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What's Keeping You from Moving Forward?

There are lots of little annoying qualities, behaviors, and attitudes that keep us from moving forward in life. There are plenty of situations, occurrences, experiences, and people to be disappointed with to go around. That's the sad, universal truth. 

But let's be frank with each other. We all have only a finite number of years between today and dead. So we have to decide if we really want to spend them feeling tortured, miserable, frustrated, angry, or disappointed. 

I remember the first time I thought I'd write a book. It was a miserable experience for me. Do you know why? I was worried about other people's opinions when they read it. I was totally focused in on sounding smart, and as a result, what I wrote was crap. It didn't come from my heart, experience, or deep inside where I had been analyzing things. All I cared about was, "How am I going to look?". Yet, the moment I shifted from that mode of self-doubt into believing that I had something to say, I wrote 10 Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives, which was (and still is) a very helpful book, especially for younger women. 

When I first started on radio, I went through a similar crisis. When I'd listen to callers, instead of trying to understand and do something useful for them, I was thinking, "Oh my gosh, there are people listening. I have to sound smart." 

Where did this obsession with sounding smart come from? My childhood. Because my dad called me stupid all the time, I put a high premium on not looking stupid to others. In order to snap out of it, I needed to go through a major attitudinal change. I needed to decide that it didn't matter if someone didn't like me or had a negative opinion of me. I was there to help somebody. My purpose was my repair.    

Oftentimes I get calls on my show where someone wants something that is generally hopeless. For example, "Why did my parent/sibling/kid do what they did?" Sometimes there just isn't a reasonable explanation as to why someone does something. As human beings, we don't like that. We like an explanation. We feel safer with it. Yet the truth is, there isn't always going to be one, so rehashing it over and over won't change anything. Let people act the way they act and decide whether or not you want them in your life. When you have unrealistic expectations for people, you're going to be disappointed. They're not going to be able to fulfill them because they have their own internal world and you're not in the center of it. 

Another way people stay stuck (sometimes for decades) is because they have done something really stupid or made a mistake. As I've said many times on my program, it's not that you made a mistake; what matters is that you learned from it. Not everything can be fixed, but you can always learn. Beating yourself up over something you've learned from and tried to repair is futile. 

Now, what if you are in the reverse situation and someone has righteously hurt, disappointed, or betrayed you? Don't carry a grudge. I'm sure you have a list of people who you wouldn't mind if the bottom fell out of their lives and they got their comeuppance for crap they did to you. You can have your list, but don't spend your days focusing on it. Spending your energy on people who don't care about you stops you from moving forward. 

Finally, find something in your current life that you are happy about. Maybe it's that you even have a life. When I see people in terrible situations, I sit for a second and think, "I'm grateful that's not me and their problems are not amongst my problems." There must be something you are grateful for. 

Tags: Attitude, Behavior, Mental Health, Personal Responsibility, Relationships, Stress, Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives, Values
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