How to Overcome Yourself

woman looking into a mirror at herself

One of the greatest challenges in life is figuring out how to overcome yourself.

In general, WE are our greatest challenges. Our greatest hurdles. Our greatest and more significant enemies.

We can find kindness for the most wicked and pathetic wretch, and yet save little or none of that same positivity for ourselves. We’ll work ourselves to death at our jobs, but we can’t find the energy to work on ourselves.

As a result, we struggle to find a way forward in life, and get stuck.

When I look back at every significant failures (and success), I realize that so much of each had to do with the extent that I was able to get out of my own way.

Period. It wasn’t about other people or other problems.

Did I manage to HANDLE it to the best of my ability? If not, then things just didn’t work out the way that I wanted them to.

Sometimes I even sabotaged myself. Made it even harder than it should have been.

But what can we do?

The first step is self-awareness, aka journey to self-understanding.

100% the first step overcoming ourselves is the realization and internalization of the problem, that the problem is ME.

Not them, not the world.

Me.

Once you are able to accept that fact, and really get that in your brain, that YOU are the problem (and also the solution) you’ll be able to start taking steps forward in the right direction.

If you are unable to honestly come to terms with the role that you do play and have played in your failures and troubles, then you do not stand a chance of working towards overcoming them.

This may take courage to do. You probably don’t want to. It won’t feel good. No one wants to focus on their weaknesses. Their mistakes. The full weight of the fact that “I did that” and “That was my fault” and “I shouldn’t have done that” and “It was my mistake” is heavy, and not everyone will be brave enough to bear it.

Pride. Ego. We all have these qualities. But they can blind us to the truth about ourselves, what and who we are, if they let them.

Say the statement, said out loud, whatever it is, so that other people can hear, like:

I am the problem.

I am the reason I cannot get good grades.

I am the reason I can’t make it to the gym and meet my weight loss goals.

I am the reason why my marriage ended.

These can be ugly, hurtful truths that we don’t want to face.

But once we do, we are free to then move forward and onward without having to carry them with us.

But won’t focusing on what is bad about me make me feel bad, or depressed?

Maybe. But we are doing this with the goal of working through it, not getting mired in it. We might have to feel a little (or a lot) worse before we can feel better.

You might not want to do this. But if you want to get past it, over it, through it, you’ll have to take the risk that the process will be uncomfortable, and that you might need help to avoid getting sucked down so far you can’t get back up again.

Some people need the WHY

For some people, confronting the ugly truths about ourselves in the self-awareness phase is enough to move on past them. But for others, more time, attention, and investment needs to be paid.

Sometimes it isn’t enough to say, I am the problem. Sometimes, we have to answer the question, why am I the problem? Maybe it is not obvious what exactly the problem is, or how exactly I am the problem.

After all, generalities won’t be enough.

This again puts us the path to greater self-understanding and awareness. You might be able to do this on your own, or you might need the assistance of a trusted friend, family member, partner, or even professional.

But sometimes delving deep into the past, to the highs and lows, and seeing what significant events acted as the catalysts of change, can help us connect those dots.

It is not always easy to see what and how and who. For some, the issues to be overcome can be traced directly to an impactful event, such as a major loss, a traumatic event, a negative outcome, a fear/phobia, or even a person.

But remember, in the center of all this as we look for the WHY is not to place blame on anyone. It is about understanding ourselves, so that we can take steps to move past our issues.

I don’t trust easily might be the problem. The cause of that problem might be a soured relationship, a failed business, the loss of a loved one. We won’t waste time blaming the other parties to those events, if they are in fact, connected to the trust problem. We’ll just acknowledge that the trust issues arise from the failed relationship, understand it, and move on from it.

Overcoming self-esteem and confidence issues

Unfortunately, at the center of the problems of many people (and their inability to overcome themselves) is the lack in belief that they can, or are worth investing in.

I think it is beyond this piece to comment on why so many people in this modern age believe that they are worthless, or just not worth the effort. but the fact is that many people lack the self-esteem to get on the path to happiness and hope.

So how do we get there?

This is different for so many people, and is hardly simple. This could be the work of doing one thing (such as seeing a counselor) or doing a hundred little things, like asking questions, trying new things, losing weight, eating better food, sleeping, dumping social media, learning, acceptance, and more.

But confronting and quantifying the amount of love (or hatred) you have for yourself is going to be a critical part of overcoming yourself.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Put Your Mind Right and Be the Master of Your Words

I can’t say which is the right way for you to work on building your confidence.

I can speak from my experience though. I have always been active, friendly, somewhat social (though a bit shy), though I have become more of an introvert as I have gotten older.

I have always suffered from self-confidence issues. And ti handle them, the number one thing I had to go is discipline my thoughts.

Yes….I am saying it. I had to just take over and force myself to think positively.

Part of this is getting your mind right. It does again, go back to self-awareness. You have to look at how you are, how you act, what you say and how you talk to yourself. Putting your mind right starts with words. The words you use when you talk to other people, about themselves, and about you. It is about the words you use when you talk to yourself, and think about yourself.

It even goes to what you think about, and how you think about it.

Is everything grey, or black, or negative? Can you see any other way?

You often don’t even realize that you are doing it, or that you have the power to change how you think, and the words that you use deep in your mind.

When you exercise control over your mind, and the words that you use, you can actually have a dramatic impact on yourself.

Besides pride, loyalty, discipline, heart, and mind, confidence is the key to all locks.

Joe Paterno

Maintenance = Discipline, discipline, discipline

Think of how you treat yourself and handle yourself as a house. It must be maintained. Energy, time, and money must be invested in it to keep it in good repair, looking shipshape, and to prevent it from deteriorating.

Your body and your mind are the same. If you ignore yourself, don’t work on yourself, don’t spend any time or money on yourself, over time you will break down and fall apart. I don’t care what sort of tight ship you have this minute….if you aren’t consistent with your positive thinking, then you’ll fall back into the traps that held you back before.

Already on your way

One thing before you go….if you are looking to find ways to get over yourself, you are already on the right path. You are on the path to self-awareness already, without even knowing it. You are seeking out information, taking affirmative steps (albeit small ones) to lead a better life.

Just don’t stop. Good luck.

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