The 5 Big Stories We Tell Ourselves That Keep Us Stuck (and How to Transform Them)
By Shannon Kaiser
Story 1: We need to feel good all the time
So many of us feel like something is wrong if we aren’t happy. The pursuit of happiness can make us feel less than when we don’t live up to its impossible standard. If you believe you should be happy all the time, then when you don’t feel great, you will feel like a failure. But all feelings are part of the rich tapestry of life, and running away from any of them is not embracing life fully.
THE FIX: When you are sad and frustrated, recognize that they are valid feelings and just focus on being present. Let yourself exist with your feelings. When you can appreciate what is, you will move through it more eﬃciently.
Story 2: It’s selﬁsh to go after what we want
So many of us feel it is selfish to go for what we want; meanwhile we stay stuck, unhappy, and miserable. Think about the fact that the number one regret of the dying is, “I wish I had led a life more true to myself instead of what others wanted for me.” Take steps now to be more true to yourself.
THE FIX: By actively pursuing your dreams, you not only lift up yourself but you help lift up the entire world. Because being authentic and living your truth is the only way you can fulfill your divine purpose.
Story 3: Life is supposed to look a certain way—I’ll be happy when . . .
Everywhere we look, people seem to have more, be more, and look so much happier than we are. In our digital age, illusionary social media accounts make us feel bad about ourselves and pressure us to live up to their standards. We pretend to be better than we feel; we put a smile on our face; we overbuy, overeat, overwork, all in an eﬀort to fit in. Meanwhile we are hurting inside, we are lonely, and we crave a deeper connection. We feel like our life is supposed to look a certain way, and if it doesn’t match our vision, we feel oﬀ track and behind. This story goes: Life is okay now, but it could be so much better, when you get the new car, lose the weight, get out of debt, get the new position, meet your soul mate—the list goes on and on. So many of us think when we get to the next level of our life, when we have the thing we think we need, only then can we be happy. This is a clever trick your ego plays on you to keep you safe and small. But your life isn’t when something happens. It is happening right now.
THE FIX: Focus on the journey and all the amazing things happening in your life today. It’s nice to have goals, but don’t block yourself from living in the moment. Instead, celebrate your life today and be happy you are working toward more fulfillment. Furthermore, instead of pretending that things are okay, be honest with yourself and share your true self. Be where you are instead of where you think you need to be. By being more true to yourself, you will feel better.
Story 4: What others think about me matters
So many of us make choices based on what other people think, say and do. We walk around feeling unworthy and trying to fit in, but we sacrifice ourselves and hide pieces of us in order to do this. We care so much about what others think; yet we don’t stop to ask ourselves what we really think.
THE FIX: Realize that other people’s opinion of you doesn’t really matter, what matters most is your relationship with you. Practice self-love and self-compassion and take your attention oﬀ of needing others’ approval, instead approve of yourself.
Story 5: Giving up is failure
In my retreats and workshops people ask me what the difference is between giving up and failing. Most of us think that giving up is failure and we hold on to situations, people, experiences, beliefs, and habits that don’t serve us anymore. Believing that giving up is a bad thing is one habit that could be preventing you from feeling better.
THE FIX: Instead, shift your perception to see that we are always changing and growing. And often we outgrow what we once needed to grow into. You no longer need to be in the position, or with the person, or in the situation that is hurting your soul. Instead, give yourself permission to let go and move on. When you do, something more beautiful can emerge in its place. Look at this list of stories and identify the ones that have been keeping you stuck. Focus on the fix and trust that the stories you believe can be transformed into a more loving and positive focus.
From JOY SEEKER: Let go of What’s Holding Your Back so You can Live the Life You Were Made for, by Shannon Kaiser. Excerpted with permission from Citadel/Kensington Books; copyright 2019.
Shannon Kaiser is an international life coach, speaker and retreat leader, and bestselling author of five books on the psychology of happiness. Her newest release is Joy Seeker. She’s been named a top 100 Women to Watch in wellness by mindbodygreen; and recognized as a Must-Follow Instagram Account for Inspiration by Entrepreneur magazine.
How to Gracefully Navigate Change
An Evening Workshop with Shannon Kaiser, Emma Loewe, Amy Leigh Mercree and Deganit Nuur
Saturday, November 9, 2019, 6:30 – 9:30 pm
To learn more and register, click here.