If it’s true that most of us haven’t discovered a satisfying life purpose, then perhaps the more important question is why, and further, just what do we do about it. With this in mind, Fiona Craig pens her new book, Stuck in a Rut: How to Rescue Yourself and Live Your Truth.
Offering numerous practical tips and exercises, Fiona Craig, a psychotherapist and life coach, shows just how to first identify limitations that may hold you back, and then how to free yourself and unlock your true potential. Craig also draws upon her experience to offer many case studies that fortify her message and demonstrate how fulfilling liberation can be.
“We become stuck in ruts because we have not resolved our unfinished business,” Craig writes. Part of that unfinished business is that we may carry negative beliefs about ourselves. Craig points to the example of her child asking if it was because of him that she was now living with her parents after a divorce, and her decision to respond by reassuring her child that it isn’t his fault as oppose to avoiding the issue.
In order to overcome our negative beliefs about ourselves, then, we must be willing to look over our childhood experiences and parenting. Self-limiting beliefs can manifest when we find ourselves with negative thoughts, complaining about things, making excuses and talking to ourselves in unkind ways. We may also harbor bad habits that minimize risks and maintain our comfort zone. Or we can be overcome with guilt. Craig points to the example of a client, Amy, who was overwhelmed with household chores but didn’t dare ask her two children to help because she felt guilty about working full time.
Another limitation is that we may fear failure. “Yes, failure is a necessary step along our path to success. In fact, failure is good for you,” Craig writes. It is through failure, the author tells us, that we learn and grow and become our own greatest teachers.
For each of these limitations, however, Craig offers a step-by-step approach to prevail over them. For example, in breaking bad habits, she tells us to first examine our motivation, reward ourselves, identify success saboteurs, find an accountability buddy, and celebrate our wins. In battling the fear of failure she offers the following advice: Use the law of attraction to get what you want by first imagining it, using affirmations, letting go of your past mistakes, celebrating your successes, and finding someone to mentor you.
But finding our authentic self can also be accomplished through cultivating our creative energy. Craig writes, “By harnessing your creative spirit you can overcome blocks to creative thinking, allowing you to tap into your creative side and come up with new solutions and new strategies to implement and act upon.” Craig suggest using experiments that encourage us to be playful, try new ideas, and become more spontaneous.
However, to truly find inner balance, Craig tells us, we must learn to support ourselves by becoming aware of and actively fighting our inner critics. “The most difficult relationship is the one you have with yourself,” Craig explains. To end critical self-talk, the best approach is to have an action plan. Craig offers the following steps: Notice that it’s your inner bully talking to you and not you, start dialoging, muster the strength to refute, debate, and challenge the silly speak, find a way to disarm his or her power, and manifest a superhero.
Craig points out that work-life balance is also important, as this allows us to avoid becoming overwhelmed by all of our roles and responsibilities. Finding this balance, then begins by listening to our true selves. Craig gives the example of a client, Helen, who found herself overrun with work and home responsibilities and with little time for herself. Upon realizing that her health and that of her family were her primary values, Helen rearranged her schedule, delegated household chores and starting exercising regularly.
Craig also emphasizes the importance of processing our emotions, and particularly, finding joy. “Self-care,” she writes, “is not about getting others to care for you but taking responsibility and caring for yourself.” Through avoiding the chaos (especially multitasking), learning to say no, and developing a life plan, we can learn to move toward the vision that best characterizes the life we want to live. Through a strategic approach — setting clear goals, and having clear reasons for these goals — we can to make the life we want within reach.
While those who prefer a more research oriented text may find Craig’s book somewhat lacking, it is packed with helpful tips and practical strategies that are useful for anyone looking to break free from limiting patterns and live a more authentic life.
Stuck in a Rut: How to Rescue Yourself and Live Your Truth
Busybird Publishing, October 2015
Paperback, 207 Pages