How to break through when life looks hopeless or too hard or unmanageable… Overwhelmingly so.

I have two articles ready in my "pipeline", but this topic is pushing its way in... What do you do, where do you go, when life seems to tell you that you are not enough? And feel pushed into overwhelm -->Click to read footnote 1

When your precious "I" gets threatened? When you get a glimpse that you are, in fact, not the knight in shining armor...

I think I am becoming more empathic. I think I am becoming more sensitive to your unhappiness. Maybe even more compassionate?

Compassion is seeing where you are at, seeing that I've been there before, and offering a helping hand to help you get through it. -->Click to read footnote 2

This is not how you had it, am I right?

Anyway, back to topic... what do you do when you find that you are not enough, you are not a match to life?

  Now, between you and me, there is nothing wrong with that. But you find yourself reacting to "there is something wrong with me".

You and everyone. The question is: will you stay there? And if not, how long does it take for you to get unstuck.

Unstuck in this context means to adjust. To pick up a book, and read up on the topic, for example... or alternatively, adjust your picture of yourself.

The behaviors are very visible on every level to someone other than you.

And on public figures...

Let's take Donald Trump. He finds out, every single day, that he is not a match to the job. His attention. His vocabulary. His comprehension. His knowledge.

Compared to him, you are in a good position.

As an architect, in some of those 17 years, I was like Donald Trump. I wasn't up to the tasks I was asked to perform. I was getting stupider by the day. The gap was too big, and I wasn't able to bridge it.

Your intelligence can only be fully expressed when you are in your element, when you feel good about yourself and about the work you do.

And yet, the only way to grow is to be put in the position where the internal tension, the requirements and the current abilities are at odds.

So finding out how you currently react to this phenomenon, this inner "I don't have what it takes" feeling will be the key distinguisher between winners, losers and also rans.

And for most people, this is where having a mentor, a coach, a friend is the most important: they can see further, and they can see the path.

Because in your incoherent state you can't. And the longer you need to simmer in misery, the more likely that you'll go sideways into behavior where the tension gets released in unproductive ways.

Your TLB is a measure of how steady you can stay when the sh*t hits the fan. And, of course, how much you need a coach, a mentor, or a teacher.

Some people release tension with intoxicants. Chemicals. Eating belongs here. Some people quickly move to where they are good and pretty: play computer games, for example. Some people pick up the phone (that used to be me) and release the tension through yapping.

Of course, some people habitually go into depression. Other people go into denial.

The rarest is the person who can stand there until the incoherence subsides. Because it always does.

Incoherence is like a storm: it passes.

If you can use the tension to do something useful, then it is very useful.

I often do my walking or my listening to the 67 steps. I don't schedule these activities. Scheduling doesn't know when I will need them! And I need these activities every day, because every day I prove to be "not good enough", not a match to life, what I set out to do, what I need to know so I can do it.

I bet you thought you were the only one.

But every living being feels that way: this is how anything or anyone grows.

In the Landmark Forum, one of the transformative elements is people seeing that others go through, others feel the way they feel. That their case isn't unique.

Just google "life is too hard" and you'll get more than a billion-trillion pages... It is the overwhelming experience of people, big, small, successful, happy, everyone.

Being the only dunce makes life hopeless. But we are all dunces, bumbling idiots, and we feel worthless, not good enough, stupid, clumsy, unwanted, unappreciated, unsupported an awful lot of the time.

And we are. It is what it is. Life. People. Normal.

When you first get the idea that A is A, feeling whatever you are feeling doesn't mean anything, unless you say so.

If you feel worthless, and allow feeling worthless mean nothing more and nothing less than that you are feeling worthless, you don't get stuck. You don't get into fixing mode, however you do it. (meeting life head on, moving sideways, hiding from life are the main moves of fixing.)

Your emotions are reactions. Unconscious reactions.

If you get that they are not to be reacted to, that they are not permanent, then your TLB will let you breathe and do nothing. Your resistance to the emotion will subside, your coherence will return, and you'll be able to look at what is the source of tension WITH SOBER EYES.

Every emotion is created by some voice that you probably missed it spoke so fast. Most of those things the voices say have the word NEVER or EVER/ALWAYS in it.

You are NEVER going to get it right. You are NEVER going to amount to anything. You'll ALWAYS...

Most of your troubles come from your TLB... your twitchy little bastard score... that describes your behavior well... you HAVING to do something to release the tension.

You eat, drink, talk to release tension.

All growth is tension released with the appropriate action. Growing. Growing whatever area needs to be grown.

Muscles, attention, knowledge, skills, staying power, patience, faith...

The purpose of coaching is to channel your tension to one action you can do.

The reason you get stuck with tension and unproductive tension releasing technique is the words: never and the ever... that make the issue bigger and something you cannot see how to handle.

All things seem to come at you all at once, and you feel powerless against the 10 meter tall waves.

When you put yourself into a life-altering training program, for example, like I did back in 2000, (The ILP) you'll feel life coming at you in 10-meter high waves.

I was lucky, my manager was insightful. She shared with me the analogy of the ball of wax and the ball of yarn.

If you block the flow with a ball of wax, the flow will not be restored until the whole ball of was melts so it can be washed away by the flow.

If you block the flow with a ball of yarn, you can start snipping tiny pieces of the yarn away immediately. Eventually you'll have snipped away enough yarn, that the flow can push through... and wash away the whole ball.

Life seems to us a ball of wax. Hopeless, unmanageable.

But it is a seeming. When you calm down enough, you can see tiny actions you can take... because every obstacle is in fact a ball of yarn. All you need to start is one little snip... and you are "in business".

That analogy, that idea, transformed my view of life forever.

I still jump into despair because it seems that you cannot avoid that. The voice speaks faster than you can hear.

But I haven't DONE any significant damage in the past 18 years. Significant damage. Small damages I have done. When I woke up from the trance the voices put me... The siren voices...

The trick is the question mark. I wrote about it in another article: every fix should have a question mark. Every quick conclusion should have a question mark. So you can look again. So you don't get stuck in following a fixing reaction too far, too long.

So you can come out of the bull's ear, Plato's Cave, to where reality is.

Reality is never as bad as you see it.

PS: I have found that saying to people: there is nothing wrong with you, wakes them up from the trance. Whereas telling them what's wrong with them puts them even deeper.

Whether it is me, your mother, your wife, your boss, or the voices in your head that tell you that, your reaction will be the same.

You have no idea how much destructive power you have over other people. I didn't. Now I do.

If I ever told you that there is something wrong with you and left you there: I apologize.


  1. overwhelm: bury or drown beneath a huge mass.... defeat completely.

  2. The dictionary says something that is pity, not compassion. Well, compassion is active... not "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others." Claiming compassion, speaking compassion isn't. Unless you are willing to DO, you are just pretending.

Author: Sophie Benshitta Maven

award winning architect, magazine publisher, transformational and spiritual coach and teacher, self declared Avatar

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