How I Coached Myself Through Inner Conflict, Fear and Resistance to Write My First Blog Post
Hi there! Welcome! My first blog post, as you
can see, is a story about the process of what it took to actually do something I wanted to do - and didn’t want to do.
Perhaps as you read the title, you were curious, thinking, “Oh, I can relate to that”, or, “What’s the big deal? Just sit down and do it.” , or, “If there’s a part of you that doesn’t want to do it, just don’t do it.” , or maybe, “There are other things you can do that are way more important and help people more than writing a blog.” I have no idea what you were/are thinking, if anything... but those are some of the thoughts I’ve had for years. You may or may not care about writing blog posts, but maybe there’s something else that you’d like to do, and find yourself not doing. I’ll share how I've approached this, in hopes that, as you read, you will identify with something and it might help you sort out your own thoughts. It may even lead you, if you so desire, to do something a part of you wants to do- and doesn’t want to do.
So, what changed that enabled me to be willing to sit down and write - and publish this first post? (By the way, I am not into bullying myself to do things - or trying to convince others to do things they don't want to do either!).
The answer is, I was tired of discomfort, I became curious and I decided to mediate the internal conflict I was experiencing between two parts of me.
I have felt a niggling little voice that wants to write - irritating the heck out of me - for so long! It has felt like buzzing flies landing on the back of my neck, that just won’t leave me alone. Maybe they’d stop for a bit, then they’d start up again with that annoying buzz and tickle!
It bothered me that a part of me wanted to do something, and yet I just wasn’t doing it. You know the feeling? Well, I finally decided to gently, but firmly, put my foot down and take a deeper look at what was going on inside me around this issue.
There was clearly an inner conflict. One part wanted to write blog posts. Another part didn’t. It was as simple as that. There was a power struggle going on inside of me and one side was getting its way, over and over. So, ultimately, it was the desire for relief from this discomfort that made me want to look deeper. Honestly, I don't think it really matters whether I write or not. I did become curious, though...hmm... what will I find as I explore this?
Now, before I go further, I admit that there are other ways we can get relief from those bits of discomfort. We all have our favorites, whether it’s snacking on some chips, eating ice cream, having a few glasses of wine, cleaning, surfing the web, binge-watching Netflix shows, gambling, shopping, sex, or whatever. My favorite is watching Netflix. I love Netflix. :) There’s nothing wrong with avoiding discomfort - it's natural - and it has nothing to do with our worthiness or value as a human being.
The fact is though, that these are simply temporary fixes, moments of pleasure that will end soon. If I consistently choose the strategy of avoidance to deal with discomfort over and over again, I may not only develop some habits that may be harmful to my body and mind, but I may really miss out on something that my soul is longing for, that would really enrich my life, and may be a really enjoyable way to contribute to others.
So...out of curiosity and trust that these persistent little nigglings are trying to get my attention for a good reason, I decided to explore these two voices. I let the loudest voice, who I just named, Doubting Scaredy-cat - the one that has been getting its way - be heard first.
Here’s what I heard from Doubting Scaredy-cat:
• It’ll take too much time and I’ll have to overcome a myriad of fears and frustrations.
• I’ll probably be bombarded with obsessive, self-critical thoughts in the middle of the night after publishing a post.
• Maybe nobody will read it or give a shit. • There are plenty of others writing blogs and inspiring others, so why the
heck should I bother? • I’m already doing things that are emotionally challenging and bring up
these same things! You want me to do something else hard - and it’s not
even going to make us any money?! • It doesn’t really matter whether you do or don’t.
That last reason, I believe, is the key as to why it’s taken so long. If it doesn’t really matter, then why do it? What does that even mean, “Does it matter or not” ?? The question itself points to the fact that I wasn’t really in touch with my motivation to write.
I decided that I’m going to give that other voice a kind, empathic ear. I can do that. I’m
willing to listen to that voice without jumping in and saying, “yeah, but...”. I’m going to listen for what this part of me is longing for, values, wants... I named that voice, WRITER.
What I heard from WRITER:
• I’ve lived a bunch and learned a lot over the years. Sharing stories may be a really fun way for me to express myself, integrate what I’ve learned, and hopefully move and inspire others. And I love reading stories and strategies and practices - maybe someone will enjoy mine!
• Stories write themselves in my head on my daily hikes already! It feels like such a natural thing for me to do. It just happens. These are stories that I am excited about and make me feel alive and grateful. I want to share them! • So much of what has helped me in my life and career, I owe to what others
have written that I have applied - and continue to apply to my life and work, that perhaps I have something that may be of value to others that I can share through writing.
