Have you ever had a, boss. a partner, a parent or even a teacher who would belittle and hurl abuse at you for the smallest of things, find any excuse to you make you feel inadequate, almost all interaction with them would leave you feeling bad about yourself; But you have this need to win their approval. For me, it was my 8th grade English teacher, she was cold and condescending, but I still found myself striving to try and break past her chronic indifference towards me, to make myself feel “worthy” of her attention and approval- looking back, even now, I clearly recall the feelings of anxiety that accompanied each interaction with her. Once in a while they’ll do something that makes you think “Maybe they really do care about me”, and you’re so grateful for this, that you keep allowing this cycle of abuse to carry on, just to experience that feeling one more time – then, you’re suffering from stockholm syndrome. Yes, that Stockholm syndrome.

Today, you may feel captive in an unhappy life, watching your friends and family get that prestigious job, the large house or the beautiful spouse that you yearn for everyday. You loathe yourself, filled with anguish at the missed opportunities – you lie awake every night imagining how your life would have changed if you’d just taken that leap.

You should know that It’s not your fault- it is extraordinarily hard to change your life because, even now, you’re suffering from stockholm syndrome that has pervaded itself into every aspect of your life.

What this means is that you’ve formed a psychological connection with these parts of your life over time and you are fearful of leaving them – it is familiar and comfortable and at some level you feel it is what you deserve – there’s no shame in this, but it is something that you need to work on to get on with your life.

So how do you work past this, luckily you can start with the 5 actions below :

  • Treat yourself as you would, someone asking you for help

Imagine a close friend, or member of your family came to you with a problem that has been plaguing their life for a long time. They are miserable and can’t stop thinking about it – negative feelings fill their days and nights due to this problem. I imagine you would set aside everything else immidately, listen to their problem in details, give them a constructive way to solve said problem and then follow up with them to help them through it.

What you wouldn’t do is blame them, tell them how stupid they are to be in this position and that they should have done something sooner and it’s way too late now- but then why do you say these things to yourself everyday?

Treat yourself as a priority! Think about yourself, your problems, what you want to work on and how you should go about it without free from judgement and negativity. You are your harshest judge but you need to afford yourself the very basic courtesies you would to anyone else!

Once you learn to follow this on a regular basis it will make a powerful change to your life, and rapidly too. This is because any advice you give others, while meaning well, it will always be based on incomplete information but when you apply this exercise to yourself it will have insights no one else can give you.

  •  Practice saying “no.”

Is there someone to whom just the idea of saying “No” to makes your blood run cold? Maybe it’s your domineering boss or a strict parent. Do you see yourself as a “nice guy” who doesn’t want to “be a bother” and always goes along with what your friends/partner/family want to do? Whether it be where to go on dinner or what movie to see or even where to go on holiday.

You may tell yourself you don’t really care or that you’re just happy going with the majority but the reality is each time you don’t speak up on what your inner desire, deep down you feel just a little bit bad.

This feeling of repressing yourself compounds and can get lead to negative consequents

When you say no, you’re telling yourself that what you want matters, yourself and others around you will respect you more. Just to be clear, it doesn’t mean you need to always get your way, win every argument or only ever go to dinner to a place you choose – you just need to express yourself stop repressing your true feelings and just that simple act,  in and of itself will create a positive feedback loop within yourself to stop repressing your emotions, leading to a happier, healthier you.

  • Make changes in your life you’ve been avoiding due to fear of judgement

Think about how, if you did not care what people thought of you, how would you live your life differently? Try not to focus on the past, just on what changes you would like to make and what obstacles you may face in doing so.

For example, If I wanted to stop drinking but I’d be worried about how I’ll explain it at the weekly work outings, what reason would I give to those asking me why I’m not drinking? I might worry “Will they think I’m an alcoholic trying to cut back” or “Will they resent me for trying to preach about cutting back” – and for that reason, just to avoid this,  I might just end up drinking and tell myself “it’s just this one night” . You see how easy it is to rationalise not making changes to your life for fear of judgement – this can be incredibly harmful in the long run for your physical and mental health.

What exactly this is, will of course vary from person to person, but what is true is that just identifying how you want to change your life and what is stopping you from doing so is an important first step in actually doing so!

  • Surround yourself with people who have the qualities you want yourself to have.

For better or for worse, people end up becoming like the company they keep. You’ve probably heard this before but it merits repeating for good reason.

More than anyone else, people are influenced by their closest friends, this is because advice from most sources is unwelcome, even intrusive when compared to just normal conversation and feedback with your best friends. Your views and habits are influenced disproportionately by those of your friends than any other source.

This can of course be a double edged sword, if you have a friend who smokes, you yourself are 61% more likely to be a smoker yourself. This goes for a lot of things, including happiness, health and confidence among other things – so take a look around and make sure you’re in the right surroundings!

  •  Plan, Prepare, Pratice.

There is a reason that virtually everyone tasked with dealing with customers, whether it be telemarketers, salesmen or IT support have pre-made scripts that they follow , it gives them confidence and structure which is important to achieve your goals.

Whatever you want to do or achieve, structure a plan on how to go about it, prepare a series of actions that will let you carry out that plan and practice doing the actions on your list – now do them again, over and over again until you’re so confident in these actions that you’ve ingrained them in your subconscious, you should be able to do them without thinking about them. Once you’ve done this, you will undoubtedly achieve your goal.

It’s as simple as that – overthinking and over-preparation are (shockingly) the bane of a lot of people who want to make changes to their lives – practice your life until it becomes your life.

I hope these help you – and if you’d like feel free to reach out and leave a comment about your experiences.

If the thought of working till you’re 65 terrifies and you want the freedom to start living your life while you’re still young then download this free guide that will let you retire decades earlier by following only 3 simple rules.

4 thoughts on “Here’s why you need to stop blaming yourself for the state of your life.

  1. I enjoyed this. I agree that making a plan and doable targets makes the work feel less heavy–partly because you don’t waste energy all the time wondering what else to try (if you’re in a rut, say). On the other hand, it’s good to have some time and energy leftover everyday so as to always ponder if you’re on the right track and, if you are, what you need to improve.

    1. Thanks Mira.

      Completely agree – reviewing your progress, especially once you’ve made a significant amount is so helpful for putting things into perspective. It’s easy to get frustrated without constant progress.

Leave a Reply