You cannot guilt trip your way to happiness

Somewhere along the line we convinced ourselves, that if we act like the school bully, we are going to be motivated. I have no idea where we learnt this – perhaps it is the underlying message of capitalism – that if you are seen to be lazy you deserve nothing.

I wonder how that it working out for you? How motivational do you find telling yourself bad things? If you’re constantly reminding yourself, you will never achieve anything, how is that working out?

The trick is to notice that our thoughts become a self-fulfilling prophecy; but it is never that direct, so it is easy to pretend it is not causal. But your thoughts result in emotions which drive you to do (or not do) everything in your world. Those emotions drive your behaviour and those actions (or inactions) get your results (or lack of results). It is a little trickle down waterfall; the stuff you are telling yourself directly contributes to the life your are living.

So let’s think of a more tangible example: you tell yourself you’re not getting enough done. That leads to a feeling of disappointment. Feeling disappointed is a rubbish feeling, so we try and get away from it by distracting ourselves, like watching things on YouTube which make us laugh, calling a friend to bemoan that there is always so much to do or finally get around to cleaning out that cupboard, because at least then you have a sense of achievement. But it is not the sense of achievement you were seeking, because it was not the task you were meant to be doing, so after all that busy exertion of energy, what shows up in your life is a distinct lack of not getting the stuff done which you needed to. And as if by magic: you get to prove yourself right. But being vilified because you are being mean to yourself is a pretty stale victory.

So how do we switch this? When you have identified a thought which is not serving you, that you have had on repeat for a while, try flipping it and seeing if you can identify what the exact opposite is. Then get curious about what feeling that new thought would evoke. If this new emotion feels more motivating to you, there is a chance it is going to motivate more actions which are going to get you the results you want in your life.

Sounds very cut and dry doesn’t it?

I know it is easier said than done, and that is the whole reason I began training in this stuff: to support people to be able to keep an eye on when their brain is trying to trip them up and work out strategies to get the results they want to see.

If you’re curious about how this could work for you, sign up to my newsletter as I am going to be giving away some more free resources in the weeks to come and letting you know about how you can apply this work to your confidence and self-esteem.

Imagine a life where you were not constantly self-sabotaging. I promise it is possible.