How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over Unravelled!: Comments on Mel Robbins’ 2012 Ted Talk.

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I recently listened to the 2012 Ted Talk, How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over, by Mel Robbins. In summary, she claims to be able to help you to get anything you want. Her premise, you just need to force yourself to do it. Seems simple enough, don’t you think?

Robbins claims that the reason you are held back from getting what you want is because you are still acting like a child! Well, she does not say that quite so boldly. What she suggests is that we find it hard to be motivated to get things done because we are waiting for a parent to force us to do so.

She takes us back to when we are a child providing examples of needing a parent to force us to take action. When it is time to for a child to get off the tablet, Nintendo switch, or cellular device, it is generally not the child that makes this decision, but the parent that makes it happen. This often requires force by parent. Or better yet, enforcement.

Additionally, Robbins points out that children rarely volunteer to contribute to household maintenance such as cleaning their bedroom or helping with the dishes. It is the parent that has to force the child to comply with family responsibilities. In turn, as an adult, your inability to get things done (or your ability to keep screwing yourself over) is because you are waiting for someone to force you to get stuff done.

And here’s the kicker! She says it!! NO ONE IS GOING TO SHOW UP FOR YOU. You have to do it. You have to be the one to show up for you. You have to force yourself to just make it happen. It will be uncomfortable at first, because this is new for you. But once you get in the flow of forcing yourself, be the parent for yourself, it becomes so much easier. 

I both disagree, and agree with that statement. 

I disagree that force is the way to make things happen. Forcing yourself can create an inner battle that will eventually hit you in the face. 

Have you ever tried pushing a beachball under the water? If you have, you know that it is only a matter of time before the large ball comes flying straight upwards, possibly hitting you smack, dab, in the face. 

So if force doesn’t work. What does?

Well, the fact that you are wanting to make a change suggests that you have a desire. You have a desire to shift where you are currently at. You don’t want things to stay as they are.

The big question is…what is your motivation for change? Is it because someone wants this for you, or expects this of you? Is the change something that you think will make your life better? Is it something that you want for yourself?

The most important question is, is this something that feels right for you?

I think we get caught up in doing what others think or say will help us. We are told to journal, meditate, get up early in the morning. But is this right for you? Because if it’s not, it will always feel like you have to force yourself. Because you are working against yourself. And as long as you are working against yourself, the quest for change will be exhausting.

Instead, work for YOU.

For example, I have heard that successful people wake up early in the morning, have their schedule laid out for the day, and do the hardest things first to maximize productivity. Well, I have had a number of times during the course of almost 30 years where I have given that a try. 

It. Does. Not. Work. For. Me. 

I put myself through 6 years of school while working as a lifeguard, raising 2 children on my own, (not to mention having a 4.2 GPA in my Master’s Degree). I did not stick to a schedule, I was up ‘til the wee hours of the morning completing assignments, and I never listed goals. I JUST KEPT GOING, because something was driving me from deep within. 

Yes, I knew I wanted to complete school, I knew that I was going in the right direction, but this wasn’t because I followed a template presented by someone on YouTube, what was pop culture of the time, or what my friends and family were saying! I followed what was coming from deep within myself. Because, the blessing of all the trauma and pain that I went through was learning to listen to myself. To trust me before I trusted any one else. 

The part of Robbin’s message that I agree with, is that you need to show up for yourself.

One of the hardest transitions in becoming an adult is the realization that you have to do the work. Optimally, no one is going to do the work for you. 

This makes sense. You have to get a job, or go to school, all in preparation to spend the next decades providing for yourself. And as Robbin’s implies, it is you that is going to have to get you out of bed, make your lunch, do your laundry and clean your house. 

So I agree, that you need to show up for yourself.

In order for change to happen, there has to be a desire that comes from deep within. Once that desire is there, then comes the hard work of overcoming habits that have been formed over years. And what Robbin’s suggests, is that you become your own parent and start showing up for yourself. 

I totally agree, but I would like to take that a bit deeper than simply forcing oneself. Motivation stems from an emotional space. I know there’s lots of information out there on how your thoughts can control you emotions, but really? Think about it. 

For example, if you think positively to help you feel more positive, how did you know that the thought was positive to start with? For you to know that, you must have experienced positivity in the past. You must have had an experience to connect with that helps you to formulate the thought. 

You may not have actually experienced the situation yourself. Instead, you may have gathered the information from another’s experience. But, it is the experience that you had in receiving that information that informs your idea of it. 

For example, you see someone talk about how wonderful their life. They have a thriving career, they love to travel, they have a beautiful home, they look healthy and well put together. And you can feel how appealing that is because you are drawn to that. It does not need to be your own experience for you to know that you desire that. Because you experienced what that could be like by the way it impressed on you. 

And merely going through the motions dictated by another individual is not going to make that happen for you! Nope!! Because that information is coming from outside of you instead of from who you are, which is found and formulated deep within yourself.

This does not mean that self-help books and external guidance can’t help you. What it means, is that you can’t take another’s words, guidance or life experience and make it fit for you when it really isn’t the message that is right for YOU. What it means, is that you have to find the guidance that connects with you! And RUN with that.

How do you stop skrewing yourself over? Spend time with you. Come to know yourself. Why you do the things you would rather not do. What is standing in the way of where you want to go.

And where you uncover that is in the space where you are meant to connect with yourself. The emotional space is the key to understanding you. The reason you need to show up for you is because emotion is the place where all things begin. “If you don’t manage your emotions, your emotions will manage you,” Deborah Rozman. 

What I have learned from working with many individuals at a very deep level, is that there is emotion deep down within that can trump anything that we may want to do. And most often, it comes from the organisms belief that it is taking care of you. The programming that has developed over years to ensure your protection and preservation.

If you push against this by using force, eventually it will smack you in the face with challenges to your physical, mental, or emotional wellbeing. 

Instead, the answer is to be there for yourself emotionally. To connect with the deeply routed messages that have held you back, release their hold on you, and then you are free to go forward. I have observed this transformation with so many individuals. It is a beautiful gift to witness. 

Once you do this, you feel free, light, clearly headed on the path that was meant for you. To simply become YOU.