How do you feel when you’re purposefully “doing nothing”? Are you even able to?
Interestingly, this is a common theme that seems to be prevalent amongst my clients as well as myself of late.
My own old programming was that taking action is good, whilst inaction means I’m doomed to failure.
Maybe you can relate?
For me the roots of this particular belief go way back.
Growing up, my dad had a problem with anyone in my family being “idle”. We were always chastised and sometimes punished if we weren’t doing something that he deemed as productive when he was close enough to observe us.
Luckily that wasn’t often – but that’s a different story…
But we can’t lay all the blame at the feet of our parents, can we.
Society dictates that personal success is the result of hard work and long hours of slogging away at whatever it is we choose as our means to an end, right?
It’s therefore not a big surprise that most of us battle an internal narrative of judgement whenever we spend time in stillness (aka doing nothing).
Me? I go straight into my head trying to justify why it’s okay to take time to be still.
Sometimes I can convince myself, sometimes not.
It seems 4 decades of feeling validated by “being productive” is not that easy to shift or let go of.
I’ve had to accept that it’s a process of slowly unpacking the resistant feelings or thoughts as they show up.
Which means questioning the old beliefs. Like:
How do I measure “success” ?
How have my values changed over the years and are they still valid against my current set of beliefs?
There’s no gold standard here chaps, no “one-size-fits-all”.
We all have our own truths based on our current set of beliefs and values. And we’re entitled to those.
Personally, I’ve discovered that my belief system no longer supports the idea of seeking validation from anything I do or don’t do.
I believe in my own (and everyone else’s) innate value as a soul, irrespective of any physical actions we choose to indulge in (or not).
Which means I believe we’re valuable no matter what choices we make.
The human experience is about making choices to create experiences – some comfortable, some not so much.
Remember, it’s how we respond to those experiences that determines how much we grow from each event.
That said, for now I’m determinedly practicing the art of doing nothing – on purpose – and learning to be okay with that.
Without judgement or inner conflict.
And it’s a gradual process.
Re-wiring my thought process after 4 decades of being anchored in an old (and very limiting) belief takes time, which means practicing patience with myself and taking baby-steps.
Being still is a choice too.
Creating space for focused observation in the moment, noticing our immediate surroundings, paying attention to our inner narrative and practicing true acceptance of ourselves and the world as it exists around us.
How can that ever be wrong? Right?
It’s simple really…