Yesterday’s post looked at taking action from the beginning point of first getting clear then observing the language we use around our statements of intent and in general conversation.
Today I’d like to look at the actual doing bit of taking action and any fear that may arise and cause self sabotage. What can you do today, now if possible, to begin, to make a start? If there’s confusion or a blank then maybe research is needed through an online search or book purchase in order to outline a plan, this can be fun and energising. Or the confusion could be an indication that the actual thought of taking action now is a shock. Your language around your intent will give you a clue as to which; if the language has been vague or contains words that indicate lack or failure then that action may never get taken or it will be half hearted. Of necessity here I am condensing a large subject into a couple of small posts but I hope that if you have been struggling with feeling stuck it provides a starting point. (I’m also available online in a therapist/coach capacity if you feel very stuck!)
Before I outline an exercise for releasing fear specifically related to taking action I want to say a little more about language. Our self talk is one way of keeping the potential swirling mass of emotion at bay around certain aspects of our life. One key to accessing exactly what is going on is through our use of language or specific wording, there are several ways of doing this, methods that use questions for instance, but in this post I am continuing with yesterday’s subject. This involves no questions just statements. We can use, as illustrated yesterday, statements in a different way to make our intentions more clear and positive but we can also use this to elicit emotions that may be a barrier to what we wish to have. For instance I mentioned vagueness yesterday, if we change to being specific we get more real with our self.
Let’s take being peaceful as an example; if you were going through a period of anxiety, stress or overwhelm and wished for something different the kind of wording that would most likely come up around being peaceful would be “I want to be peaceful” or “I need more peace in my life”. As mentioned yesterday this does nothing, merely re-enforces the lack of peacefulness at this time. Say these two statements out loud and see how it feels for yourself – don’t just take my word for it!
Now play around with the following statements and see what happens. “I choose to be peaceful”. “I choose my peace/my peacefulness”. ” I have my peace/my peacefulness”. These statements not only make your subconscious mind search for the peacefulness that is already there but if it’s so deeply buried it can’t be found a response or reaction to the above will make itself felt, this response will be a clue as to why the peacefulness can’t be found. Why is this? The reason is that you, first of all are making a choice, introducing the idea of possibility, but then by inserting the word “my” you are taking ownership of your own unique experience and inherent knowing of peace. You have gotten very specific and your internal self has to react. It will react with a lessening of tension, with relief or with painful feelings. Whatever reaction you experience is good as it brings you closer to your authentic self. Play around with these types of wording with something that is personal to you right now, with the key emphasis on specificity.
Another example of vagueness and one that covers up deep emotion is the use of what could be termed grandiose wording. I use the following examples to illustrate this but of course this could be applicable to any personal subject, what may be causing distress, discomfort or is a question to you right now? The examples are – “I want to help everyone”. ” I want to find my purpose and serve the world/humanity/the light etc.” These statements are actually quite empty as there is nothing for the subconscious mind to hook onto – in other words, the statement is made and does not quite register as a statement of intent, it disappears. Yet these, on the surface are of course legitimate concerns, who wouldn’t want to know that they were on purpose and being of help or service? I have observed over the years, decades even, sadly, that people who make the above assertions regularly never find out what that purpose is or what form of help is needed. If the wording and intent become extremely specific then not only does purpose and unique skills become apparent but instead of asking what your purpose is you find you are actually doing it.
Perhaps by playing around with language some feelings have arison, if fear is present about a goal that you have then try the following simple exercise as a way of directly contacting the fear and through the following way of working through it come to a place of knowing about what action is needed.
Heart based exercise for processing fear around taking action:
- Take a couple of deep breaths and place your hand on your heart – this brings attention into the heart and body.
- Focus your attention in the present moment
- As you think about your intention/desire ask – “what am I afraid of?”
- Continue to direct the questioning to your heart as you ask – “if I weren’t afraid what would I do”?
- This allows the heart to respond to you as you move through the fear. What this means is as you allow yourself to feel and breathe through the fear, the innate wisdom or knowing that is within you will provide answers.
- Make a note of these answers as soon as this exercise is completed and from this determine what your first action step, today, will be.
- No matter how small, take some form of action everyday if possible and imagine what can be achieved by this incremental movement towards your intent.
- When fear arises, or any emotion, repeat the above exercise or first acknowledge the emotion and release it. Again resist the impulse to push the emotion away or ignore it – this denial of what’s there is what has caused the non-action in the first place!