Last Updated on September 10, 2022 by Alex
“I’m sick of being myself.” It can hit you at any time, but usually comes after a period of repeated failures to change.
If you’ve been stuck in a rut for a while and have tried again and again to make changes and gotten nowhere, this phrase or one very similar to it is going to come for you. It’s going to sneak up on you.
The first thought in the morning.
When you look in the mirror.
When you wake up hungover or collapse into your bed one night after a frustrating day of accomplishing nothing or realizing that you are living a lie rather than a life that is authentically you.
“I’m sick of being myself.”
It’s a phrase that reflects a deep truth and it can be the ultimate catalyst for change or another, deeper rung on a descent towards a meaningless life.
If you really mean it, and you have even an ounce of self-respect and hope left, it will be the former.
The truth is people often have to hang over the abyss of emptiness, despair, self-loathing and a kind of spiritual nausea when looking at themselves and their lives to get to the point where deep, lasting change is possible.
Step 1: Why?
When you’ve had that deeply uncomfortable and depressing moment of seeing yourself as someone you can’t stand, realize you’ve just been given the gift of possibility.
It is not possible to change. To become the person you have a sense is deep inside, a more authentic you, but who is buried under the pile of garbage you have accumulated—the mental, spiritual and material garbage that represents the half-lived, inauthentic life.
Now you can take some time. You can reflect deeply on the question of why you want to change.
What are the aspects of you that you can no longer stand?
How have they affected your life? How do they affect the people you love?
Why did you become this way? What were the choices you made and why did you make them?
Where did all this come from and—crucially—why is it a blessing now that you have damaged your life and your character in the ways you have identified? What have you learned about life? Why was this necessary?
Why is it necessary to let it all go now?
Can you be grateful that your choices led you to this point of awareness and possibility?
Step 2: How?
There is nothing like action—behavior—to bring about the changes you desire, so before you have a good plan, if you are so inclined, by all means get into gear and start getting things done.
If you can’t stand the look of 15 or 50 excess pounds of fat hanging from your body and you just got hit in the face with the “I’m sick of being myself” moment, then sure, get out there for a run, pick up that kettlebell or hit the gym.
But then when you’ve exhausted yourself, sit down and make a plan.
A plan isn’t a contract. It doesn’t have to be perfect and it can evolve over time.
Yet a plan is necessary. Going from the above example, you’re going to need to figure out how to balance calorie burning cardio exercise with muscle building and metabolism supporting strength training. You are going to need to decide on a diet. You are going to need to have some idea of how you will use progressive overload to increase distances and weights, sets and reps.
You’ll need to get pretty deep into some of it.
Will you lift heavy or light? What kind of split routine will you use? Will you eschew the gym and weights for bodyweight calisthenics?
In my experience it is always best to start easy but progress steadily to more difficult levels.
For instance, if you are using the kettlebell swing as a weight loss exercise you might begin with 100 swings three times a week but in a month have worked your way up to 300 swings five days each week.
Starting small and building rapidly is a good way to get momentum, and reaching that self sustaining point of momentum where new behaviors are much easier to maintain is perhaps the most important milestone in a process of transformation.
Step 3: Find Your Mates
You aren’t the only person in the process of radical change and nothing helps more than connecting with other people on the same or a similar journey.
The internet can help a lot here as there are countless support communities, challenges, discussion forums and so on. Find those that work for you and participate.
Alcoholics Anonymous is probably the most well known community of support out there, but there is something for everyone.
You can always start a MeetUp group of your own.
Another crucial source of support can be a therapist, a life coach, a spiritual mentor, a wise senior or anyone else who can listen and reflect intelligently on your process of change.
Sure, people can change alone—but rarely do. Eventually even the most introverted folks will hook up with kindred spirits or reach out for help, because that is what works.
Step 4: Practice Reflexive Reflection
You begin with “I’m sick of being myself” and progress on to action and a strategy to get you where you think you want to go, with friends and mentors to accompany you on your journey.
Then the time will come to stop, take a time out and reflect.
Change that is unsustainable is often a function of thoughtlessness and an inability to learn from experience.
So take the time to stop and think. Best if you can find time alone in meditative quiescence and think about your experience from realization that you have to change to actually beginning the journey.
What have you learned? What has worked and what hasn’t? How deep is the change going? How should you adjust your strategy?
That is reflection.
Now make it reflexive by examining your thought processes, goals, values, assumptions and prejudices. Are the goals you set really a reflection of your deepest values?
What are your deepest values? Are they in alignment with what you are doing now? With your strategy?
Are there hidden assumptions and prejudices getting in your way?
Go as deep as you can and make changes accordingly.
When you get hit in the face with the virtually involuntary statement that “I’m sick of being myself” consider yourself lucky.
You just found the door to change and liberation, the threshold past which you can change everything.
This loathsome statement is your strength, it’s your secret weapon.
Don’t be afraid of it. Use it.