I could hear it the moment I got on the phone with her. Her breathing was distressed. Her voice was strained.
I feel like such a bad business owner. I feel like there’s more I should be doing to push the business forward, get more clients and make more money. But all I want to do is lie down, sleep and rest. I’m not getting anything done and I feel really ashamed. And at the same time I just can’t seem to “make” myself do what I am supposed to do. Maybe I need more clarity? Another plan?
It was time for our weekly session and my client was giving me the run-down on what her last two weeks had been like.
It was not the first time I had heard these exact words come out of someone’s mouth. I’ve heard it by now, probably about 200 times. It’s a very common feeling and conundrum we get ourselves into.
Most of the time when you’re stuck in this, you think you need “another plan” or even though you have a plan, suddenly feeling unmotivated makes you feel like your plan needs to be different or it’s not good enough. So you go and pay some other expert to give you a different plan. Or you buy a book that tells you all about another plan. Or how you should be doing things. Or how the most successful people in the world do things this specific way. And then you get stuck in creating a million more plans and strategies, but somehow you still can’t get yourself to “do” what you’re “supposed to be doing”.
You look around and everyone seems to be so much more motivated than you or to have it more together than you. You start to feel ashamed that all you did that day was sleep in late and read a book because it was all you felt like doing and then you feel like crap.
Now, there is such a thing as self-sabotage. And self sabotage CAN look like knowing what you’re supposed to do and not doing it. I see it happen all the time. We tend to self sabotage especially when we are on the cusp of doing something that is really going to get us into alignment with our soul, when we are on the cusp of stepping into the person we know we are truly called here to be.
The ego likes comfort and so it will do whatever it can to get you to stay the same. Often this looks like bingeing on Netflix, doing everything BUT what you’re supposed to be doing to move things along and getting distracted by other pointless things.
But sometimes there’s a wisdom to that resistance you are feeling. In fact, I think resistance is not something to try to demolish or get rid of. I think it’s something to get really curious about.
What message does this resistance have for me?
Is the resistance truly because I’m self sabotaging?
Or is the resistance there because I’m out of alignment?
Or is it there because I actually need space right now to not make any decisions at all?
A long time ago I was working with a client who was going through a very stressful situation in her life. When we got on the phone for our session, she guiltily confessed to me that she, a woman who taught women how to eat healthily, had spent two days eating more brownies than she normally would eat. She was stressed out, emotionally devastated and even though she knew all the techniques, she still ate more brownies than “she should”.
My response to her?
Sometimes you just need to eat the brownies for 2 days.
Sometimes you just need to eat the brownies to get through the day, love. Sometimes you just need to take that job “just for the money” to experience how shitty it felt to do something just for the money. Sometimes you aren’t in resistance or self-sabotaging at all. Sometimes your resistance is your soul asking you for some space.
Look around at nature–it has cycles. Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. We are part of nature. We go through cycles too. There is a time for fallowness and doing nothing. There is a time for action. There is a time for rebirth and creativity and there is a time for play.
As I told my client who was on the phone with me, feeling ashamed over “not doing what she was supposed to be doing”, maybe there is wisdom in this resistance to “doing”? When we checked in with her soul, that was indeed true for her.
She had just been through a major life transition and had left a big part of her old life behind. Her body was catching up with the quantum leap it had made. It needed rest and time to do “nothing”.
But most of the time, when we feel this way, we feel we “should be” doing something. So we still “do nothing” but we spend the entire time we are doing nothing feeling guilty about it and beating ourselves up. So your body, who was asking for rest, doesn’t actually get the rest She was needing and keeps asking for rest until she gets it. That turns into two weeks or a month of doing nothing. Your guilt and your shame just prolongs it.
My “homework” for my client was simple: great. Then really, really do nothing for as long as your soul asks it of you. Your soul just wants to play and go to the beach? Do ONLY that. You have permission to not feel guilty. Go for it. No “doing” or “work” allowed.
She did just that. She was afraid at first. She thought it would turn into 2 more weeks of going to the beach and doing nothing, and then that would lead to her entire business collapsing. But instead, within just a few days, she was full of new, creative ideas and naturally, easefully sprung back into action, feeling aligned.
Sometimes there is a wisdom to your resistance. Sometimes the answer is not more plans and more busy work, sometimes the answer comes when you’re allowing yourself to do nothing but stare out at the view from your balcony for an entire day.
Sometimes the exact thing you need to do to get into aligned, creative action is to actually do absolutely nothing. Sometimes what you need is more unadulterated, unashamed space.
How about you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below if this resonated with you!