How can I overcome an obstacle

Overcoming obstacles: 2 surprising principles

Perhaps you are having trouble with someone and you think that you cannot overcome all the obstacles? Many of my clients feel the same way. In the end we usually find a solution. In this post I show two general, perhaps even surprising, principles for overcoming obstacles.

Overcoming obstacles usually seems harder than it is

When we have problems with someone that have been going on for a long time, we often get the impression that there is a huge boulder in front of us. We try with all our might to remove this blockage, but nothing moves.

We then concentrate on that all the time and therefore have a very narrow perspective. The result is that it makes the problems appear even bigger and more powerful. This in turn fuels the release of further stress hormones and then you only see danger.

Perhaps the danger isn't that great after all? Maybe the obstacle isn't that powerful after all? But you can't see it any other way in that state and you are not even aware of the limited ideas about the situation.

How inner images create obstacles

But these inner images influence our reactions. For example, one only needs to think of something difficult, and the body will involuntarily react with tension. This is a natural reaction, because the muscles should be prepared for the heaviness.

When the body is then under tension, the head automatically searches for reasons for it. Of course, he finds it in the other person and then says sentences like: "If he or she were just less xy, then everything would be no problem".

Such explanations and ideas, which are always the same, ultimately make the tension permanent. As a result, one becomes more and more powerless and discouraged.

Where could the solution be?

It is a doom-loop. How could you break it? The first thing we need to do is open up to the fact that we create the tension with our own thoughts.

It is our inner sentences, images, interpretations, ascriptions and evaluations that create and reinforce the impression of heaviness and insurmountability. Of course, this is not done on purpose. It is unconscious and automatic. We are just used to looking at the situation in this way (see also The Power of Old Habits)

But this is exactly where the key lies. If we become aware of this connection, we have the opportunity to change our point of view. It's just an idea!

We are so used to this idea that it probably seems quite absurd to us at first that one could look at the whole thing differently. The difficult chunk (the loveless partner, the unreasonable colleague, the unfair boss) is really real and a huge problem, isn't it? Why should you change something yourself?

Overcoming obstacles by changing perspective

People who have managed to overcome a major obstacle unanimously report that, above all, they have changed their own way of looking at and reacting to it.

Many realized that a lot of problems were not outside, but within themselves. Suddenly they were able to approach the question of how to overcome these obstacles in a completely different way.

In the beginning, however, you will first have to overcome yourself to take a different perspective at all. The personal approach and the appropriate behavior are familiar to you and everything familiar conveys security (see also releasing from the pull of a habit). But it is only a deceptive feeling of security, because it makes you feel almost "at home" in the problem.

The first, probably the most difficult, step will therefore be to give up this feeling of security for a moment. The point is that you do something new, unknown and therefore unfamiliar (see also Wrong World? How we can change worldviews).

Principle 1: Consciously doing something differently than before

Your usual behavior means that your view of the situation and of the other remains the same. As a result, your feeling of obstacle also remains the same.

As expected, you always get the same reactions from the other person. That in turn only reinforces your previous perspective and attitude.

So the next time you deal with the person, consciously do something differently than before. She will not expect that, because she most likely also has the image of you as a rigid rock.

It's worth it, even if you feel weird and insecure at first. You will trigger new reactions in the other person. These will be a little different than what you are used to from her.

This will set something in motion. The perspectives will eventually widen. Maybe it's just a little bit at first. But if you stick to this principle, more and more can move over time.

Principle 2: See the situation from the other's perspective

Most of them find it difficult to look at the whole thing from the perspective of the other. But all you really need is a little imagination and a willingness to be surprised. You don't have to identify with the other person because of that.

Simply ask yourself, and answer honestly, how would I feel if I were Person X and dealing with someone like me? How would I, as person X, react to someone with my behavior based on this feeling?

I don't want to anticipate the answers. However, you will very likely see something that you have not seen before. And it is like this: the more you see, the wider your perspective, the more scope and possibilities open up. As a result, what is in front of you appears less and less an obstacle.


Dipl.-Psych. Anna-Maria Steyer, consultant, trainer and supervisor inspires her clients and customers to rediscover inner ease and to find powerful solutions in difficult situations


Post photo: Pixabay

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