Lately I’ve been noticing an interesting parallel amongst many of my clients. As grown-ups (quasi?…speaking for myself…) we often find ourselves in situations where we are stuck doing things that we don’t want to do. In those moments our brain rails against us:
I don’t want to do this……I shouldn’t have to do this….this is stupid…..this is a waste of my time…
When our brain goes on this tirade it’s incredibly difficult not to jump on this whiny bandwagon, throw our hands in the air, stamp our feet on the ground and throw some middle fingers whatever grown-up obligation affronts us.
Not only is this resistance an incredible waste of our energy it ignores the essential nature of life.
All things are yin and yang and there are always going to be things that we simply don’t want to do. It is during those moments when we can rise up as fully grown humans and accept that even when there are things we don’t want to do, we must simply accept that part of life and proceed anyway.
Whether we have set a lofty goal that requires us to show up, get out of bed early, or do things that we wouldn’t otherwise normally do, or when we find ourselves realizing that there are parts of our jobs that we simply detest (hello, fake deadlines, anyone?), they are all experiences confronting us with a very basic fact of life: there are always going to be things, parts of our jobs, people, activities, etc. that we simply don’t like or that we simply don’t want to do.
I, personally, would like to exercise my veto authority over recurring meetings that do not involve a matter of life or death.
The more we give attention to our objections, the larger and louder they grow and with that, the tension within us increases and our resistance grows stronger. All of those components combine to make it more and more difficult to simply follow through and show up for the adult parts of our lives. Never mind the mental and emotional toll this takes on our bodies and spirits.
In those moments I find it helpful to simply acknowledge the resistance and take ownership of the fact that there are things in our lives that we simply don’t want to do.
Rather than railing against ourselves and judging ourselves for not wanting to do it or making excuses to avoid doing it, what if we simply owned the fact that we don’t want to do it, that we don’t like doing it, and that we are struggling to follow through? In conjunction with that exploration what if we could simply ask ourselves to just do it despite the fact that we don’t want to?
In either case we are creating a habit — a habit of making excuses, guilting ourselves to action, showing up negatively, or giving up entirely OR a habit of following through despite our own resistance.
When we acknowledge that there are things in our lives that we simply don’t want to do but that we are willing to do them for reasons that matter to us, it calms the waters of resistance. When we acknowledge that there are things that we simply don’t want to do and that it’s okay to not want to do them, we can allow judgment to pass us by and we can stay present with our own reality.
There are always going to be things in our lives that we simply don’t want to do but we can make peace by acknowledging why it’s important for us to do them anyway and taking stock of our willingness to do things even when we don’t want to because it aligns with our higher purpose and intentions.
There is no need to judge ourselves for experiencing the normal yin and yang of life.
Rather, we can honor this human experience including all its goods and bads and recognize what we like and what we don’t like. In doing so, we can resolve to take ownership of what we are willing to do in furtherance of our larger goals and in alignment with our true intentions even when we don’t want to do those things. That is complete power and ownership over our lives and allows us to slip out of the victim mentality that often comes when we stew in those I don’t want to lines of thinking.
Set a goal and when it comes down to executing and your brain cries, I don’t want to….recognize that is not a sign that you need to stop. That is simply your biological discomfort with doing hard things. Then, do it anyway because it is in furtherance of who you want to be, accepting that we rarely want to do the hard work. The question is whether you are willing to.