the first step in taking action in your career. Nick shares some tips for how to transform exhaustion, frustration and fear into excitement and determination. He also shares some career coaching tips for productive action you can take to begin exploring other options for your career.

Charting a Course For Your Career

Another thing that we talked about was how to think about what kinds of professional roles would fill you up, energize you, and most importantly, leave you with enough margin at the end of the day to be the spouse, parent and friend you want to be. Nick shared his career advice for how to evaluate your options, and use self-awareness and intention to create a thoughtful plan for making positive changes in your career.

Why You’re Not Getting Promoted — The Inside Scoop

On the show, I put Nick on the spot to ask THE question so many of our career coaching clients struggle with, which is, “WHY am I not getting ahed at work? I’m doing a good job — why am I not getting promoted, or even recognized??” Nick shared fantastic, actionable advice on how to begin advocating yourself as well as developing the personal qualities that leaders look for.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence at Work

Knowing how to get ahead at work is a skill set. A skill set that — to the surprise of many — may be entirely different than the actual work product itself. Nicholas spoke from his perspective as a leadership coach (and a leader himself) about how emotional intelligence skills are the non-negotiable “magic sauce” that separates emerging leaders from worker-bees. He discussed specific emotional intelligence skills that you can develop that will help you be more productive, have better relationships at work, and start getting the recognition and rewards that you deserve.

Learning How to Lead

I asked Nicholas to put on his leadership coach hat and give me his best advice (on your behalf) about how to develop yourself into a great leader, if you’ve recently been promoted into a leadership position. He talked about how focusing on output, while tempting, is almost never a successful strategy for becoming an inspiring, effective leader. Instead, he recommends focusing on developing your personal qualities: How to be authentic, trustworthy, a great communicator, and a source of support for the people you manage.

How to Cope With a Bad Boss

Lastly, we spoke about one of the most difficult (and unfortunately too common) job experiences that so many people have, which is how to cope with a extremely difficult manager or supervisor. We talked about how toxic some workplace environments can be, and some specific strategies that you can use to start improving the relationship you have with your boss. (Or, when to know that it’s time to cut your losses and leave).

We help this career advice helps you make positive changes, and develop a more fulfilling and rewarding career!

Lisa Marie Bobby, PhD & Nicholas Manning, MBA

 

 

 

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

How to Get Ahead in Your Career

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby & Nicholas Manning, MBA | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Diezmo, “On My Werk”

Enjoy the Podcast?

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Google Play

FIND PURPOSE, CREATE MOMENTUM, ACHIEVE SUCCESS | Nicholas Manning is a Career Coach, Executive Coach and Leadership Coach who specializes in helping you achieve at the highest level of your potential in the workplace.

Whether you’re identifying your ideal career, or already in a role of great responsibility, Nick can help you gain self-awareness, motivation, direction, leadership skills, time management, and personal productivity skills to help you achieve your professional goals. Learn more about Nick here.

Let’s  Talk

More Career Advice

How to Let Go of Anger

There is a time and place for healthy anger, and getting stuck in anger can keep you anchored to a painful past. Learn how to release anger and reclaim yourself, on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. Read More
Letting-Go-of-Anger-Let-Go-Of-Anger-Denver-Therapy-Online-Life-Coach-Denver-Anger-After-Infidelity-Anger-Breakup-Divorce

How to Create a Joyful Life

Do you ever feel like you've become disconnected from the "real you" and that you've lost touch with your authentic joyful self? This episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast is all about how to reconnect with yourself, and start feeling happy again. Read More
Joyful Life Be Happy Again Denver Therapist Denver Life Coach Online Therapy Positive Psychology

How to Get Ahead at Work

Are you feeling frustrated with your career? Do you know you're capable of more, but can't seem to get ahead at work? Here's some actionable career advice to help you move past stagnation, and into job satisfaction. Read More
How to Get Ahead at Work Denver Career Coach Leadership Coach Career Advice

How to Find True Love

Hoping to make this a summer of love? If you're single and dating with intention, the latest episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast is chock full of expert dating advice to help you find the long-term love you're looking for. Read More
Denver Dating Coach Online Dating Consultant Dating Advice Podcast Dating in Colorado

How Travel Helps You Grow

Travel can be more than about getting a change of scenery. When you travel intentionally, it becomes a powerful vehicle for personal growth, self-discovery, and soul expansion. Get tips for intentional travel on this edition of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. Read More
How Travel Helps You Grow Online Life Coach Denver Therapist Online Life Coaching For Personal Growth Therapy

How to Find True Love

How to Find True Love

Create a Summer of Love

Summer is just around the corner: Flowers are blooming, freshly pedicured toes are peeking out of still-stiff new sandals, and calendars are percolating with all manner of fun plans. If you’re single, this is it: Summertime is one of the best times of year to meet someone new.

