Suffering from inertia? Understanding yourself can help.
Human desire is like a glacier. Our stated wishes are out in the open, motivating us to change and move forward. But larger and stronger, though less conscious, desires lurk under the surface, anchoring us right where we’ve always been. Welcome to the land of inertia. For every bit of “I want to change” there is an equal or greater part of us screaming, “Stay how we are.” The fix is in understanding the underbelly of our glacier. What motivations, unstated and sometimes even embarrassing, conflict with our stated goals? What’s keeping us right where we’ve always been?
My friend Laurie, a recovered stress addict, is a perfect example. Laurie spoke constantly of her very reasonable, top-of-the-glacier kind of goal, which was to reduce stress. But every time she was asked to take on another project, she said, “Sure!” Her stress level skyrocketed. What? Why couldn’t she “just say no"? Because she hadn’t paid attention to what lurked underneath – an overwhelming desire to be the “supermom” she'd never had herself. This desire, though less conscious, overpowered her stated goal and sabotaged her efforts to achieve it. For years!
But she changed. She began to acknowledge, slowly and a bit painfully, the supermom goal. She recognized it was doing more harm than good for both her and her family. Once she understood the supermom desire and where it came from, she was able to let it go and make conscious choices to reduce her stress. She had to be willing to give up the unconscious goal to achieve the conscious one.
So ask yourself: What’s at the base of my glacier? What less conscious factors are making my goals harder to achieve? Don’t get frustrated with yourself for not changing. Attend first to the reasons you have for wanting to stay the same.
Want to explore the underbelly of your glacier so you can create the changes you want in life? Book an appointment and come on in!
Debbie Granick is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and a Therapist in Raleigh providing both counseling and medication to reduce anxiety and depression and improve mental health. She is available to speak about wellness to groups of all sizes.