Just Stop Walking
Have you ever had an outcome that you desperately wanted such as getting a certain job or keeping a romantic relationship alive even though your partner wants to end it? Have you engaged in a certain course of action you think will attain this outcome and stick with it even though it isn’t working? When you get frustrated, do you double down and keep using the same strategy but try harder?
If you are like most people, the answer to those questions is probably yes.
Why is it we will keep using a specific strategy that isn’t working and believe that somehow, if we try hard enough, this time it will work out? Yet, try as hard as we might, it still doesn’t work. What should we do?
The answer is quite simple, yet it is amazing how unlikely we are to follow it. What is the answer you might ask?
Just stop trying. That’s right, just stop trying.
Imagine you are walking on a path toward a desired destination, but realize that you are either lost or that you are on the wrong path. What do you do? Does it make any sense to keep walking if you are lost or if you realize the path you are on cannot get you to your destination? Of course not. Yet why is it in some areas of our lives that we actually do keep walking down a path that does not lead us to where we want to go?
In my work with my clients who get stuck, I suggest that the first thing they need to do when they realize they are on the wrong path is to just stop walking as taking another step only compounds the problem.
Once we stop walking, then and only then do we have the opportunity to reorient ourselves toward a resolution to our challenge. Maybe we reconsider the outcome we have been insisting on and now realize that it would be okay if we didn’t get it. So maybe the world will not end if we don’t get the relationship you’ve been demanding. Yes, that’s right, demanding. Just because we want someone to love us doesn’t mean they can or will. While it may hurt, we will survive if we don’t get want we want. Who knows, maybe something better will come along.
Or maybe we become receptive to new perspectives on ways to achieve the outcome. There’s a common saying about needing to let go to our attachments to outcomes. What does this actually mean in a practical sense? All it is saying is that there isn’t one way to achieve an outcome so once we stop forcing the issue, things start to work out the way they are supposed to when we stop trying to force the issue.
If you are struggling with an issue in your life that doesn’t seem to get better no matter what you do or how hard you try, the first thing you need to do is STOP WALKING as taking even a single additional step in the wrong direction is never going to get you any closer to what you desire.
Want to learn more about letting go of an attachment to an outcome? Here’s a great resource.