Recently I went out to dinner with a good friend who knows me well enough to read between the lines of what I am saying, and is forthright enough to directly call me out on my stuff. It’s a great combination.
As we caught each other up about everything that had happened (or not happened) during the past month, I launched into what had become my practiced response: “wellllll, nooooo That Thing hasn’t happened, but here is explanation X, Y, and Z that perfectly justifies why That Thing hasn’t happened yet for me.”
Here’s the deal: we all have “That Thing.” (In fact, we’ve probably all got several of them!) It’s the thing you feel like you want and/or need to do, but you just can’t seem to bring yourself to actually do it. Whether it is going to yoga, meditating, cooking yourself a healthy dinner, paying your bills, fixing a problem, or dating, it doesn’t matter — the way we approach/avoid That Thing seems to be pretty much universal.
Yup, I said it. Fear. Feer seems to be the reason we avoid doing That Thing. Sure, we’re all afraid of different stuff — vulnerability, rejection, scarcity, silence, failure, success, death — but the common denominator underlying our tendency toward inaction is fear. And justifiably so: listening to yourself and trying to fulfill your own needs can be really scary stuff, especially at first!
But but but…
If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a knack for coming up with really fantastic reasons why it’s “okay” that you haven’t taken the leap and done That Thing:
- I’m really busy, there just isn’t time.
- My astrologer said it’s not a great time for That Thing right now.
- If I do That Thing, then I might have to do All These Other Things, and I definitely don’t have the time for All These Other Things, so I probably shouldn’t do That Thing.
- It’s just not convenient right now, but definitely I’ll do it later.
- I would rather stay home and hang out in my pajamas.
And all of those excuses are rational and true, so it’s hard to argue. But at the end of the day, the reality is that you still haven’t done something for yourself that you wanted or needed to do, so it’s not like you’re “winning” by getting yourself out of doing That Thing!
Time To Do It
Sometimes we need a metaphorical swift kick in the ass to get us out of the “how can I get out of doing this thing?” mindset and into the “hey, this is something I want to do!” frame of mind. In my case, it came in the form of my friend saying:
You know all that fear stuff you talk about on your blog? Well, this is it! What I hear you saying is that you’re afraid. And it’s perfectly reasonable to be afraid, but you can’t let that stop you from trying. Even if it doesn’t work out, you’re going to be okay.
Dang, it’s hard to argue with that logic! And you know what? She was completely right.