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I’ll spare you the suspense: you’re going to be frustrated with the pace of your recovery or personal development. 

It’ll move too slow for you. 

It’ll involve tasks that you won’t immediately see the point of (or, even if you DO see the point of them, you might think they’re STILL pretty stupid). 

And along the way in this process, you’re DEFINITELY going to get annoyed with me or any other therapist, mentor, or guru who is guiding you along the path. 

All of that is normal. 

I find it more than a little annoying when self-help types write about how the process of improving your life REQUIRES SACRIFICE, and then they CHALLENGE you to BREAK THROUGH YOUR LIMITATIONS!

Because the fact is, it’s both more and less complicated than just, “this process requires sacrifices.” 

Does recovery require sacrifices? Sure, it often does. 

I find a lot of truth in the quote, “Your new life is going to cost you your old one.” 

We DO need to sacrifice old habits and relationships and viewpoints that we may be attached to, or that felt comfortable. 

We don’t get to both move forward and keep everything the same. 

But it seems to me the reason these self-help types always stress SACRIFICE is mostly to make you more open to the idea of making a rather specific sacrifice: sacrificing your money, to buy their products and services. 

Honestly, most seekers I’ve ever met in therapy or personal development have been more than willing to make sacrifices in the pursuit of their goals. 

It drives me INSANE when self-help gurus treat their audience with condescension— as if the primary problem encountered by most seekers is that they’re unwilling to just SUCK IT UP and MAKE SOME SACRIFICES! 

(I’m here thinking of a specific self-help guy who loves to condescendingly tell his audience that what he’s selling “may not be for them,” and if they’re not ready to “really invest” in their personal growth, he advises they find another program.) 

The path to achieving goals and creating a productive life that feels good involves a lot of mundane tasks. 

It involves learning skills for emotional management— and learning new skills is often no fun. 

It’s not because you’re lazy or weak or uncommitted. 

It’s because NOBODY likes to learn new skills. 

We usually SUCK at new things. And learning how to manage our emotions is particularly HARD, especially when we didn’t really learn how to do it growing up.

Yeah. You’re going to dislike this project a certain amount of the time. 

You’re going to find it boring. 

You’re going to find me annoying. 

You’re going to be angry that you HAVE to learn these new skills in order to make your life work. 

All that is normal. 

The trick is to feel the annoyance, feel the boredom, feel the negative feelings that go along with the project of recovery or life development…and do it all anyway. 

Improving— or even saving— your life is more important than the inconvenience and discomfort that come with learning new skills. 

Your quality of life is worth the trouble. 

You are worth the trouble. 

 

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