Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 52 of 153 
Next page End Contents 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57  

hidden forces (not easy), we have a better chance of getting back in
Thirdly, besides strong forces in the outside world (things we yearn
for, fears, reactions of others, etc.), there are strong forces generated
by our own self-evaluations. Examples: You may be only 5 or 6 pounds
overweight but see yourself as embarrassingly chubby. During a
conversation, you may panic thinking, "I don't know what to say, I'll
look like a jerk." These thoughts and feelings about ourselves are
powerful forces that frequently block us from doing what we would like
to do. By observing our internal dialogue and self-appraisals, we can
gain better control over these blocks. Examples: Some negative things
about ourselves, e.g. 6 pounds or quietness, we can accept as okay,
others we can "own," e.g. sarcasm or self-criticism, and take
responsibility for changing. Likewise, some of your traits may initially
be seen as positive, e.g. being a party animal and excessive drinking,
but by recognizing their negative long-term consequences and
"disapproving" of the destructive aspects of the traits, we can reduce
these blocks to achieving our more important life goals. 
Fourthly, many activities can captivate or "enthrall" us: eating,
drinking, listening to music, watching TV, socializing, and even
cleaning can capture our attention once we get started. Becoming
preoccupied with these activities blocks us from doing other things.
Enthralling activities may have a relatively weak initial "pull" for us but
once we are absorbed in the activity the "grip" can hold us. All of us
have wasted evenings watching worthless TV. If we had gotten off the
couch and turned off the set for a minute, we almost certainly would
have found something better to do. Ask yourself frequently, "What is
the best use of my time right now?" Change your environment. Try to
develop more fruitful "counter-thralls." Witkin (1988) has a book about
controlling these urges. 
Lastly, blocks occur when a complex collage of forces pushes us in
certain directions, such as when a woman marries the same kind of
jerk three times. Another example is the person who is so concerned
about being liked that they try too hard to please. As a result, they are
seen as weak, "an easy mark," and not respected, which pushes them
to try even harder to please. This is called a self-sealing system and
this vicious circle occurs in many situations: a person creates more
problems drinking to avoid problems, an over-protective parent
produces a more and more helpless child, an insecure and jealous
lover increases his/her chances of being dumped. Obviously, complex
but powerful and mostly hidden forces are pushing these people in
disastrous directions. Such people must get an understanding of the
complex forces shaping their lives, and then they have a better chance
of coping. They need courage to self-explore--maybe in therapy. 
This is a nice theoretical summary of blocks. But, removing your
specific blocks is not easy. Washton and Boundy (1989) make the
point that many of our self-help efforts are directed at the bad habit
and not at the block or real underlying problem. For example, it is
Previous page Top Next page

« Back