• I like making something out of nothing. • I feel energized and alive at the thought of sharing these stories.
Through giving this part of me a voice that has been wanting to write, I see some of the motivations, the core needs that I imagine would be fulfilled by writing. I enjoy seeing that! I also saw earlier, the concerns and fears that were making me resist doing it. The part of me that didn’t want to write, feels good about hearing the reasons why the other part of me wants to write. I really want to support both parts. Now we’re going to have a “conversation” between the two parts!
The WRITER, now referred to as W, has something to say to the DOUBTING SCAREDY-CAT, now referred to as DSC.
W: Let’s work together on this. I’ll make sure to listen to you, and we can come up with strategies that will help both of us have what we want. I will make sure to take your needs and concerns about time into consideration. How about if we limit the time we spend writing to two hours?
DSC: I’m OK with two hours... and if you need more time another day, it’s OK to ask, and we’ll just negotiate so both of us feel good about it. I have some other requests.
W: Ok, I’m listening. By the way, Thanks for being OK with the two hours and being flexible!
DSC: You’re welcome. :) In the beginning, let’s run the post by somebody supportive, who we trust to read it and who we know will be honest with us. If we start getting frustrated, let’s take a break.
W: OK, I like the idea of running it by somebody. It doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to change something because of what they say, though. As for taking a break, how about if we agree to relax, take a deep breath and keep writing through it, two times, and then we can take a 5-10 minute break if we get frustrated a third time.
DSC: OK. I’m good with that. I know you know how to help us relax... and that will help us let go and re-focus. Let’s see how it goes.
What about those self-critical thoughts? That’s really an issue. What I’d like to ask for, is that we agree that we don’t have to write anything “great”. That we just do something that’s good enough. That’s mediocre. And nothing too challenging or controversial in the beginning until we get used to this.
W: You know, I feel really good about that. It takes the pressure off. I think it will help me enjoy myself more, too. Good idea! I think that will help me stay motivated to keep going and generate more ideas. I’m sure a part of me will always think it could be better - I’m kind of just like that... but I’m willing to let it go and just do it.
I’m remembering you were also concerned about these things, too - “who gives a shit, why should I bother, does it matter, it’s emotionally challenging, and it’s not going to make any money”. I hear you. I’m curious - after hearing me tell you all the reasons why I want to write, do you still feel the same way?
DSC: My thoughts and feelings about it have shifted a bit after hearing how important this is for you. Especially significant and meaningful to me is that I heard you say that it feels exciting and natural, that you may actually enjoy it, and benefit personally from doing it, regardless of who is listening or not and what people think of it. So, as long as I remember this, and we both let go of what happens after you put something out there, I will feel better. I know it’s not a waste of time.
As for the money part, I can let go of that for now... you never know, it may lead to something in the future. At the moment, I see the value in this because I really get how much you want to do this - and we’ve agreed to that time limit, or to re-negotiate.
W: Yesss! Great!!! Thank you! It feels so good to get all of this out in the open! And not to be scared of each others’ reactions and actually come up with some strategies and agreements that we both feel good about.
DSC: I agree! Thank you !
So... there we have it. I wrote most of this by free writing in my journal first, which gives me a great sense of freedom from the “editor” and critical part of myself and did put a two hour time limit on myself for writing this. It feels good to honor that. I sent it to a close friend who happens to be a writer, and she gave me positive feedback and encouragement, which I am very grateful for. That said, I didn’t post it right away.
I still needed to create a blog page on my website but first was committed to getting my hike in yesterday afternoon. During the hike I had some other ideas about writing this as a conversation, so I “re-negotiated” with the DSC voice this morning, who was OK with W spending a little more time on this today.
You know what? I really had fun writing this! There is more I could have gotten into, including role-playing the conflicting parts to be more at odds with each other. Truth is, my Writer voice, was very much like a mediator today. After having studied mediation a number of years ago and learning how to mediate my internal conflicts, that voice has become more and more integrated in my head. So it is actually an honest version of how it played out, once I finally decided to listen! I'll tell you - that represents a lot of progress compared to parts of me that used to be so authoritative and demanding and shaming.
I hope you enjoyed reading. :) I will probably be writing quite a bit about doing things I’m scared of, overcoming resistance, and how to coach ourselves through life... Thank you so much for listening! I’ll be back next week!
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section!
In Peace, Jill