We can be our own best friends and worst enemies all rolled up into one messy little ball and I find it fascinating, frustrating, horrifying and wonderful all at the same time. When we have the courage, we can do amazing things and push ourselves beyond our wildest dreams but when we feel scared, we can shrink back from things we’ve done before and hide ourselves away.
I was away last weekend at a One of Many retreat and if you haven’t been to one, they’re incredibly emotional, two day events where you not only dig up a load of your emotional crap but you then get to decide how you’re going to take action on it.
For me, it was a lot of stuff around accountability with money. I soon realised how far this spread in other areas of my life too. I am aware that I have a tendency to go through life thinking or say “it’ll be fine, whatever happens is for a reason” but not really doing that much.
I mean, I do obviously take action but I know there is more action to take if I could get over the fear of being seen and vulnerable. We talked about vulnerability at the weekend and I realised that if I was going to be holding myself accountable, I need to get vulnerable. I need to get past the discomfort of feeling shame and guilt about how I spend money to look at it in detail. This is the only way I’m going to be able to take control and start making a change.
The thing is, it’s going to be uncomfortable and why would I want to be uncomfortable when I can look away, put my fingers in my ears and ignore it. So the conversation in my head goes a bit like this:
“This is how things are going to be better”
“Ugh, but it’s going to be painful.”
“That’s ok, you’ve done painful things before.”
“Yeah, and I know how it feels, I don’t want to feel like that again.”
“You can handle it, you’re strong enough.”
“What if I’m not.”
“Just do it and see.”
I mean, it’s way longer than that and often with more swear words and impatience but you get the idea!
With any time of change or motion, there will be some discomfort. We’ve got to change states slightly when we’ve got comfortable where we are and that’s hard for our cave-brain to handle. It craves comfort and stability because that’s what keeps us safe so when we change things, it gets panicky and tries to stop us.
We don’t live in caves anymore and the world is a much safer place than it was then. Well, not for everyone but relatively speaking, it’s easier for most of us to find shelter, food and warmth when we need them, so we now look towards what makes us happy.
To do that, we need to look at what has to change in order for us to be happier. Sometimes it’s internal changes, sometimes it’s our environment. But we have to trust that we can do these things otherwise nothing will change.
I trust that I can get through (what feels like) the torture of looking at every detail of my spending for the last few months so I can see what needs to change. I know that I’m in no physical danger doing that, but it’s going to cause me some emotional pain. I started yesterday and I can see it’s also going to take me ages! But that’s ok, one step at a time.
We can make things easier on ourselves too by breaking down huge tasks into smaller, less painful steps. This means that we can build some momentum and show that we can do tough things a little at a time. You wouldn’t try to walk 500 miles in one day, so why would you make a mammoth task even harder by trying to do it all at once?
Break it down into sections so if you have a wobble, you can stop where you are and take a breath until you’re ready to move onto the next one.
And most importantly, trust yourself to know what the steps are and when to take them.
PS If you haven’t come across One of Many, check them out here https://oneofmany.co.uk/