“I’ve been working on this for so long, it should be better by now…”
I hear this a lot.
I hear it in workshops, I hear it on recordings, I hear it on calls and with people I work with.
I hear it in my own mind.
We’ve all been there. That sense of judgment that the amount of effort we have been putting into our inner work should yield more results than it has.
There are plenty of times where it’s useful to work specifically with your frustration, to address the emotions behind that sense of “I should be further along.” I have done multiple sessions with those feelings such as this livestream here.
It doesn’t help that we also tend to have exaggerated expectations and time frames with inner work. This is a subject for another time. If you’ve been on calls or classes with me, you have likely heard it discussed.
I’ve been a professional musician since I was a teenager. There’s rarely been a day in the last two decades where I haven’t been playing or practicing for 4+ hours per day (pre-covid at least. The world is changing rapidly) It’s always been my primary profession and passion, I’ve spent an incredible amount of time playing, studying and have real world experience with many greats. I’m writing this from the hotel for a festival performance.
There are a thousand things I could list where, musically speaking, I’m nowhere near where I always thought I “should” be by now.
We tend understand this long term process as a norm with skills, athletics and careers.
However, it’s not uncommon in the inner work arena to hear people who have worked with a technique for a couple of years and/or attended a few workshops, yet are frustrated that the deepest traumas and challenges of their being are not fully resolved.
The marketing and emphasis on miracle-healings does not help this perspective.
We are harder on ourselves here, and don’t often like to hear “it takes whatever it takes, and that could include time.”
A Different Angle
For today, I’d like to focus on a different angle of this energy of “I should be further by now.” I’ll look at a few ways of deconstructing it, and to explore connecting to a different perspective and attitude around the whole thing that has been helpful for me.
The bottom line is that this line of thinking ONLY hurts you.
There is only downside in taking on the perspective that what you have done so far should have created a result other than what it has.
It IS only a perspective by the way – It’s entirely thought.
The reality, relatively speaking is:
- whatever has been done, and
- whatever is currently happening.
Anything we think or expect should be different is happening entirely within our own mind.
Breaking It Down
If you examine it closely, the premise of “it should be better by now” cannot exist without several of the following:
- A sense that we know how long something could or should take
- A sense that because someone else seemingly did it in less time, that this has anything to do with you.
- A sense that we are doing the right things (no one expects results from the wrong things)
- If we are doing right things, a sense that there aren’t other right things that may be necessary and not in place (imagine exercising and eating well, but having a protein, vitamin or other deficiency you are unaware of)
- A sense that we accurately know what the underlying problem is in the first place
- Sometimes, believing you’ve tried everything (you haven’t)
- Believing your own thoughts
There are a lot more, but I’d encourage reflecting on these for a moment.
Numbers one and two do trip us up, because we believe that what anyone else says, what any protocol or case studies say, what other people have done or or doing, give us any type of objective clarity on what WE need.
Yes, there are standards out there, some bones tend to heal in general time frames. Maybe a large percentage of children speak by a certain age. There are generally prescribed solutions with evidence and case studies to back them up, and they may be worth learning about in your situation.
However, each human being has an infinitely unique makeup. Genetics, patterns of thinking, upbringing, disposition, what the nervous system or brain may be trained into – it’s almost unfathomable how complex it is, and that’s without exploring concepts like karma, ancestry, metaphysics and beyond.
How much work, what changes in perspective, how much time is a particular issue going to take for YOU?
It’s literally impossible to know.
What you CAN do is continue to do the things that resonate, explore ways to go deeper with them, keep an open eye, mind and heart for ways that could expedite the process or find blind spots.
Also, be open that it could change tomorrow.
Thinking we Know
The belief that we are doing the right things, or have the complete picture is often a huge block to success.
You can get some results with a process, and then get married to it as the comprehensive solution for you when it isn’t.
You can get full resolution on a certain subject through a certain process, with a certain attitude, facilitator, partner and then assume that it should work for every issue or aspect of your life when it won’t.
I’ve definitely spent my share of time moving more slowly than I needed to due to a false sense of confidence or understanding.
I’ve observed, as I am sure you have, people who spend years and decades convinced, working very hard, certain they just need to do more, surrender more, release more, while being stuck in a bubble.
I’ve worked with people where a few guided inquiry questions, or a tapping round or two breaks a massive stuck pattern. I’ve worked with people where it was a more gradual process of things breaking down. I’ve experienced both of these on the receiving end of facilitation as well.
