I’ve Literally Tried Everything!
“I’ve literally tried everything!”
Oh, really? Everything? Literally?
I call BS.
While this may sound snarky, it is what pops into my head whenever I hear someone say this phrase.
No… I don’t say it out loud nor do I say it to that person. That would be rude and condescending to someone who is obviously struggling with something, whether it be weight loss, pain, relationships, anxiety, sleep issues, etc.…
The reason I’m bothered is that most of the time, it is untrue. Often what their “literal” meaning is:
“I’ve tried everything I’ve felt comfortable trying to the extent I’ve felt comfortable trying it.”
In other words, they have tried a bunch of stuff that didn’t work the way they expected, leaving them disappointed, or even burned out on trying stuff. They have not actually tried everything…literally. If they are anything like me, their definition of “trying” is actually “sampling”. It’s kind of like going to the buffet and tasting as many flavors as possible so you don’t have to decide on an actual meal. It is non-committal…safe even. It’s a great way to be non-specific and explore in the food world when nothing is at stake. Though when exploring solutions for specific issues, maybe, not so helpful.
This is where “sampling” and “trying” can get you into trouble. Making life changes is less about trying and more about doing. More specifically it is about following through on what you are trying. Many people (myself included) do not do this. They try something for as long as they feel comfortable trying it. When it becomes a pain in the butt, (i.e.: messes with your schedule or becomes tedious, difficult, painful, expensive, etc.…) they stop.
Not because it didn’t work, but because they:
- Have trouble committing/following through
- Expect a week to month long program to fix years and years’ worth of damage
- Tried one doctor, dentist, acupuncturist, therapist…and made the assumption that the modality or treatment doesn’t work
- Ran out of money
Let’s look at each of these, one at a time.
If you have trouble committing to and following through on things, hey, you are not alone. The struggle is real. The question to ask yourself is:
“Do I have trouble committing to and following through on ALL things?”
If you have and follow a daily habit of brushing your teeth or hair, then the answer is NO.
You CAN make commitments and follow through on them. You have the propensity to do so, and you have already done it. What you may need for your new habit(s) is the actual desire. It helps to know “why” you are wanting to do it. For example, brushing your teeth is generally done to avoid cavities, dental work, and turning others way with bad breath or food stuffs in your teeth. It is a simple act of self-care. The trouble comes in when the perception that changing your diet, schedule, financial habits, etc.…feels anything but simple. More times than not, it feels hard, time consuming, and costly. But, how much of this perception is true?
What if you started simply?
If you can take 5 minutes to brush your teeth, you can take 5 minutes to schedule out your week. What would it take for that desire to become as important, or as non-negotiable as brushing your teeth? What makes it important to you? Why do you want to do it? What benefit do you gain from making the change? Is this a benefit you wish to experience long term? Have you done it before? Can you do it again? Do you believe in the possibility of being successful?
What is possible is possible.
Why literally try, when you can do. It doesn’t have to be all at once. Small changes add up to big ones over time. This leads us into the next point.
After years and years of abusing our bodies, eating crappy foods, leading sedentary lifestyles, consistently taking on too much, making poor relationship choices…whatever… why do we expect an overnight fix? The problem did not come overnight. The only thing that may have come overnight was the decision to change.
I was the perfect example of that. When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2010, I expected to have it “gone” in a year just by walking away from my stressful lifestyle and changing my diet. How naïve I was. It was years of dis-ease, pent up anger, repressed emotion, self-loathing, blaming of others, crappy eating, ignoring my own needs, etc.…. that brought me there. It is eleven years later, and I am still working on it. Many things have improved, some have stayed the same, while others have morphed into other issues. My work was not specifically external, much of it was internal. Giving the body what it needs does little to remove the stigmas still stuck in the mind. Clearing the mind of BS does little to remove the emotional memories still stuck in the muscles and nervous system. There is a synergistic connection among all these things and the process to bring them all back into balance with one another can be intense and long. And while I may still be in pain and continue to seek and find answers, I feel more at peace than ever before. I am learning, improving, and still moving forward.
Finding answers or solutions is not always an overnight thing either. Sometimes you need to find the “right” doctor, acupuncturist, therapist, expert, who is a good fit for YOU. I often giggle inside when someone says “I tried acupuncture (or chiropractic, massage, etc.…) once, it didn’t work for me”. Rather than try a new acupuncturist like they do with a doctor or dentist, they gave up at first try to prove the point that they “tried and it didn’t work”. If you only brushed your teeth once, it would not “work for you” either. Sometimes you must try and try again. How many kids fall off their bicycles several times before learning to ride? It sometimes takes several attempts to get it right. And it can also take the right combination of things to create the desired outcome.
Find what (and who) works for you.
The last point I will expand on has been a huge “thorn in the side” for me. I tried pulling it out multiple times, only to find it embedded deeper and deeper. I know many others will relate. Not having the money to make the changes you need feels disempowering and hopeless. I (like most) was not raised with a “money comes easily” mindset. In fact, I was taught the opposite: It comes from hard work and should be spent sparingly, especially when you come from a single parent household. While I may not have become a great money saver, I did become a good money stretcher. I almost always found ways to keep my son’s and my basic needs met yet could not seem to find my way out of debt. Getting sick only compounded that. Eleven years later, I am still working my way out of this one too, slowly. Again, it was not an overnight process that got me here. Most people’s financial situations are not overnight processes either. Even when the rug gets pulled out from under you, your habits prior to the rug pulling can help determine your outcome. If you were really good at saving, you might be ok, if you were not, not so much…
What it often comes down to is not necessarily how much you make, but how you manage what you make. Prior to my body crash, I worked good hours and made good money. I also found “good” ways to spend any extra, rather than save it. If I wanted more, I did home party stuff. Again, I saved nothing. I spent it on additional “needs” and things I thought we deserved, rather than saving it for practical things like a house, car repairs, family trips, or paying off debts. We had no shortage of sales and second-hand stuff to ease the pain of being “poor”, but not much else to show for it. Isn’t it interesting how we can spend $50 on a pile of clothes on the clearance rack to make us feel good, but scoff at the idea of spending it at a doctor’s office to make us feel good? I know I am not alone here. It is a strange counter-productive mindset. The clothes are a quick fix, the latter may not be. Yet the clothes really didn’t “fix” anything. It’s all about diving deep into your real priorities. For me, it has become less about having stuff, and more about feeling better. Clothes, gadgets, sugary snacks, etc.… might make you feel good in the moment, but will that money be better spent on things that may make you feel good in the long-term? This is a question I ask often these days. In looking at the bigger picture ahead of me (better health and no debt), I am more intentional with my spending and saving little bits at a time. Not having money has never stopped me from pursuing and learning how to make better choices. It won’t stop you either.
Where there is a will, there is a way seems to ring true more often than not.
If you are going to claim, “I’ve literally tried everything!”, then literally TRY EVERYTHING. Not just a few things, some things, that thing, those things… try every. single. thing.
Or better yet, commit to doing one thing that might take you in the right direction. When you’ve mastered that thing or found a solution that inches you forward, choose another… and another… Find what you can be consistent with and have patience with yourself. Like Yoda says:
“No! Try not! Do, or do not. There is no try.”
Sounds good in theory, but…This Human Experience is not meant to be an overnight anything. Pausing to dive deeper into learning about yourself, making better choices, and how to enjoy the process can make all the difference in the world when you are “literally trying everything”.
May the force be with you.
~ Jody Pogo
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David · May 22, 2021 at 10:37 pm
Nice piece. Thank you.