Ever felt like you’re making progress on something only to find yourself right back exactly where you started? Like you’re trying to make a decision about something and you talk yourself all the pros and cons and finally feel like you can move forward. And then you get home that night and … there you are again feeling anxious, unsure and back in the loop of indecision?
Or maybe it’s something bigger. Like you keep saying you need to find yourself a new job. You’re not happy where you are and you know that you could feel more passionate and alive if only you took that jump… And so you feel alive just thinking about the dream, what that new job could look like, how it would feel to hand in your resignation… And then you get home that night, go to bed, wake up the next day and keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing. Nothing changes. You’re going around and around in circles. Even though you know things could be different you somehow just can’t make that change.
Why is it that we keep doing this to ourselves? Some kind of strange reasoning process that kicks in and says “maybe now is not the right time” “What if I just do it one more time”. We convince ourselves to just keep going regardless of how we are feeling throughout that process.
There is so much going on beneath the surface. Sometimes we can be super aware of it, and still make that conscious choice to keep going. And at other times we don’t even know when, how, and why we immediately pull back. We stop ourselves before we can even consider making a move.
Here’s the deal, our brains are wired to protect us. Which means if we’re not paying careful attention, at any chance it gets the wiring and chemistry that is going on inside your brain will automatically protect you no matter what. It’s not pausing long enough to ask, yes but what if it makes me feel alive? It just knows that you must feel safe, comforted and protected. And sometimes this is so incredibly valuable for us. Like that feeling you get when you just don’t want to walk home in the dark by yourself. Your instincts are keeping you safe. But what about the thought of resigning from your job? Do you really need to be kept comfortable in that moment?
What if for a moment you felt uncomfortable but knew with certainty that once you’d moved through the uncomfort that feeling of coming alive again was on the other side? Would it be worth it?
The reason you’re going round and round in circles is because your auto responses right now are keeping you safe. Even though you don’t like your job, or you don’t want to say yes to that friend that keeps asking you out when you just want to stay at home on the couch, or you just want to put yourself first for once – you get a feeling of familiarity by doing the same thing over and over again. Going out with that friend – you know what you’re going to get. It’s safe. Comfortable. Even if yo udon’t like it. Staying in a job you don’t like, that is stressing you out or just not lighting you up – you know what to expect every single day. You may feel disaspoointment but at least you know what that feels like.
Sounds crazy but it’s completely true.
Now think about the last thing in your life you made happen that felt amzing, or simply put you first, or gave you that feeling of energy and excitement like you’re a kid with a double scoop ice-cream in a waffle cone…
How did you decide to do that thing? At that exact point of decision, what made it possible for you to say YES? The distinction: desire. Your desire for the ‘thing’ was big enough to pull you away from your level of comfort. You were wiling to make the leap. You were willing ot book the holiday because you had enough certainty that even if it felt uncomfortable telling your boss you need to take annual leave, or that you just wiped out your savings account – both feelings you may not like – yet you knew the feeling you would get from following yoru desire.
So how can you apply this same strategy to your merry-go-round in your life right now?
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