Self-Reminder: You're not procrastinating, you're just afraid. Face It!!
A couple of days ago was my bestfriend's birthday and as I was writing her letter I decided that I wanted to make her a card not just buy it or give her just a sheet of paper, I forgot though, that I wasn't that good at painting.
So when I sat down to start it and looked up some paintings on Tumblr, I completely broke down and started procrastinating it for a whole week, until the night before, when I realized that I haven't done anything yet, I started stressing out, giving myself that you're-a-failure-good-at-nothing kind of talk .
And as I was one inch away from giving up and give her the letter in my usual white, boring paper, I stopped for a minute, took a breath, and had a monologue that went something like this:
what, what is it? It is such a creative idea why don't you wanna do it?
I'm horrible at painting, I will screw everything up and feel bad again like everytime I fail at something.
yes you're not that good at painting because you're a beginner, but what's the worst thing that could happen? why don't you just freaking hold the brush and try, how could you know if you'll screw it up or not if you don't try? If it turns out absolutely horrible, we'll find something else, and anyway she's your bestfriend, she won't judge you and she'll at least appreciate the effort, that's the whole point!!!
With that said, I found a beautiful painting of flowers -the easiest I could find- and tried imitating it, first on draft then on the main card. Well it didn't turn out GREAT but the flowers still looked like proper flowers. She liked it... I guess ;p
It wasn't completely finished here yet.
Procrastination, lack of self-confidence, boredom, anger, stress... these are all terms we hear a lot nowadays; after long self-reflections and deep digging into feelings, I came to believe that these are all disguises of the one and only...
So what I've been practicing lately is undressing it, like a barbie doll then asking : what is it that you're afraid of?
Fear of rejection, fear of not being enough, fear of not being perfect, fear of loosing things and people, fear of failure, fear of criticisim...?!!
I also noticed that this fear comes from the non-sense assumptions and the dramatic stories we, ourselves make up and invent, believe in and then keep suffocationg ourselves with, things like: " They'll probably laugh at my opinion, so I'd rather stay quiet and boring. She probably hates me now so there's no point in starting the conversation and clear it up. I'll probably make a mess of this cake so I'd rather not try at all and give up on improving my baking skills .He'll probably hate this gift so I'd rather not give it to him and not strenghten our relationship. They're probably bored of this article so I'd rath-WHAT, HOW DARE YOU GET BORED? STAY WITH ME!!
FOR GOD'S SAKE, STOP TAKING YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY!! STOP PRETENDING THAT YOU CAN READ PEOPLE'S MINDS AND PREDICT THE FUTURE, ACCEPT IT: YOU CAN'T!!!!!
It seems like we're always acting like we know the future -with our excpectations and assumptions-, well we don't, and yet do
we manage to let this illusion lock us up inside high walls, narrowing both our possibilities and our vision of life and mostly violiating our right for freedom and for deliberate expression and creativity.
Now I don't think it is possible to choose going completely fearless and not have doubts at all, actually, fear is important (it can save your life sometimes), but I believe that it is humanly possible to walk through that fear and do amazing things even if adrenaline is rising up in your body, your heart is racing and your hands are shaking, all from fear , the proof is that you may be in the Carribeans now and reading a moroccan lady's opinion on fear. If humans didn't conquer fear, we would still be lightning fire with rocks and communicating with its smoke.
Before you get too excited, I'm not offering you a solution to radically conquer fear in this post, it's more of an invitation to listen to yourself and know the real reason behind you being stuck somewhere you don't belong, an invitation to take a moment and realize that most of the time our fears are built up from nothing, most of the time we don't have any precised data to prove that the things we fear are likely to happen in the future.
So next time you feel like shutting down a sparkle that ignited in you, next time you feel like your body is doing something against your will (like procrastination, laziness or anxiety etc...) , don't be too hard on yourself, instead, take a moment and realize that that`s your body and mind`s way to ask for your attention, so give it, show a little empathy and understanding towards yourself then take off all of those disguises fear has decided to wear and just name it: FEAR.
Then ask yourself this:
- What is it that you`re afraid of? (be honest with yourself and shamelessly put your finger on the precise reason of your fear, and I promise, most of the time you`ll laugh at how mundane and ridiculous these reasons are, it was just waiting for you to dare and look at it, to face it !!)
- Why are you afraid of that? Where did this fear come from? (be empathic and gentle towards yourself, maybe this fear comes from a previous experience or just a lack of safety... name it.)
- AND what`s the worst thing that could happen? (dig deeper, just open your mind widely and imagine the worst scenario that could happen, that`s one big leap towards not letting your fears paralyze you.)
On Friday's post, inchaAllah we'll see this topic from a scientific perspective and take some practical ways to live life beyond fear, instead of being paralyzed by it.
To be continued....
Also, I won't be able to express fear better than Vincent van Gogh in this short extrait from his letters to his brother :