Not Your Mother’s Itsy Bitsy Spider: Identify Obstacles

Identify Obstacles. Photo Credit – Flickr:  philippe leroyerI typed away at my keyboard, engrossed in my work.

“I like metaphors and contradictions, bla, bla, bla …”

When I stopped to take a breath, I glanced up at the ceiling and my eyes zoomed in on a dark mass in stark contrast to the white paint.

I grabbed my glasses and wrapped them around my face to confirm my finding.

Yep. A spider.

High ceilings are beautiful until an eight-legged creature is hanging out above your bed.

What to do?

Due to the out-of-reach location, the best solution was my favorite action: nothing. Let nature take its course.

Within minutes the arachnid was crawling its way toward a window on the opposite end of my apartment, along the line where my wall meets my ceiling. A start, but he had a long way to go. After another minute, he stopped—just stopped—on his path to outside.

At this point, I began to analyze what he could have been thinking about: his motivations, the obstacles ahead of him.

When we embark on any new journey, there are going to be events and heartbreaks that make us question our beliefs and decisions. Nothing is smooth sailing, but should that be a reason not to start in the first place?

If we identify obstacles that could potentially throw us for a loop before we actively pursue a change in our lives, we are better equipped to handle the unforeseen turbulence that also appears on our voyage to a new place.

Here are three ways to conquer common obstacles that occur with life changes.

Obstacle 1: I’m All Alone

When Itsy Bitsy made his first stop, he realized the magnitude of the task that he just embarked upon—and it scared the shit out of him.

He had a safe life inside and froze when he began to think that he was crazy for wanting a life outside. How could he take on such a task by himself?

Solution 1: No Support is Support

As you write and edit your life, you acknowledge that the pencil is in your hand. When you want to write out something new, or edit out a certain type of behavior, it is no one’s responsibility to tell you, “It’s okay to be different now. It’s okay to grow.”

You’re the only one with the power to say, “Why was I doing things like that? That’s not working. I think I’ll try something new and see what happens.”

You may unrealistically think, “If I only had­­ __, then it would be easier to achieve what I want.” Unfortunately, no person or circumstance is ever going to make it easier for you. Structures based on other people’s approval or support will inevitably crumble.

Take comfort in your pure intentions. You don’t have anything to prove. There’s no one around who you need to impress. You see an opportunity for improvement, and you’re moving toward it.

Obstacle 2: It’s Too Far

The next day, Itsy Bitsy shook off his fear of being alone. He realized that he didn’t need anyone to cheer him on; capable and confident, he went back to work.

About halfway to his goal of fresh air and new scenery, he paused again. While he started the morning strong, by the afternoon he was once again tired and doubtful.

The beneficial result at the end of his travels seemed too far off. Will it ever appear?

Solution 2: Patience & Pacing

You need to recognize the completion of mini-goals along the way. Hug small victories; don’t shit on them.

Although it may take time to finish what you start, when you consistently work toward something, your transformation begins to take shape even if you don’t notice it.

It’s perfectly fine that Itsy Bitsy stopped to rest. He didn’t need to crawl straight out the window on his first try. The distance that he had to cover was longer than anything that he ever experienced before.

It’s smarter to pace yourself than to get so overwhelmed and worn out that you have to stop for good. Celebrate where you are when you’re there. Enjoy your surroundings because there’s always more ahead for you whether you’re ready for it or not.

Obstacle 3: What Does Outside Look Like?

Hours later, I spotted Itsy Bitsy only a few feet away from the window. A new life outside seemed realistic because his experience had given him expertise, and he no longer viewed his journey as unmanageable.

He was now motionless because he second-guessed his desires. Does he even want to carry on his existence outside anymore?

Solution 3: You Get What You Need

You decided to make a change because your old way of handling situations wasn’t working. Your journey to get outdoors has prepared you for what may show up.

Once you’ve put habits into place that are aligned with the person who you want to be, there is no turning back. You know how to roll with the punches and deal with what arises.

Your internal choices can build a peaceful life regardless of external circumstances.

Did Itsy Bitsy Make It?

The next time I looked for him, he was nowhere to be found.

He had the courage to be vulnerable when presented with the unknown.

I’d like to believe that he went outside, but if he resurfaces, I’ll refrain from writing about it next week. Onward.

How to Overcome HeartbreakStefanie Flaxman is the creator of @RevisionFairy and author of a new book about heartbreak.

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