These past few weeks it dawned on me that I’ve actually found a ‘way’ that helps me to go from wishful thinking to action taking. I’ve been using this taking for a while and I am still surprised at how effective this technique is. You I’m the kind of girl who for a long time would do a lot of wishful thinking and little action taking. It’s just the way I kinda did things… Until I kinda got a bit over the wish staying a wish.
What was important to me though was to not go into the ‘pushing’ only because it just doesn’t work on me. I’m a quite quiet and placid person if you will, so any aggressive approach simply won’t work on me long term. It will pump me up the first week after which it will just exhaust and tire me.
The method I’ve found for my personality type, introvert, quiet, type of person is gentleness. Now stay with me on this. I know it’s not what you were expecting to hear, I know it might even sound corny but seriously, it has changed my life.
After reading many many books and trying different approaches to my ‘lethargic-I-don-t-want-to-do-anything moods, this one worked. What I do DIFFERENT is the gentleness part.
For example what I found is that in the past I would beat up on myself, meaning:
-resort to blaming myself for ‘failing’ yet again
-guilt myself for not being where I ‘should’ be … yet
-lecture myself with all the reasons why I had to change
-criticise myself for not having any willpower, not knowing what I really want, not being better, faster, stronger and you name it, I’ve held it against me for sure.
So what changed?
Well long story short, I learnt to be kind with ME. And I used the word ‘learnt’ intentionally because I really did have to ‘learn’ to be kind to me.
How did it change to help me do the things I said I would/wanted to do?
It allowed me to be willing to do it again. You see there is something about kindness and encouragement that makes someone want to try again when they’ve ‘failed’. My personal opinion is that there is no ‘fail’. We cannot fail at life, it’s all a learning journey, and a very personal one. Everything is a learning experience, not a failure plus when we don’t get the result we want it’s also just a result of actions + mindset. But that aside. Have you ever noticed how children who are praised and encouraged are more confident and more willing to try again. Have you ever noticed how they don’t get down about not having achieved a thing. They just try again and usually they won’t give up until they can do it. It’s a natural instinct that is deep within all of us.
The problem is in the way we ostracise ourselves every time we don’t ‘achieve’ a goal. We verbally and mentally abuse ourselves and before we know it and without even realising it, we get completely discouraged. And we tend to give up entirely.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you tried kindness and compassion? Chances are you haven’t. Just as I used to do. And the thing is, it just doesn’t really work long term. Hating on someone usually doesn’t create the outcome we desire, nor does it when we do it on ourselves. We simply create more frustration, anxiety, anger and pain for ourselves.
What I came to realise was that when I was using compassion with myself, meaning that
INSTEAD of calling myself hopeless, I’d praise myself for having tried
INSTEAD of shaming myself for not moving forward fast enough, I’d praise myself on how far I’d come already
INSTEAD of criticising myself for not being good enough, I’d encourage myself to take one step more in the direction of who I want to be
INSTEAD of feeling sorry for myself for not getting it, I’d encourage myself of how strong and amazing I am
and you know what? It WORKS
Praising ourselves works! because
EVERYTIME we praise ourselves for having tried we grow a little more in kindness and compassion – and through THAT we find the strength to take another step in that direction and another. However tiny the steps may be.
But BEFORE you can show compassion towards yourself a first step is to STOP judging yourself.
This has now become an automatic response for me. When I don’t complete a goal the way I ‘needed’ to achieve it, instead of being harsh, I will OBSERVE.
I will listen to the thoughts in my head. This may sound strange but try it. Know that you are NOT your thoughts. Thoughts are just thought yet we tend to make them so absolute when they’re just passing thoughts.
So I STAY with the thoughts, and observe, how my actions don’t match my actions. WITHOUT the judgement. It’s really not necessary to judge. Really, that’s a habit that we could absolutely do without. NOTHING great ever comes from judgement but pain and suffering.
After I have stayed enough with my observations I will ask myself questions, like ‘what’s going on here?’ ‘how come I’m not wanting to do [fill in]?’ ‘what shadow aspect of me is this?’. I get curious about it. About me. not about my excuses, but about me.
Then I write down what I feel and what I would really like.
After I have done that, I simply leave it alone. There is no need to over analyse or to over do it. What I have found is that by being PRESENT with your thoughts, your observations, by asking questions and getting curious and by WRITING (this one is also a key element) that the situation resolves on its own.
I find that it will come to me ‘naturally’ afterwards, when I can just let myself off the hook. It means that I won’t have to push/force myself to do it. I can simply become aware of my actions (or lack thereof) in the moment and already things will start to shift and change.
I am not saying to NOT push or force yourself if that is what works for you. By all means keep doing what works. But if ever pushing/forcing/lecturing yourself did not work for your personality type then I invite you to try the more gentle approach. The compassion approach. You might be surprised at how much you start ‘accomplishing’ the moment you can actually start encouraging yourself and enjoying your journey.
Do you know anyone who might need to hear this message? If so, feel free to share the love and let me know in the comments below what YOU do when you don’t feel like doing that thing.