As a Denver dating coach (and an online dating coach, actually) I’ve been hearing from my single clients for months now about their hopes to find true love this summer. They’re anticipating outings, barbecues, hikes, and parties that give them natural opportunities to meet “the one” without having to scroll through dating app or an online dating site, or sweat crafting the perfect dating profile.

Their dream is to meet the love of their life naturally, without having to dive all the way in to the frustrating and discouraging aspects of the dating world.

The dating advice I often share is that the best strategy for meeting new people is to make use of every available strategy to connect with new people: both through in person meetings, and online dating. However, there’s more to successful dating than just the chance to meet someone.

Advice From a Dating Coach

A big part of successful dating is playing the numbers game; the more people you meet, the more likely you are to find someone who is interesting and attractive to you (and feels the same about you!) Since people are generally more social in the summer, there are more natural opportunities to mix, mingle and chat up attractive strangers.

However, there’s  much more to successful dating (online dating or otherwise) than just showing up and expecting to find the one. After all, you’re not looking for “Someone.” You’re looking for “The One.” And if we’re being really real here, you don’t want to “date.” You want a relationship. Dating is just the means to the end.

That’s why successful dating requires more than just profile writing or signing up for kickball, and hoping for the best. The key to connecting with a compatible person and establishing a healthy, satisfying, enjoyable new relationship involves quite a bit of preparation, thoughtfulness, and intention.

On this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I’m putting on my dating coach hat to give you some free dating advice for how to date with confidence, and hopefully find your true love this summer. I’ll be discussing:

  • How to date with intention, and save yourself time, energy and frustration
  • How to get interesting people interested in YOU
  • New relationship warning signs
  • What to look for in a potential partner
  • How to establish a healthy long-term relationship

If you’re single and hoping to find true love this summer, you’ll definitely want to listen.

Xoxo,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

Finding True Love: Real-Deal Dating Advice

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Ziv Moran, “I Wish”

Enjoy the Podcast?

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Google Play

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Let’s  Talk

How to Let Go of Anger

There is a time and place for healthy anger, and getting stuck in anger can keep you anchored to a painful past. Learn how to release anger and reclaim yourself, on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. Read More
Letting-Go-of-Anger-Let-Go-Of-Anger-Denver-Therapy-Online-Life-Coach-Denver-Anger-After-Infidelity-Anger-Breakup-Divorce

How to Create a Joyful Life

Do you ever feel like you've become disconnected from the "real you" and that you've lost touch with your authentic joyful self? This episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast is all about how to reconnect with yourself, and start feeling happy again. Read More
Joyful Life Be Happy Again Denver Therapist Denver Life Coach Online Therapy Positive Psychology

How to Get Ahead at Work

Are you feeling frustrated with your career? Do you know you're capable of more, but can't seem to get ahead at work? Here's some actionable career advice to help you move past stagnation, and into job satisfaction. Read More
How to Get Ahead at Work Denver Career Coach Leadership Coach Career Advice

How Travel Helps You Grow

How Travel Helps You Grow

Expand Your Horizons

 

Summer is upon us and with it comes travel season. Are you itching to go somewhere new? Are you dreaming of exotic locations and new adventures? You’re not alone: This is the time of year that we give ourselves permission to step out of our day-to-day and embrace the freedom of the unknown.

These days, travel is more than just taking a trip. Where you go, who you go with, and what you do when you’re in complete control of your time says a lot about you. Your personality, your interests, and even your identity becomes intertwined with what you do during your leisure time.

More importantly, traveling with intention can lead to personal growth. Having new experiences, getting a fresh perspective, and putting yourself in challenging situations can help you expand: Becoming wiser, more worldly, and more resilient. Traveling well can also provide you with benefits that linger long after you get back home.

Because traveling well is such an important aspect of personal growth, I’ve invited travel writer Aditi Shrikant of Vox to discuss the psychological impact of travel on people, and things to consider as you’re planning your summer adventure. She shares her insight into making travel meaningful, and as well as some tips to get the most personal impact from your vacation.

Travel Tips To Enhance Your Personal Growth

One: Seek a Fresh Perspective

Getting outside of the bubble you live in most of the time and making contact with new people, new places, different cultures, and different ways of looking at the world can shake you out of a mental rut. It’s very easy for all of us to fall into ways of thinking that can be self-limiting. Challenging yourself by putting yourself in different environments with different perspectives can stir the pot; ideally, leading to a fresh perspective on your own life when you get back home.

