Sometimes I really, really want to write something, but just don’t know where to start. Or sometimes, what to write about. I’ve made writing on here a responsibility though, so I’ll just sit sometimes and start to write and hope for the best.
Writing is obviously not the only situation where this happens – I think most people can remember an instance where they were sitting at home, during a quiet moment, thinking “okay…what do I want to do tonight?”
However, sometimes we fail to start a project, or activity, and it may be very clear in our minds what it is, and why it should be done. But we find it almost impossible to do. In this instance, whether the topic/activity/event at hand is big or small, it’s helpful I’ve found to try some of the following:
– First, stop beating yourself up; most people automatically get frustrated and/or disappointed with themselves over not getting whatever thing it is done that they meant to. STOP IT. Right now. All it’s going to do is make you feel cruddy, and honestly, calling yourself lazy, or stupid, or selfish or even just forgetful is hardly a good motivator. Think about it, if I showed up right this second in your home and started angrily telling you what a stupid, worthless person you are because you keep forgetting to do _______, or because the thought of doing ________ filled you with anxiety, would that actually motivate you? Inspire you to change your ways, your life? Oh sure, you might do whatever it is right then just to get me to shut up (….well played), but as soon as I’m gone? What then?
– Sit down someplace quiet and ask yourself why you’re not doing whatever-it-is. Are you generally just super-duper busy lately and forgetting about it? Are you delaying it because you hate it/don’t want to do it? Why do you hate it? What’s crappy about it? Or maybe this is a fear issue – we can sometimes avoid/put off/deliberately forget things because deep down, we’re afraid of the changes they could bring. Be honest with yourself during this “why seeking”, but my first suggestion still stands! Remember, honesty doesn’t equal insulting yourself! Also be patient and curious; it may take you a little bit to figure out your why.
– Time for some action! Okay, so you’ve figured out that the honest reason why you (for example) keep putting off visiting your Aunt Ethel even though your Mom keeps getting on you about it is that Ethel is depressing and smells weird and you always leave her house depressed and smelling weird. You have no idea what to talk to her about so always end up listening to her talk about her bad hip for 45 minutes. You also have no idea how to get that smell out of your sweaters once it’s there. Good thing you stopped beating yourself up in step one – those sound like some pretty understandably unpleasant things to want to avoid. And you know what? Sometimes when you’ll get to this point you’ll realize that the reason you keep putting off/forgetting to do something is that that “thing” isn’t actually what you want, or need, or maybe is even healthy for you to be doing right now. But not always. Sometimes it’s just that you’re so used to things a certain way, you only know them in that way, I.e. Aunt Ethel only ever talks about her hip and only ever smells like awful. Well, what if she wasn’t that way? What if next time you visited you brought her a book, magazine, or newspaper that you could go through together? What if you brought cards, a board game, a movie, your dog? How about some flowers to cheer her up and to help with that nose funk? How about asking if she needs help cleaning, maybe that’s where the smell is coming from? Old people can have a hard time doing stuff like that on their own. If you try something new, you get a new result – even if that new result is just hearing your Aunt Ethel say she doesn’t want to play Stratego with you. And obviously something new needs to happen unless you want to keep feeling crappy about the situation. Brainstorm time! Come up with some ideas!
– Know when to let go. If you, in your honesty moment up there in step 2, realized that your whatever it is has become a avoidance because it’s simply not right for you, let it go gracefully, and free yourself of any guilt. We often feel we “need” to do certain things, when really? A lot of our needs are other people’s needs that we’re slugging around with us for some reason. You have as much a right to be happy and healthy as anyone else. If Aunt Ethel is genuinely so depressing and stinky that being around her is HONESTLY upsetting your mental health? You have a right to say “nope, I respect myself, and love myself enough to take a break here.” That doesn’t make you selfish. It means you’re preserving your sanity to better serve yourself and others. That’s selfless.
– On the the other hand, know when to stay the course. Okay, so Ethel is depressing and stinky but still someone you want to be around. You’ve brainstormed ideas, and enthusiastically tried them….and got nothing. Well don’t give up! Brainstorm again, try again – if it is important, it’s worth round two. Were your last ideas focused more on what you like than what you both might like? “Blood Sport” might be your favorite Friday-night movie; 87 year old Ethel got heart palpitations from it. What are her interests? What are yours? Look for common elements, even if there are not a lot of surface similarities. Maybe her favorite hobby is crossword puzzles. Maybe yours is MMA. And you know what? That’s freaking excellent! Look up history relating to different styles of fighting, specifically in trivia form. Crossword types are traditionally pretty freaking sweet at trivia games, and it wouldn’t be hard to turn this into one. Think outside the box, because as I (sort of) said above, if you try something new, you get a new result – even if that something new is hearing your Aunt Ethel say she doesn’t want to play “MegaTriviaDeathExtreme!!!”, your new, homemade MMA-themed trivia game. I mean, just hearing her refuse that would be an entertaining experience. Come on.
-Which brings myself to a very important point: please don’t set yourself up for failure by assuming right off the bat that you will fail. It doesn’t matter how many other things you’ve already tried. It DOES matter what you bring to each new thing you try. Are you bringing it your all, happily, excitedly, with genuine curiosity? If you do, I guarantee you’ll eventually find something that works, and instead of getting discouraged by challenges that pop up, by staying enthused and open to the chance of succeeding, you’ll be in a better mental place to face them.
We all sometimes have a hard time with the responsibilities in our lives. But you can turn that hard time into a learning experience and adventure, if that’s what you want. Grow, change, expand – destroy the old and you make room for something awesome. Destroy your old ideas of what your responsibilities look like and make super-awesome, exciting new ones, while rejecting old burdens (so different from true responsibilities) that weigh down your Divine self.
Make a commitment (responsibility?) to yourself here and now to give up old burdens masking as necessities, and free yourself to find ways to make your duties a privilege. Because whether you agree with me or not, (either is okay) I view you as a totally Divine being. You are not committed to something unhealthy because of money spent/owed, family members you love, or restrictions imposed by others. You are free. You are free to let go, to destroy, to find and create healthy, balanced responsibilities in your life. Or not. This is yours.