The Screaming Inner Voice
It wasn’t doing me any harm, and yet I was screaming inside. My 9-year old body was frozen, not even a pinky flicked. I was sitting at the kitchen table being mocked by the only thing out of place—my white, crumpled, gum wrapper. It belonged in the trash, and yet I couldn’t move. For 45 minutes I stared at the gum wrapper, screaming at myself to throw it away, tears blurring my vision, and I remained paralized.
What’s the big deal about a gum wrapper? Why couldn’t I move? Should I have gotten therapy? I could analyze it, and as a coach, I definitely support seeking the root behind the behaviors. I have some ideas as to what that was about for me personally, and how it affects me today, but I’m going to skip all of that this time to look at what most of us experience as an adult.
The Plague of Procrastination & Avoidance
My experience at nine years old feels similar to what I go through today, almost 30 years later, when procrastination and avoidance are gaining ground.
Why do we procrastinate? We might answer with something like these:
- I don’t have the time right now
- I don’t have the energy right now
- I don’t know how to start
- I’m stuck and not sure what the next step is
- I don’t feel like it
- I can do it later
- It doesn’t HAVE to be done now
- Maybe if I ignore it, it will go away (we don’t actually buy this, but our actions suggest we secretly hope for it!)
Digging deeper into our inner layers reveals a variety of root limiting programs that lead to procrastination and avoidance. Some examples:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of success
- Fear of showing up in the world
- Fear of being seen
- Fear of being wrong
- Fear of not being right
- Fear of being judged
But whether we can identify root cause (always great when we can) or not, the end result is still the same. Think, behave, BE the way the causes the results you want rather than the results you don’t want. And recognizing just one critical truth can make all the difference.
It’s always the resistance to change that is the hardest.
I finally got up and threw the gum wrapper away.
The physical action was simple.
I was strong enough to stand and hold myself, my depth perception accurate in navigating to the wrapper, my dexterity solid to hold it between my little fingers, my balance acute enough to walk easily to the trash and drop the wad in.
The 45 minutes leading up to it was a battle.
Remember riding a bike or swimming for the first time?
Those who approached it from fear and resistance, not daring to take their foot off the ground or let go of the side of the pool, took much longer to accomplish the goal, and with greater frustration, than those who embraced the unknown, trusting in the people there to help who already knew how, and just went for it.
In either case, once you got it, you realized that you were completely capable all along, you just didn’t know it before. There may have been a learning curve when discovering how to balance on the bicycle or keep your head above water, but it was there and as soon as it clicked, it never went away.
Even if the desired change involves more serious topics such as grief and healing trauma, the resistance is still harder than the change. The freedom from pain, or the healthier management of it, is way easier than the suffering by not changing.
Regardless of the topic at hand, if the result is really what you want, then why not cut out all the aggravating and painful resistance and just get on with it? You can!
- Always remember resistance is by far the hardest part, and relief comes when you move forward.
- Make it a game to get out of the resistance phase as soon as possible. (Self-bribes and rewards are totally legitimate tools )
- Keep the vision of the desired result in the forefront of your mind.
- Explore only thoughts of solutions, rather than despair and doubt. It feels more and more possible when you do!
- Don’t try to “win.” Don’t force it. Don’t try to lose weight by improving diet and exercise, just improve diet and exercise and watch yourself shed unnecessary weight. It’s much easier that way. I recently posted about allowing happiness in by not trying to force it.
- Stop overthinking. Sometimes I have to stop thinking about it altogether so I won’t talk myself out of it.
- Approach with “open” energy, rather than a constricted, stressed, self-judgmental, trying-to-hard, or other negative energy. Mindset awareness, Universal Law work, meditation can all help with this.
- Just do it. Just start. Just get out of bed. Just do something.
What could you have in your life in the next couple of months if you just stopped resisting and went after it? I will help you each step of the way to new results. Get support and make it happen in my private coaching or group coaching programs.