Two: Give Yourself Permission to Travel in a Way That is Meaningful to You

We also identify who we are through our travel. The types of adventures or experiences you seek out are a manifestation of who you are, and what is most important to you. For some, the epitome of a good vacation is laying on a beach with a fruity cocktail in your hand for days (getting up only to graze the all-you-can-eat buffet). Others consider a good vacation to be roughing it off the grid for a week, bathing only in an ice-cold glacier stream.

As you are planning your travel for the summer, you might consider doing some reflecting about what is truly, genuinely, pleasurable, interesting, relaxing and rejuvenating to YOU. (And resisting the instinct you might have to compare your ideal vacation to that of others).

Three: Use Travel to Discover Yourself

Another you might consider as you’re planning your travel for the summer, is how you can intentionally cultivate personal experiences that help you develop. Would it benefit you to be challenged to cultivate new parts of yourself that you don’t often have the opportunity to express when in your usual environment?  Or is the greatest opportunity mindful travel affords you is having the time and space to connect with your own feelings, thoughts, preferences and even creativity when outside of your usual environments? Is “Solo Travel” a way for you to get away meaningfully, and reconnect with yourself? [Check out Aditi’s article about why solo travel is increasingly popular with women]

Any travel is an opportunity to disrupt your usual patterns. You get knocked out of your usual environment, beliefs, self concept, and experiences and in doing so, open new doors into yourself.

Four: Nourish Your Relationship Through Travel

We often think of traveling with our partner as simply a great opportunity to have time together, and to be apart from the day-to-day stressors that can keep couples from connecting. This is certainly true, but another way that relationships are significantly enhanced by travel is the opportunity to engage in — believe it or not — stressful and even anxiety-provoking, novel experiences together.

Research shows that one of the fastest ways to enhance energy and sizzle and a relationship is to engage in new, even anxiety provoking experiences together. When you and your partner plunge into exciting new experiences together, facing the unknown, and going through new things as a team, it will strengthen your emotional bond.

How Travel Helps You Grow

Travel, when done with mindfulness and intention is so much more than about taking a trip. It’s an opportunity to break free from old patterns, challenge yourself, expose yourself to new ideas, and discover new aspects of yourself that you don’t ordinarily get to use. Mindful, intentional travel can nourish your relationship, and help you both grow as partners, and individuals.

If you want to use travel as another tool to help you on your journey of growth, be sure to check out this episode of The Love, Happiness and Success Podcast!

Your partner in adventure!

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

How Travel Helps You Grow

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Enjoy the Podcast?

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Google Play

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Let’s Talk

How to Let Go of Anger

There is a time and place for healthy anger, and getting stuck in anger can keep you anchored to a painful past. Learn how to release anger and reclaim yourself, on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. Read More
Letting-Go-of-Anger-Let-Go-Of-Anger-Denver-Therapy-Online-Life-Coach-Denver-Anger-After-Infidelity-Anger-Breakup-Divorce

How to Create a Joyful Life

Do you ever feel like you've become disconnected from the "real you" and that you've lost touch with your authentic joyful self? This episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast is all about how to reconnect with yourself, and start feeling happy again. Read More
Joyful Life Be Happy Again Denver Therapist Denver Life Coach Online Therapy Positive Psychology

How to Get Ahead at Work

Are you feeling frustrated with your career? Do you know you're capable of more, but can't seem to get ahead at work? Here's some actionable career advice to help you move past stagnation, and into job satisfaction. Read More
How to Get Ahead at Work Denver Career Coach Leadership Coach Career Advice

How to Find True Love

Hoping to make this a summer of love? If you're single and dating with intention, the latest episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast is chock full of expert dating advice to help you find the long-term love you're looking for. Read More
Denver Dating Coach Online Dating Consultant Dating Advice Podcast Dating in Colorado

How To Get Unstuck When You’re Feeling Trapped

How To Get Unstuck When You’re Feeling Trapped

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Set Yourself Free

 

Do You Feel Trapped By Your Circumstances? If so, you’re not alone.I see it all the time: People often feel trapped in situations, and that in every direction is a barrier. It’s like they have no good options.

They sit on my couch, tense, and certain in the futility of any effort to create change.

  • They hate their job but can’t find a different one for various reasons.
  • They want to change their habits but haven’t been successful yet so therefore they can’t ever be.
  • They want their relationship to be different but feel helpless because their partner won’t change.

