You Can't See Your Own Eyes

My friend called me this morning from her favorite coffee shop. She was taking a break from work. I sensed frustration in her voice. Something clearly was on her mind. After a few minutes of small talk I invited her to tell me what was going on.

She took a deep breath and told me that she was once again, dissatisfied with her job, and for that matter - her life.

This information, or should I say complaint, wasn't new news. If I were a betting woman, the minute I heard the frustration in her voice, I would have guessed what was going on and where the conversation was headed. We've been here before. My friend has been struggling with this issue for years.

There have been many times throughout our years as friends that I've been happy to explore options, problem solve, and come up with creative action plans for her to follow. She's brilliant, self-analyzing, and willing to look at the truth about herself. Always, by the end of our conversations, she's excited, inspired and motivated to make the necessary life changes and yet, nothing changes. She continuously finds a million good reasons to talk herself out of changing her life.

Why, I wonder to myself, can't she - and many people like her, find their way out of their own, self imposed paper bag!

My friend is caught in an endless loop of her own brilliant, yet limited thinking. Even when she gets advice or makes a plan to follow, left to her own devices she will ultimately find a way to talk herself out of making the change. She's like a rat in a labyrinth, twisting her way through the endless corridors of her own often-limited logic, and that is frustrating, both for her, and to watch.

So, why is this? What creates this all too familiar human challenge? The answer's simple. You can't see yourself. Sometimes, trying to solve your own problems is like trying to see your own eyes. Try as you might, without a mirror, you'll never be successful at gazing directly upon the windows of your own soul. The only way to see your own eyes is to look into a reflection.

The reflection I'm talking about in this case is called perspective. Seeking outside perspective, from a professional, not just a friend, can help you deal with and move through your challenges. It's the way out of the paper bag. It's the flashlight that provides illumination when the world is dark.

Are you, or someone you know lost inside your own paper bag? Here are some suggestions for taking the first step into the light:

Are you resistant to ask for outside help? Is it simply stubbornness? Unfortunately, some of the cultural view defines us as weak if we ask for help. Challenge this belief. Choose to align with the available wisdom accessible to you.

Is there an underlying issue at the root? Lack of confidence, self-esteem, or fear can be real and debilitating. Consider handling your issue with a mental health professional. You can make all the action plans in the world but, if there is an underlying issue not resolved, you will always wind up back in the old familiar paper bag.

Do you need a good kick in the pants? Making a change is kind of like starting to exercise after you haven't done it for a while. It's hard to get started, but once you do, it feels great. Define for yourself the benefit you will receive from handling the problem. Then, use the benefit to create inspiration and incentive to take that first step. This is where a friend can come in?ask them to provide the kick in the pants you need.

I was delighted when my friend called me back later that day and told me she found a therapist and was committed to working through what ever was in her way. I'm proud of her and will be supportive as she takes this first tender step.

She will now have a mirror to reflect back the beauty of her own eyes and live the life she's always wanted to live. I'm excited for her.

It's YOUR life?live it completely!

Helaine is a professional coach and writer, who has been featured in numerous publications, including "O" The Oprah Magazine. She helps entrepreneurs and professional women accelerate their professional success, while achieving a more complete and fulfilling personal life. For a free consultation, contact her at 603-357-8546 to discuss how she can help you accelerate your own success. You may also visit her website,">, or email your questions to