3 Things That Keep You Stuck And Feeling Bad About Yourself

feeling bad about yourself

“If you do not change direction, you might end up where you’re headed.” -Unknown (often falsely attributed to Lao Tzu)

Everyone I talk to, seems to be convinced that they’re the only person on the planet who doesn’t have their sh*t together. Because everyone else seems so happy and in control (Instagram pictures don’t lie, right? Right??), they’re deeply ashamed of their own struggles.

It’s just not true! Everyone struggles and feels powerless sometimes, especially in the face of things we would like to change in our lives.

There are, however, ways to make change easier. They’re not always the flashiest or most glamorous techniques, but if they cause our lives to improve in exactly the way we choose, wouldn’t they be worth looking at?

The following are three tried-and-tested techniques to get out of your own way and stop feeling awful. One caveat before I begin: Reading this article isn’t going to change anything. Only implementing the steps I describe, will make a difference.

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Things that keep you stuck #1: Your all-or-nothing attitude keeps you feeling bad about yourself


If you’ve ever been on a weight-loss diet, you’re probably familiar with this one. You’re doing the first week according to plan and lose a few pounds. Fantastic! The next week you’re invited to a party. Halfway through the evening, you crack and eat a bowl of potato salad. Then you think: “It’s all ruined now anyway!” and proceed to also eat barbecue, finger food, and generous helpings of dessert.

If you’d stuck to just the potato salad, it would have been no big deal. It’s because you felt that once you’d broken your “winning streak” of perfection, nothing mattered anymore, that you went on that binge and probably ended up gaining back all the weight you’d lost up to then.

I have a bit of a dramatic streak and therefore, I love sweeping changes. Nothing inspires me more than making plans and writing lists and imagining exactly how I’ll do everything perfectly from now on. It just sounds so tempting! However, it doesn’t matter if this is about food, exercise, passions, or anything else – it’s doomed to fail.

In contrast, the way I established a routine of practising the piano after 15 years without a piano, was by making room for 15 minutes a day, which gradually expanded to take up more time. Whenever I don’t feel like practising, I go back to the 15 minutes.

Do you understand? The idea is baby steps. You can do anything in small increments. 10 minutes of dusting the bookshelves is better than no dusting at all. One healthy meal a day is better than none. Sending a quick message to a friend is better than no contact whatsoever.

“Go big or go home” is one of the worst, most damaging sayings I know. Throw it out the window and introduce 5 or 10 minutes of change every day. A month from now, you won’t know yourself.

Picture by Fernando Jorge on unsplash.com


Things that keep you stuck #2: Trying to do too much


One of the things I often ask my clients to do, is to look for inspiration from historical figures. Almost every art, field of study or discipline has seen a few giants in the past, who achieved unimaginable triumphs or created great works of art.

There’s no doubt that they were great minds and strong characters – but they also had support. Most of these creators – men, mostly, because women weren’t supposed to be artists or inventors – relied on wives (or mothers) and/or servants to look after their every need.

A poet of the nineteenth century certainly laboured over their words, but d’you know what they didn’t do? Wash their owns clothes (or their dishes), cook their own meals, clean their homes, go to yoga, pick up the children from school, attend parent-teacher-conferences, go to the bake sale, buy fresh fruit and veg from the farmers market, …

I don’t mean to diminish their achievements. What I’m saying is that maybe you should stop feeling bad about yourself for not composing operas when even Mozart, who often had financial problems, had a wife and servants to look after his many kids so that he could compose, conduct, rehearse, and generally be a full-time musical genius.

What can you do now, in the 21st century?

  1. Radically simplify your life and kick out anything that isn’t absolutely necessary for your survival or your family’s.
  2. Look for help. I don’t know why it’s so frowned upon these days to get a cleaner at least once or twice a month. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and it is very much worth the reduction of your stress levels.

We may be used to multi-tasking by now, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for us. The more you simplify and focus, the more those few focused activities will thrive. As a bonus, you’ll feel at peace and good about yourself.

Things that keep you stuck #3: Responding with more control instead of more ease


Life is unpredictable and even the most organised people sometimes face unforeseen circumstances. When things go wrong, or even if they simply don’t go the way we expected them to go, our first impulse is to tighten our grip. We try to regain a sense of security by controlling things. Nine times out of ten, these attempts fail spectacularly.

Why is responding with control a bad idea?

  1. It adds stress. Unforeseen events are unsettling enough on their own. Rather than calming us, trying to exert control just serves to make us more tense and add more pressure.
  2. It’s futile. Life has a habit of being larger than any single one of us. We can’t possibly control its eventualities. Sh*t happens, as they say. Imagine you’re swimming in a sea and suddenly there are a number of mighty, rolling waves. Are you going to frantically scream at the sea to be calm, or would it be better to allow yourself to be carried up and down by the waves until they subside?
  3. It redirects your focus. The only thing – or rather, person – you have control over, is yourself. You can’t dictate all the circumstances but you can choose your reaction to them. That’s what you should focus on; that’s the area that deserves your effort and energies.

Instead, when you feel like life has dropped you into the quicksand, let go. Respond with ease. Depending on the situation, do whatever is appropriate out of the following:

  • look where you can help
  • look after yourself
  • see the funny side
  • be prepared to be flexible and change your plans.

Life happening is the norm, rather than the exception. Learn to “ride out the waves” with grace and ease, and you may eventually even find joy in the process.

Vlog 1: From Ireland To Croatia


From Ireland to Croatia


Here’s a new type of content for this blog: A vlog! I’ll post one of these every month from now on. You’ll still get two monthly “mission” videos and a longer article as well.