The door to their ideal path has just slammed shut and now they are facing a wall. Emotionally, they feel helpless and that their problems feel too big to overcome. Every opportunity quickly becomes a snarl of more problems and negative outcomes, and paralysis takes over.

“Being stuck” becomes a purgatory, and as you can imagine, fertile ground for depression to sink roots and wrap them up in tight black vines of hopelessness. It’s hard to go through, and even as a therapist (hi) hard to watch.

Why does this happen? Most importantly, how do you set yourself free?

The “Black and White” Trap

In my experience, feeling trapped is preceded by some variation of black and white thinking that severely limits available options.

If you’re feeling paralyzed, stuck, or helpless there is a good chance that, at the core, you might be engaging in black and white thinking.

When this thought process is active, everything becomes an “either / or.”

“I need to get into this graduate program, but I can’t afford it so I’m destined stay in this unhappy career forever.”

“I’m going out on dates but not meeting people I feel a connection with so I’m going to die alone.”

“I must feel better in order to do something differently.”

“My partner needs to change or I can’t be happy.”

All options are starkly opposed in black and white, and have the power to either save or crush us completely. Words like, “Always,” “Have To,” “Can’t,” swirl in the room. It’s exhausting.

Whenever someone gets into a stuck, helpless place its almost always because they perceive too few options. Things become polarized: Black and white, yes and no, good or bad. Psychological health is happiness is found through flexibility, creativity, and openness.

There is always a middle path.

How To Liberate Yourself

If you don’t like the options you currently have, insist on more.

Did you ever read the story when you were a kid about Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator? (It’s the sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which I know you’ve heard of).

Anyway. Willie Wonka has made Charlie the heir to his magical candy empire, and takes him on a tour of his new dominion.

They get into the Great Glass Elevator, which Charlie assumes, sanely, will carry them to different levels of the factory.

However, the wall of the elevator is covered with buttons indicating that this elevator will go diagonally, in circles, side to side, and more.

Willie Wonka gleefully pushes the big red “Up and Out” button which sends them crashing through the roof of the factory and into outer space. OUTER SPACE!

“And what keeps it up?” said Grandma Josephine.

“Skyhooks,” said Mr Wonka.

The point is that we all get to design our own reality. Just like Willy Wonka, we all make it all up as we go along, and the rules that govern our lives are largely our own construction. You have many, many options — we all do.

Cultivate Creativity And Flexibility

The next time you’re feeling trapped, try taking out a piece of paper and writing down as many alternative options as you can think of. Make them as zany and wildly unrealistic as you possibly can, just to loosen up the thin-lipped British governess that has taken up residence in your head— the one holding two alternatives out to you on a silver tray. Slap them out of her hands and get weird. Brainstorm with abandon.

“I could sell all my possessions and move to a little village in Armenia. In three years I will be mayor.”

“I could quit my job and live in a tent in my next-door neighbor’s backyard.”

“I could make [insert goal here] the sole mission of my life and number one priority every day.”

“I could stand up in the middle of my next team meeting and scream cathartically, throw a chair at my boss’s head, and walk out.” (Not advised. But you could.)

“I could apply to a different school, or change my major.”

“I could break up with this person.”

“I could read some books and learn how to do this thing that seems so impossible. Other people can do it and I can too.”

“I could make it a goal to meet four new people every week.”

“I could save x amount of money every month for the next year, and do the thing I really want to do.”

“I could get rid of my television and use all that extra time to pursue [something important that you feel you don’t have time for].”

Operant point: Start every sentence should start with “I could.”

Of course you will immediately hear the snarky voice of the uptight, uber-rational British governess telling you all the reasons that you can’t.

The correct response to her is, “Shh. Skyhooks.”

You Are the Author Of Your Life Story

The truth is that you can actually do pretty much anything you want.

You CAN decide to take out a massive loan and spend every cent riding motorcycles around Australia for the next six months. You could simply stop paying the mortgage on your house and use the proceeds to finance a diet of nothing but the most expensive chocolate money can buy every single day.

You can. No one is stopping you.

Of course, there are consequences to every decision that you’ll have to sort through, obviously, but just getting in contact with the fact that your options are immense is enough to break through the paralysis that is choking your life and creating the stuck-ness that you’ve been feeling lately.

In addition to some foolish ideas that might very well destroy your life if you followed them, your creativity and openness to new ideas will also generate some reasonable, healthy, fresh and exciting new options for you too. Trust me.

What are the skyhooks that could lift you up-and-out of the tiny little cognitive box you’ve been stuffed into?

What could you do?

 
 
xoxo,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Growing Self Counseling & Coaching
Growing Self
Loading...