Have you ever found yourself stuck, unable to move forward in some area of your life but can't figure out why? Maybe you keep finding yourself unhappy in relationships, are unable to stick to that New Year's resolution, or can't seem to stop comparing yourself to others. Often we want to make a change but some unconscious force sabotages us every step of the way. Making lasting change sometimes involves a closer look at what drives behavior.
If you could stop, you would.
If it were as simple as just stopping it, you wouldn't be here. Understanding what might be driving behavior can help to make changes. This can be as simple as realizing you're not getting the most out of your workouts because you hate to exercise alone. Or it could be as complicated as you can't stop getting irritated with your partner's annoying habits because on a deeper level you don't feel worthy of unconditional love for your own flaws or shortcomings.
You are what you think.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT, is an approach that examines the connection between thoughts (cognitions), feelings, and behaviors. CBT assumes that thoughts trigger the emotions that drive our actions. Examples of unhelpful thoughts (know as cognitive distortions) are: "I'll never be ale to do this", "No one is going to love me", "I can never get it right". A simple change in thinking can lead to a sense of confidence which can drive better choices, more positive behavior, and mastery of new tasks. Think about it this way, it's hard to get out there and meet new people if you believe "he wouldn't like someone like me". Now change that to "I'm an amazing person with a lot to offer" and it can build the confidence you need to get out there.
What if thinking positively isn't enough?
There may be times where despite your improved thinking patterns, you can't seem to generate change or get to where you want to be. When something continues to be emotionally potent and is problematic, there's usually some more powerful source to the problem that might be worth examining. If you can't find the self-confidence to believe someone will love you for who you are or believe that you are worthy of that love, it may be worth exploring where some of those negative self-beliefs come from. Often negative childhood experiences, messages from parents or family members, or our culture or social environment can influence the beliefs we hold about ourselves. This can be even more complex for women who are bombarded with images of ideal body types, lifestyles, and self-image ideals on a daily basis. If those examples are internalized and reinforced they can lead to problematic thinking which can in turn make it difficult to make positive change.
Shed those negative self-beliefs to start feeling better now.
It's possible to feel better, get what you want, and make change. Counseling is a great way to explore those negative thought patterns that continue to be barriers. Get support in exploring these often vulnerable areas and start thinking and feeling better now.