We all have things we want to do in life. Places to go, people to see and dreams to be realized. But for some of us, there is a certain dread or anxiety that comes up when you’re ready to start. For others, we suddenly lose our motivation and believe that we don’t need it or don’t care anymore.
Some of us are lucky and are able to recognize our inability to act and then just blow the doors down by just trying, failing and improving until we reach success. But sometimes it’s not so simple.
Bulldozing yourself into action may actually precipitate even more disaster because there is something within that is totally out of sync with the rest of you. Plus you may be disrespecting yourself by forcing yourself to act. But by first honoring the issue within, you will then be able to take action in the future.
The two elements that can prevent you from taking action are thoughts and emotions.
Thoughts are approximations of reality. They aren’t reality. The things that play in our minds are often the words of our parents, peers and society about right versus wrong, things that have happened in the past to us or others and how to avoid problems and maximize benefits.
If you were to study the things your mind comes up with, most of the thoughts it comes up with aren’t true in the present moment. Things didn’t play out the way you thought they would, that person did something you didn’t anticipate and your reasoning about a topic was half-baked because you didn’t include enough variables when you came to your conclusion.
Thoughts aren’t very reliable. Intuition, on the other hand, is very reliable but that is a gut feeling and not a thought that originates from one’s mind. It’s important to know the difference because a thought will emerge from the mind and then one’s body reacts emotionally to the thought and then we make the mistake of calling that intuition.
Emotions are the second element that can block people from taking action because they are denser than thought but also because they endorse and support the thought. Emotions are so dense that they can completely obscure the thought that inspired them.
They also fool people into thinking that as long as they can get rid of how they feel, they can take action. Sometimes that may be enough but sometimes it isn’t. Emotions are obvious blocks but thoughts are so ethereal that we forget that thought is the first culprit.
If you observe anything around you, all of those things were first just a thought. Then people felt motivated to create the things and then they took action. If you aren’t able to take action, it’s because there is a thought or a feeling/emotion that is negative. By zeroing onto the thought or emotion and letting it go, that is when relief comes.
Here is the process:
1. Know what you want to do
Bear in mind that you may suddenly “forget” what you want or what you want to do. This is your mind trying to keep you safe by making you avoid the situation.
You know what you want. It’s the thing you’ve been thinking about for days, weeks, months and maybe even years. It’s the very reason you’re reading this post.
2. Be in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed
3. Ask yourself, “How do I feel about [the thing you want to do]” or “How do I feel about the thought regarding [the thing you want to do?]”
If you’re asking about how you feel, emotions will arise. If you’re asking about how you think, thoughts will arise. The benefit of focusing on emotions first, thoughts second is that if you deal with the emotions first, dealing with the thoughts later will be much easier.
Also, sometimes you may not have to deal with thoughts at all because you may have gotten rid of the thought at some earlier point in time but the emotion remained. Because it is denser, it is usually the greater impediment.
The benefit of focusing on thoughts first, emotions second is that if you are new to this process, it may be an easier introduction into the process. And when you see how effective the process is, you will then feel more comfortable tackling emotions thereafter.
Catastrophic thinking was something I was chronically guilty of. And letting go of that paved the way for a lot more action. So you are free to choose between starting with emotion or thought.
4. When the emotion arises, allow it to be there
You might feel some sensations throughout your body. Your body may shake or you might yawn. Regardless of what happens, just allow it to happen and allow the emotion to be there. Your body is letting go and expelling the emotion that is keeping you stuck.
Eventually you will stop feeling the emotion. At that point, repeat the question you asked and allow the emotion to come up and allow your body to react. The more you do this, the less emotion you will feel until you cease to react at all.
5. Address thoughts specifically
The steps above alleviate emotions as well as the emotions that prop up negative thoughts. But sometimes thoughts have to be replaced with more conducive and affirming thoughts.
With the negative emotions out of the way (after completing steps 1–4), explain to yourself why your inability to act is going to prevent you from living the life that you want. You will find that it is far easier to change how you think because there are no negative emotions holding you back.
You will also see that thoughts really have no power if you don’t believe in them. Once you can see how pointless a thought is or how useful a thought is, your emotions change and then your actions follow suit.
When one’s thoughts and emotions are moving in the same direction, action is the natural result. But if one’s thoughts or emotions are negative, action in a positive direction is impossible.
If we can be patient with ourselves and honor the elements within that prevent us from moving forward, we can finally start to change our lives for the better.
Or at the very least, we can finally take a chance without the fear that we will ruin our lives.