“I’ve tried everything…”
You haven’t. Not even close. You can examine that thought for 2 seconds to see how far from the truth it is.
That’s GOOD news.
We are all far, far away from having explored every possible option. We have likely not mastered or fully integrated those tools we have learned.
Also, pay close attention to the part of you that says you’ve tried everything, and the energy behind it. It is a way of staying in a victim energy. Be kind to it and explore what may be happening there.
Bringing Your History Into Your Work
When you work on any subject with the attitude of “here we go again…” you are starting from a lower place.
You are already starting at a lower quality of work, which is more important than quantity.
This is of utmost importance to observe in yourself. The Zen attitude of beginner’s mind is powerful and worthy of exploring here.
Your valuable learned experience, training and skill is going to be with you and serve you no matter what. The baggage and assumptions do NOT need to accompany the journey, and will only slow things down.
Perhaps the most valuable shift I have had in this regard is a change in attitude.
- It takes whatever it takes for ME.
- I don’t know what it takes, and I had damn well better be open to exploring, trying, spending money, learning from others and working with others.
- Do I still actually believe it is possible? If not, I had better put my efforts towards that sense of apathy!
Obviously, I’ve spent a lot of time with inner work. I’ve completed certifications, I’ve been on retreats, I have regular clients, I teach EFT and Inner Reconciliation. GP Walsh, a world class teacher and facilitator took me under his wing, even was my roommate and we did all of that IR content together – including countless workshops together. I was immersed. I have practices I do and have for years, and so on.
I still have as much to learn and grow here as I do in music. I am a professional and a student, most likely for life.
Sometimes I am faced with certain challenges and am amazed at just how much of a beginner I can feel like.
It’s going to take whatever it takes for me on any of them. It could mean exploring more, resting more, finding a different solution, deeper acceptance if something in fact cannot be changed, and so on. It could resolve itself tonight.
It becomes a matter of attitude and commitment to do what I can, and perhaps more importantly, stay in the right posture and attitude, today and tomorrow.
I am spending more time and money than ever working with experts in their field. From doing a lot of tapping together with Brad Yates, to great body-workers and health experts near me, listening to greats like Lester, Adyashanti, finding more and more beauty and depth in what they do.
I’ve had issues that have felt like ‘peeling the onion’ for years and still unfold. I’ve had tapping sessions with Brad where something that was a deep issue for 20 plus years resolved in a night-and-day fashion.
I had an intense injury last year when I lost consciousness and hit the ground hard. I went through a lot of “this should be better by now.” It was a professional physical therapist that pushed too hard and caused a massive setback. I did things by myself, sometimes too little, sometimes too much.
The more I humbled myself to the process, let go of what I thought was supposed to happen, let go of “I don’t need professionals who cause more damage” and started working with better ones, the rate of improvement increased rapidly.
All of these experiences have humbled me and made me respect all of this process of growth, and life itself, as a deep art form. My opinions about what it “should” take to achieve something are irrelevant.
My complaining and judgments about what is or isn’t happening yet, are a complete waste of time.
The beliefs and opinions of others, the insane amount of noise of people saying what is or is not possible, can be distracting and confusing. I believe one of the keys with this is to stay open, but keep your antennas up, be aware of your emotions being hijacked, and follow what truly resonates.
With deep curiosity and questioning – is there something else needed here? What am I holding on to? Who, what, or where might support this better? Is more actually needed, or do I need to relax into what I’m doing and give it the time and space to unfold.
I do believe your solution exists. I believe the truth will set you free and that you have access to it.
Be open, be curious, be willing to let go of whatever you think you know.
Be willing to let go of your history with inner work and your concept of where you should be.
Be willing to get help and support, work with others, invest time, energy and money as needed.
Be willing to stop reading and taking courses and working with others if you’re doing too much or expecting too much from it, and re-assess.
I hope this gives you something of value to chew on, and to connect with you soon.
Great timing on this post, Evan. It’s been a month since I left my job and I’ve experienced roadblocks to what I thought would generate self-employed income.
Letting go of what you know is definitely difficult, but absolutely necessary to make room for growth. Thank you for this.
Yes, it is amazing how different the reality of a new situation is compared to what our mind creates about it. Some things are much easier, some are much harder, but in any case, it’s very, very different — and ultimately deeper and more rewarding.
Overcoming these roadblocks will make you stronger in all areas of your life for sure.