“The only reason I can’t jump in and engage life is that I’ve told myself I can’t. Yet I can’t help wondering what would happen if I told myself I could.” Craig D. Lounsbrough, professional counselor, author.
I have become very adept at turning a blind eye to the little mental traps I set for myself on a daily basis. These little traps suck the time, energy, and creativity out of me better than any outside source could. Perhaps you are also familiar with these little traps in your daily life? They are subtle and elusive and hard to spot unless you’re looking for them. Easy to ignore because it’s easier that way.
I was recently reading a new book recommended by a friend, “Everything is Figueroutable,” by Marie Forleo. I have been reading a lot of self-development, inspirational books recently because I have come to recognize one of my many self-sabotaging mental traps – not believing in myself. I desperately want to continue pursuing my dream of writing, but the mental brick walls and barriers I set up along the way are, quite frankly, beginning to wear on me. The books help me gain a little momentum and inspiration and are slowly helping me tear down the walls. But I have worked hard to build my walls, so it will take time to break them down.
Marie Forleo writes about all the little things we allow to suck our time each day – the things we use in order to say “I can’t do this, I don’t have time, energy, ability, etc.” Or “I can’t do this, because first I must do the laundry, the cooking, check my emails, watch this show, etc.” But she challenges us to consider if it’s not because we can’t, but because we don’t want to? Perhaps what we should be saying is “I won’t do this because I don’t want to.” That’s the honest answer, isn’t it? Because if we really wanted to, wouldn’t we find the time?
To hold myself accountable, I am going to share my personal self-sabotaging traps. The first one is playing games on my phone. I only intend on spending ten minutes playing, but after an hour, I realize I no longer have time for the other things I told myself I had intended to do. But I like playing the game, so isn’t this taking care of myself, giving myself time to unwind? I’ll get to my writing later…when I have time.
Next is my love of television. I’ve had a long day at work, I tell myself, I deserve to sit in front of the television and shut down my mind, right? My brain has been working hard all day and who doesn’t need a little screen time?
My ability to be internally self-deprecating is well honed. It might take another five self-help, inspirational books, to get me to finally understand that yes, I am good enough, if only I gave myself the time I keep promising to work on the things I want to work on. Will my stomach always clench with anxiety? Maybe – but it does that anyway, so why not give myself a chance?
Along with being self-deprecating, I tend to believe that everyone else is better than I am, so why try? I read a lot and often when I’m reading a book I can’t put down, I think “Wow, this author is awesome! Their writing is fluid and beautiful – I can’t write like that.”
And, by the way, I’m always tired. Hard day at the office, long workout in the morning, not enough sleep, blah, blah, blah. I tell myself I’m tired all the time. What would happen if I told myself a different story? Because I know I can, but honestly, it would be so much harder.
Marie Forleo challenges her readers to find two extra hours every day to do those things you really want to do. She gives extensive advice on how this can be accomplished. My first reaction was “TWO HOURS? Lady, you’re crazy!” But she isn’t. Could I stop playing games on my phone? Limit my time reading Facebook? Watch less television? Of course I can. The question here is do I want to? Will I?
I’m working on answering this question for myself. There’s an easy path and a hard one. The question is how will I feel weeks, months, years from now based on the path I choose? I know the answer in my heart, but this won’t shut down my mental traps overnight. I’ll let you know how the next month goes.