For those of you working on stopping your hair pulling (trichotillomania), skin picking (dermatillomania), nail biting or any other problematic behavior or habit you have, here is a story that inspired me. It is something I think about whenever I feel impatient about where I am in whatever I’m working towards in my life.
More than a decade ago two friends and I hiked down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, stayed overnight at Phantom Ranch, and hiked back up the next day. If I remember correctly, the trail we took up was about 11 miles, all of course uphill. The evening before at the ranch we attended the ranger talk. The talk was mainly about the geology of the canyon, most of which I’ve forgotten. (Btw, with my history as a scientist, I’ve forgotten WAY more science than most people ever know!) But I do remember what she told us at the end of the talk, when she gave us advice about hiking back out. One of the things she told us is that, the whole day, the rim of the canyon will always look so far away; it will never seem to look any closer. So when you get tired, every once in a while turn around and look back, and see all the trail you already walked up, winding back and forth and here and there.
It was true; the whole next day as we got more and more tired (it took us ten hours) we kept looking up, and the rim of the canyon was sooo far away (until the last half-hour), but then we looked down and saw the miles of trail that we had already climbed, the evidence that we were getting somewhere and progressing to our goal of the top of the canyon. The feeling of accomplishment gave us a little energy to go on and keep going uphill, closer and closer.
Many of us battling body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) are perfectionists, which means we are ALWAYS looking up at the top of the canyon, which means we are always feeling somewhere between dissatisfied and completely overwhelmed. So if you’re currently working on stopping hair pulling, skin picking or anything else in your life, take a breath and look back and acknowledge what you have accomplished already, no matter what is ahead of you. That little break can give you energy and renewed motivation to keep doing the hard work.
If you are stuck at the bottom of the canyon and have no idea how to make any progress at all, and you are FED UP, consider one of my coaching programs.
Love and support, Annette