The Words We Tell Ourselves

I don’t have time. There’s too much to do. I don’t deserve it.

Have you ever said those things to yourself?

Years ago, I was having a deep discussion with a friend about fun, spontaneity, and letting go of the need to set goals. We debated all the different things we do and why they all required us to focus on achieving some sort of goal.

She challenged me to think of an activity I could do that didn’t have a goal attached to it, and I couldn’t think of a single one. She prompted me – “Ok, you like to sit outside in the sun. What about that? There’s literally nothing to do…”…to which I confidently and somewhat smugly replied “The goal is to get a tan.”

She laughed, nodded her head, and deemed me a hopeless case.

I still remember that conversation every time I tell myself I don’t have time to stop.

For those of us who put a high value on productivity, slowing down and doing nothing is really hard. You may feel like it’s a waste of time, or that you have too much to do. You might even say you don’t deserve to take time off, especially if you haven’t made as much progress on something you are working on.

But is that really true?

Is it really true that you don’t have time?
Is it really true that the world will fall apart if you stop for a minute to take a breath?
Is it really true that you don’t deserve to recharge and do what your soul is calling for?

When you say you don’t have time or you don’t deserve to take an afternoon off to wander through local shops, or a few hours to relax with a book, or a week to unwind and recharge, what is really behind that?

Who is telling you what you’re allowed and not allowed to do? If you’re self-employed, isn’t that person really you?

And who gives YOU the right to tell YOU what you do and don’t deserve?

That inner voice that tells you you’re not doing enough, aren’t far enough along, aren’t good enough… etc… etc… etc… is usually an indication of something bigger, and it pretty much always comes down to some sort of resistance or fear.

But either way, it will absolutely suck the life out of anything you set out to do. And if you’re a slave to that voice, all you’ve done is created a new job for yourself with a different (imaginary) boss than the one you had before.

The kicker is, when we step back and give ourselves time to reflect on things and relax, we actually end up being more productive, because we’re thinking more clearly and we’re allowing ourselves to be more creative with solutions.

Let’s be real. If you have a looming deadline to meet, then sure, you probably shouldn’t take a week off and head to Bali. But what’s a few hours in the big scope of things? And if a few hours really isn’t possible, how about stepping outside for 15 minutes and taking a big breath of fresh air? Or play with your dog? Or send a note to a friend?

So yes, you can be more successful if you allow things to happen in that sense. Give yourself that breathing room to allow things to percolate, then act on what comes up and truly resonates. Rinse and repeat. Work on telling yourself “yes” and “I can” a little more often. Give yourself permission.

Just take baby steps. Invite a little ease and space into your day. Do one small thing to support that. Then another the next day, then another.

And yes, I still stand behind my theory that there is always going to be a goal, no matter what we do. Just be sure that at least some of those goals are ones that light YOU up,.

Now – what words will you tell yourself today?