(picture by Andrew)
A couple of days ago, I was having a conversation with a reader I know.
I don’t know all of you, but I know some of you. Via comments, emails, the occasional coaching session. Sure, you may have more information about me, but don’t think for a second that I do not know you.
We know each other.
And I know what you are like. What your potential pit falls are. Because they’re mine too.
So, me and this reader.
Me and her were talking about all the shit we (think we) have to do.
How we force ourselves to do all these things. Because they’re good for us. And our lives. That means we HAVE to do them, right?
We HAVE to exercise and we CAN’T watch too much TV. We HAVE to eat healthy, and we CAN’T have too much sugar. We HAVE to be productive, we are NOT ALLOWED to waste time on frivolous or unfruitful things.
Our conversation reminded me of two things:
One, a favourite Danielle LaPorte quote from her blog and the Desire map.
“I worked with a TV producer once who prided herself on being disciplined. “I get up every morning at 5am to run,” she told me over dinner. “I hate it, but it needs to be done.”
And she went on to explain that for Lent, she gave up swearing and hadn’t cussed in four years, (“Even though it would feel sooo good to just say the F word sometimes!”).
The following Lent, she swore off soda pop and hadn’t had so much as a sip for three years, (“Even though a Coke with these tacos would be grrreat!”)
“Well that sounds like a whole lotta of fucking fun.” I said to her. And I asked the waiter to bring me a Coke.
Here’s the thing: As hard-wired achievement-bots, many of us subscribe to systems of success that actually become blockages to our instincts.”
(If I can choose which one of these two women to be, I’ll take Coke ordering, cursing Danielle LaPorte any day of the week.)
And second, it reminded me of this old article of mine.
“The deepest part of you is something that doesn’t need to be altered. It’s from that place that you can grow or improve, sure, but that basic inner thing is perfect as it is.
I decided to go back to that. I had a week off and I decided to completely cut the whole “I have to”-sentence out of my vocabulary. I decided to not do anything about anything. Because actually, I don’t have to do anything. I am my own self-assigned drill sergeant, and I fucking fired myself in that department.
Instead, I just did whatever I fucking pleased. (A+ 10/10 highly recommend)“
I wrote this article while I was feeling like shit (worse than what I shared online during that time) and had done all the ‘I have to exercise/eat healthy/write/be grateful’-schpiels to death, and it did not help.
Because it was not what I needed at that time. It was not what my soul needed at the time.
Just like it was not what this reader needed right now. Not for me to tell her what to do, not for anyone else to tell her what to do and most importantly, not for herself to make herself do all these things.
I told her “you need to call in a period where you literally don’t have to do a-ny-thing. Not a thing. Just do whatever you fucking feel like.”
I believe you need to trust yourself, and that the moment all the things that you make yourself do make you severely unhappy, you need to stop. That feeling is a signal, and you should listen to it.
Your basic instinct is kicking in, trying to save your soul.
Trust yourself. The things you think you have to do are self imposed. Nobody is holding a gun to your head. Don’t make yourself adhere to all these rules (all the time) if they make you unhappy.
You don’t have to do anything. You can relax, go with the flow, just do whatever you fucking feel like. That’s good for the soul too, and we need to remember that.
And in these times where we just see productivity and discipline all around us, I thought you could use that reminder.