Get out of my own way

Twice this year I’ve been told by people I admire and respect that all I have to do is get out of my own way. The first time I thought: Why of course! That makes perfect sense. The second time I realized I have no idea what that actually means.

Get out of my own way.

How does one do that exactly? And is that meant as a constructive criticism? Because I’ll admit, on the face of it, it doesn’t exactly feel like it.

The truth is, for the last year I would argue that is exactly what I’ve been doing by acknowledging my triggers and learning to set and keep personal barriers. But now I’m not so sure. Because after all of it, the change that I’ve made my life and the calming of emotions, I continue to struggle every single day with one important fact: I still don’t trust myself.

So last night, when I heard this again, in a more intimate and significant way, I felt shaken and confused. I realized that the hard work I’ve done to pull myself out of the trenches of depression and anxiety has been important and valuable, but hasn’t yet fully addressed the root of my struggles—my sense of self-worth and my ability to love and honour myself.

I’m not very good at seeing the forest for the trees and tend to get wrapped up in the little things and then let them eat away at me.

Like my own thoughts, and the words and emotions that sit lodged in my head and that seek to negate all the progress that I’ve made.  

And so I realized that that is what is meant by this well-meaning advice: To get out of my own way is to acknowledge those thoughts and then trust myself enough to be able to move beyond them. What’s more, I know that it has less to do with my day-to-day happiness, but rather with day to day life management.

Seems simple enough stated here, crisp and bold in black and white. But in reality I think this will be the biggest hurdle of my life.


14 thoughts on “Get out of my own way

  1. I’m not sure I’ve ever really understood that phrase, either. The way you break it down makes sense, though. It makes me wonder, though: do men get in their own way? Seems like a lot of the insecurity, lack of self-trust, and self-loathing come down on the feminine side…

  2. Chantal says:

    Chris you are able to articulate how so many of us feel and you do it with such ease. This is hard, so hard. We are our own worst enemies.

  3. Justine says:

    Yes, my friend. I’m often my own biggest road block. At least you’re beginning to recognize yours and are intending to do something about it. I wish I would allow myself to begin with…

  4. Laurie says:

    Hi, Christine. What you write is very true for me, too. The haunt of “not enough” is always behind the curtain of every over-extension of myself. If I can take enough time away from the whirl of my life to look calmly at what I have planned, I can recognize that haunt lurking in my drive to ignore my own solid inclinations and best interests, and cut it off before it blocks me to a dead, exhausted, depleted stop. Thanks for verbalizing what for me is an old pattern, and one I try to lean toward interrupting.

  5. Amber says:

    It will and you will jump over it, gracefully, like you do all things.

  6. Lindsey says:

    So thoughtful and thought-provoking … that’s a phrase I’ve heard before too, and everything you write about a continued struggle to really FEEL self-worth and acceptance rings true deep inside me too. xo

  7. “Getting out of your own way” makes me think about my thwarted attempts at meditation. I know I’m supposed to dismiss the thoughts that bubble up, without judgment, but I often spend so much time worrying about why I can’t do that that I end up more twisted and tangled than I started out. I wish there was an easy fix for us ruminators, other than the comfort I find in reading the words of those who move through the world in the same way I do. xo

  8. pamela says:

    Amen sister. I have always hated that saying too. It makes me feel doomed from the start. I personally prefer: Try not to make things worse. Which pretty much sums up where I usually am.

    The whole love yourself thing is really tough. We are our own worst critics. What I do know is that every time I read your words, I like myself a little bit more and your gentleness allows a big exhale deep within. Thank you for that! From reading your blogs, I have watched all the work you have done in the past year and I am so impressed and inspired by it!

  9. Jane says:

    You’re right. The words seem so simple. The task? Difficult. But the rewards? Great. I think women, in general, get in their own way – with unrealistic expectations, striving to be perfect. But know I’ll be cheering for you and offering support along the way. xoxo

  10. Kitty Moore says:

    Good luck with that – I’m constantly getting in my own way!

  11. On several occasions during my career, I found myself arguing for permission to do something, or griping about all the roadblocks, or obsessing about people being unhappy with me if I did whatever it was I wanted to do. I realized later that I could have simply moved forward and taken action, and not worried about the consequences. That was my way of getting in my own way. I’ve probably done something similar in my personal life as well. Being aware of your fears will help you face them, or maybe it will help you decide to go in a different direction. None of it is easy, it seems. Who are those people who skip blithely through life?

  12. Cathy says:

    This reminds me of a magnet I have at home which reads, “Believe in yourself and the magic will happen.” Easier said than done.

  13. I’ve never understood this phrase.
    I am entrenched in worry. And for me the roadblock is doing too much thinking about the what if’s and potential outcomes, instead of actually doing the living. I am learning though and am taking solace in knowing I can embrace the possibility of living a different way.

  14. […] weeks ago I wrote about my struggle with the notion of getting out of my own way. Within the space of a few days two people whom I admire and trust had gently suggested it to me. […]

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