In this first edition, I show you beautiful footage from both my old home and the new one, halfway across Europe from Ireland to Croatia. I also tell you what made me leave Ireland, and talk about my passions and the life I’m building here.

Enjoy! If you’d like to follow this page on YouTube, you can subscribe to my channel.

And if you’d like more – not only vlogs and Coaching videos, but also additional articles, recommendations, and special offers that I only ever mention by email, then I recommend you sign up for Wild Spirits News (100% spam free!). Simply fill in the form:

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From Ireland to Croatia

Failure Isn’t Permanent: 3 Ways To Normalise Mistakes



Imagine a 10-month-old pulled themselves to a standing position, took a step, fell over and thought: “Apparently, I’m rubbish at this walking thing. I’ll just leave it to those who are better at it.” Haha!

Actually, we learn how to walk by trying and failing, until we don’t fall as much and finally, hardly at all. Fast-forward to adulthood, and we’re suddenly anxious to do everything right and never fail at anything, ever.

This is crippling our success and our joy. Your mission today is to find out why this happens, and how to normalise failure to become much happier.

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Task 1: Why we are afraid to fail


As stated above, kids have no trouble being crap at something. So when do we learn to be ashamed of mistakes? Answer: in school.

Our educational system is built on punishing mistakes. Think of every quiz that has ever been graded: It had every mistake marked with red ink, and the number of mistakes determined the score at the bottom! Is it any wonder we’re terrified of failure?

failure isn't permanent

Photo by Enhialus on pixabay.com


Task 2: Failure isn’t permanent


We all know that failure isn’t permanent, but what we think isn’t what makes us anxious. The fear of failure is deep inside our subconscious mind and usually comes from our school years.

It take persistence to overcome this. Here are 3 ways to get started:

  1. Give yourself permission to fail. Next time you do something wrong, take a deep breath and say “it’s ok.” Stop yelling at yourself.
  2. Consciously seek out something you suck at. Many don’t pursue a passion because they think they’re not “good enough”. Do something badly and have fun. Be a clumsy beginner.
  3. Create safe spaces for failure at work and at home. Encourage people to come clean and see mistakes as opportunities for growth.

These measures take time to show effect, but it’s worth it. You’ll increase your enjoyment of life and your willingness to risk trying something new.

First Perfection, Then Total Inertia – Is This Your Pattern?



Whether it’s healthy eating, exercise, or even prioritising a passion, many of us have an unhealthy cycle going on: We have perfect days, weeks, even months where we’re “good”, followed by complete inertia. That’s when we fall off the wagon, binge Netflix and undo all the good work we’ve achieved before.

In today’s mission you’ll learn why you keep falling into this pattern and how to prevent it from happening again.

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Task 1: Why perfection isn’t perfect


“I was so happy! I had loads of energy and couldn’t wait for my run every morning,” said my client. She couldn’t comprehend why she would sabotage herself by stopping.

The reasons for this are manifold, but none of them have anything to do with your willpower or intelligence. So Task 1 a) is to let yourself off the hook!

In fact, there are psychological reasons for your behaviour. We all have deeply rooted beliefs that stem from our childhood. Perhaps we’ve internalised a parent’s or teacher’s voice, and this make us very conflicted:

  • We want to be “good”
  • At the same time, we want to rebel

If this seems silly, consider that capable, intelligent people have been known to start drinking or abusing drugs again long after becoming clean. It’s a very real obstacle.

perfection then inertia

Photo by Brooke Lark on unsplash.com


Task 2: Break the pattern of perfection, then inertia


It’s time to turn it around. This means letting go of both states: The overly perfection and the total inertia. So what to do instead?

There are several components to this. I’m listing a few for you to get started:

  • Let go of the seductive simplicity of “everything changes, now!” Too much at a time invites failure. Implement one tiny step at a time.
  • Simplify the rest of your life. Reduce your online time, cancel social obligations.
  • Take plenty of time for yourself, to do whatever you please (even binge Netflix)
  • Practice Self Care regularly.
  • Schedule time for what lights you up.

Are Your Dreams Really Your Own?



A major value in our modern society is individualism. Almost everyone will proudly proclaim that they’re their own person, free and independent of other people’s opinions.

This narrative is so central to our culture that it’s hard for us to recognise and acknowledge to what extent we really are influenced by others. Your mission today is to find out what your dreams are like without anybody else’s influence.

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Task 1: Examine your dreams


To do this, you must first of all come to terms with the fact that yes, you are a product of the society you grew up in. Realise this isn’t a bad thing; humans need other humans to survive and thrive.

Acknowledge this and realise which part of your dreams and goals may be influenced by society. This is not to eliminate them! It’s simply important to have clarity about the origins of what you wish for.

Some examples of society’s norms and the goals based on them are:

  • Loving one’s family above everything else.
  • Finding your passion and making it your living.
  • Getting married and having kids.
  • Advancing in your job.
  • Material possessions such as a house, car etc.

your dreams

Picture by Greg Rakozy on unsplash.com


Task 2: Navigate the unfamiliar


Again, wanting these things isn’t a bad thing, nor does it make you uncool. To a certain extent, it’s part of being human. We’re social beings and much as our upbringing contradicts it, we do depend on the group to survive.

Rather, once you realise you really do want something, it becomes unimportant whether anyone else wants it or not. You become sure of yourself. You feel calm, centered, purposeful.

Finding your true dreams can feel very unfamiliar at first, so be patient with yourself! Here are a few questions you might ask to identify them:

  • If money was no object and everyone I love was perfectly taken care of, what would I do every day?
  • Where would I live?
  • Who would I live with, if anyone?
  • What passion(s) would I pursue?
  • How would I contribute to society?

The answers give you clues on what truly meaningful goals might look like for you.