anxiety, blog, cognitive dissonance, expectation, Judgment

Latent Lollygagger: Take it Easy

“Maybe I have an expectation that if only I do things right, then things will be easier… and the converse therefore is true, if things are hard then I’m not doing something right.”

I wrote this in my nightly journal last week, and I immediately starred the page and wrote BLOG in the corner, so that I’d return to this idea this morning.

The insight came after writing that I didn’t feel as relieved as I expected after a couple of conversations and interactions I’d had, coupled with the announcement of impeachment inquiry. The wave of relief after “doing something right” didn’t come, and so the precipitating events seemed anticlimactic.

If things are hard, then I’m not doing something right.

Writing it again absolutely makes this sound nuts, right? Like, I think I can control everything? That life is supposed to be easy?

Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

But I have this logic equation buried somewhere in my brain that says right = easy, wrong = hard; therefore, if life = hard then Erin = wrong.

There is no way to have this equation serve me. It puts pressure on me to have agency over a crazy world totally out of my control. It gives me no patience to deal with that crazy world that doesn’t fit into my controlled environment (cue the irritated “Why would you DO that?!” reaction).

And it makes doing hard things even harder because I equate them with somehow being wrong.

I think about it in terms of a running workout: the entire point is to get to where it’s hard, because that’s where fitness breakthroughs happen. Going for a slow jog every day may be easy and fun and luxurious, but at a certain point it will be really hard to get any better as a runner without running a little faster than I think I can. We set up controlled environments in which to hurt, in order to train the body and mind that it’s okay to hurt.

But I’ve had moments in races and workouts where the equation pops into my head, and I can convince myself I shouldn’t even bother pushing anymore because it feels terrible so I must suck. It can override everything.

Is this mindset what can convince me that if editing is hard then my book must be wrong? That if having a difficult conversation is wrong, then I shouldn’t have it? That if asking for what I want is hard, then it’s wrong to do it?

You can see where this logic would result in a pretty boring, lackluster life.

I’d like to disconnect the idea that right = easy and hard = wrong.

Instead, I’d like that equation to be, hard = pushing out against my edge in order to grow. Hard = a chance to learn. Hard = where the good stuff in life happens.

2 thoughts on “Latent Lollygagger: Take it Easy”

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