We have a friend. Let's call her Sandra. She's a major work avoider. A PRO-crastinator like we've never seen before. Deadlines will whizz past as she stares at the ceiling or files her nails.
You might not be as bad as Sandra, but if you're someone who has big dreams, you've most likely experienced a sudden overpowering urge to do everything but start that big project that's been on your mind for a while. Or just felt heavy, lazy and ended up slumping on the couch in front of whatever was trending on netflix. You know, the regular bout of lack of motivation.
Our lack of motivation can run deeper though. Quite often, it's just a deflection tactic caused by fear. Fear of failure, fear of being judged, fear of leaving our comfort zone. That fear speaks to us by using every cell in our body to brake our efforts and get us to file our nails instead (Sandra always has flawless nails. Now you know why). Overriding these emotions doesn't make the fear go away though ; it only forces us into a state of self abuse and denial.
And self abuse is what we do when we try to yank ourselves out of our lethargy. We shame ourselves a little (a lot) because hey, we are doers and lack of motivation is for losers right? That's because we live in a world where we are not validated for our emotions; quite the opposite in fact. We are often labelled as weak, dramatic or unstable if we express our emotions or listen to them. So we've grown up becoming masters at suppressing them, invalidating them and even considering them as the enemy or as something frivolous that just gets in the way of what we want to achieve. 'Just get on with it' we're told.
But our feelings and emotions are not just a vestige from evolution, like an appendix. They're there for a reason. They're our body's language, its way of telling us at all points of the day where we stand. It's our internal compass. We feel joyful, happy, peaceful when things are great, but when things are not so great and there's something that needs our attention, we feel like crap.
So unless we face our fear (which very often is a result of our programming over years and years) it's not going anywhere and will keep coming back to bite us in the butt. It will keep stalling us. Little victories that we seem to have by bulldozing our emotions and feelings and just 'getting on with it' on a particular day will be replaced by big self sabotages that stop us from truly achieving what we want. And that, btw, is true for any other lingering negative emotions.
So what the hell are we supposed to do then ? We need to pay attention. To listen and try to truly understand why we're feeling a certain way for any prolonged period of time. Maybe it's just our body crying out for a day of rest because we've been overworking ourselves, in which case let's just book that hair appointment already and really allow ourselves to relax, guilt free, into that massage chair (yes, our hairdresser has massage chairs and we wouldn't have it otherwise now).
Or maybe it's our fear trying to grab our attention, calling out to be understood and soothed. In which case it's important to follow the thread of that fear to understand the root cause of it and and to re-own it so it works with us rather than against us. Because any part of us that isn't on board with what we want to do is a part that is sucking energy out of us, depleting us at best and sabotaging us at worst often in ways that we are not even conscious of.
As for Sandra? Her nails have been looking a lot worse lately. We hear she's picked up journaling.
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