(94) Push Yourself Too Hard & You WILL Push Back

Updated: Jan 31

* Although written as flash fiction, most of this is true.

Michael is a confident, outgoing and very successful insurance salesman. Who was killing himself.

I had been going to some group psychology for awhile, and one day, he asked to tag along. Once there, he surprised me by immediately volunteering to go first.

He then dropped his head and remained silent. I could not imagine what was coming. The eight of us waited; the silence stretched.

Finally, he began mumbling. As he raised his head, I heard, "-- take it anymore. I just can’t. I'm killing myself.”

He dropped his head again, as he tried to stifle the tears.

I was dumbfounded. Michael was the strongest guy I knew.

The psychologist —call me Dr. J— casually leaned back and waited. The rest of us sat uncomfortably, looking everywhere but at each other.

Eventually Dr. J said, “You are very hard on yourself.”

With his head still down, Michael murmured, “Yes.”

Dr. J asked, “How?”

Michael looked up, eyes red and said, “I work day and night.”

“Do you eat lunch?”

He nodded and said, “After a morning of cold-calling, I usually grab something at my desk.”


“Not usually. I have potential clients to see. It takes a lot to be successful.”

“Do you put yourself off when you have to use the toilet?”

Michael hesitated and reluctantly nodded.

“After you have pushed yourself through a long day, and night, how do you push back?”

Michael seemed to understand the question and quietly answered, “I stay up too late watching movies.”


“I eat the whole time.”


“I drink too much.”

Dr. J paused and then asked, “Of what?”

He hesitated again and finally admitted, “I recently switched from beer to bourbon.”

Michael and I had been friends for years, and I wondered if I knew him at all.

Dr. J said, “So, the harder you push yourself, the harder you find yourself pushing back.”

I blurted, “You make it sound like he is two people.”

Dr. J nodded and said, “We humans are made up of various parts, and we switch between them. Some people have a strong side that pushes/criticizes, which brings out another side that rebels.

"The stronger we push and criticize, he added, the stronger we find ourselves pushing back.

"And Michael is a good example. He pushes hard through the day, often denying himself the basics, like food and the toilet; then later, he rebels with behavior that he ends up regretting.

"And those regrets begin another round of criticism.”

He turned to Michael and asked, “Who are you, the Pusher or the Rebel?”

Michael seemed to finally have his emotions under control and said, “Uh, both I guess.”

“No!” yelled Dr. J. “Neither!!!”

He held the silence and then forcefully said, “You are the one who will release the struggle.”

Michael looked confused.

Dr. J glanced at each of us, as he said, “Thoughts and feelings are not the same as actions. You may be feeling and thinking like a Pusher, or a Rebel, but you can choose to act differently!"

He turned back to Michael and asked, “How would someone like you be living if he were not killing himself?”

Michael was silent for awhile, then said, “Well, they would take time out for breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner.”

“What else?”

“They would take more time for themselves on the weekends.”


“And they would find some fun things to do in that time off.”

Michael had begun talking faster: “They would take an occasional

evening off, blocking out the time on their planner.

"And they would cut back on the eating and drinking at night.”

Dr. J smiled, as he said, “And they would be able to cut back, because they would be giving themselves more and pushing themselves less.”

All he ever wanted...

His business was deep in the red, and he was now desperate.

I asked him, “If there was one person on the planet who is holding you back, who would it be?”

He immediately said, “My Mother.”

She was giving him money to keep his business afloat. She had also given him the down payment for his house and had recently taken over the payments.

His insight: "I'm 30 years old and still (like a child) dependent on my mother!"

The power of a deep insight is that it cannot be unseen; it tends to stay with us, prodding, pushing and motivating us into a permanent change.

That one insight put him on a path to becoming the man, and success, he had always wanted to be.

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So many people spend their lives trying to change but stay stuck: being overweight; or trapped in money problems, or an unfulfilling relationship, or a stalled career.

But one, deep insight, one eye-widening moment, can begin leaving that pain behind.

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All She ever wanted...

She was saying, “If only I could find the right guy, I would give myself to him, and—"

I stopped her and asked, “Give your SELF?” Her eyes widened as she realized what she had said and what she had been doing.

A deep insight can, indeed, bring permanent change, and yes, you don’t need me. Who is This Guy?

Why am I encouraging you to find your own answers? Every time we even try for personal understanding, our inner strength increases—a bit more—and that strength translates into other areas of our lives.

Either of these 2 simple techniques can bring you the answers you need, as well as increase your strength. And it's all free. Get started now:

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Additional ways to be happier:

23 Ways to be Happier


The Benefits of Controlled Breathing


How to be happier includes giving yourself enough sleep. Here's how:


The very foundation of personal improvement is self-care/self-love. At this link: https://www.danielsperaw.com/single-post/Self-Care-Self-Love-3-Tips--Raise-Your-Quality-of-Life

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