"Feeling stuck?" This YANSS podcast is with "professor, author, therapist, and speaker Britt Frank, a trauma specialist who ... helps clients to get out of the feeling of being stuck."
This was well-timed, because stuck is something I've been feeling for a while now. Perhaps unjustifiably, but nevertheless her book's description strikes a chord: when we "know what we need to do to move forward—but find ourselves unable to take the leap to make it happen. And then we blame and shame ourselves, and stay in a loop of self-doubt that goes nowhere. The good news is you’re not lazy, crazy, or unmotivated".
Instead, you're stuck. And that's OK - it's just human, which can be hard. What I found refreshing from my first listen was her insistence on two points:
- "what we call pathology are [often] our brains doing exactly what they are designed to do [minimise resources, get to autopilot, conserve energy]. That doesn't mean you should be resigned to it... don't just assume you're diseased, disordered or sick... you don't get to say 'This is just who I am'".
- "there are no good people and bad people: there are whole people", with the complete spectrum of light and dark - cf multiciplity of mind vs monomind theories.
And she ought to know: by the sounds of it she went through the wringer before becoming a therapist.
What is being stuck?
Coming back for a second listen, this time in front of a keyboard:
- you're stuck if you're not doing what you say you want/need to do, but there's nothing external blocking you. Happens in relationships, jobs... (and projects like myhub)
- we are lying to ourselves. You're managing your reputation towards others but also yourself
- there's a benefit to not doing the thing - it will involve work!
- procrastination is a shame-y word, and it's "a fear response... or whatever reason... if you do the thing something bad will happen". Pain, fatigue, personal or financial risk... it's "suboptimal self-protection". Your brain is stuck in either a shutdown response (freeze mode) or fight/flight mode (doing everything except The Thing). "We procrastinate because we're afraid, and we get stuck there because we're not honest".
You're getting more out of stuck than if you changed. Change the cost/benefit and become honest (which is hard). One trick: at eob write down 10 lies you told yourself that day.
- "psychological shadows form when awareness is blocked" - cf Mind 1 vs. Mind 2.
- so "are you in touch with all aspects of your personality, including the parts you're hiding/repressing?"
- if not, you'll be driven by habit without knowing why or believe that you are permanent flawed and incapable of change or you are ruled by a fate you can do nothing about - "once you are aware of your shadows you are no longer ruled by them"
Step 1: assume your behaviour makes sense
Believe you can change this. It's fixable.
Step 2: identify benefit of behaviour
Assume she's talking about the Thing.
Step 3: what am I willing to do today?
Write it down! Start with what's easy - find a low hanging fruit. Pivot to something easy if necessary. Get a win. And say YES to it. Even a small fruit.
- list 10 options. Pick 1: what can I say Yes to?
- do the lie list
- cost/benefit analyses. Be honest with yourself: you'll force yourself to change.
- Don't ask Why (below), ask What: what are my resources, what am I willing to say Yes to?
To Don't list
- Don't shame yourself
- Don't ask Why?
- It's interesting, but if a building is on fire get it empty and put it out. Find out why it burst into flames later.
- In any case, you won't have all the answers so Don't assume you do.