anxiety, blog, choice, expectation, stress

Latent Lollygagger: Harder than it looks

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my expectation of making things easy by doing them right. That if things are hard, I must not be doing them right.

I’ve discovered a twist in this story, one I didn’t see coming: I make things harder than they need to be.

Why yes, this means I’m ensuring my own demise!

If hard = wrong, and I make easy things hard, then I’m wrong all the time!

I’m pretty sure I’m in good company: by living in our own head about something, we become myopic, unable to see the larger picture, convinced that ours is the largest problem to solve.

If you’re like me, and you’re a planner, I’m guessing there’s a point at which the planning is done and yet you still try to look at things from one more angle, convince yourself that you’re not ready to have that conversation, ask for that thing, put yourself out there.

And, I’m guessing, if you’re like me, that once you do the hard thing, there is a great sense of relief that’s more connected with clearing the space in your brain and not having to think about the thing anymore, than with how the thing actually goes.

That space between being prepared and doing the thing is where I create a lot of my own anxiety. Where I make it hard. Where I fall for my reptilian brain interpreting fear as something to avoid at all costs instead of jumping into.

That fear makes me overthink. Makes me stall. Makes me think of work-arounds. Makes me think that the only reason I haven’t figured out a solution is because I haven’t thought about it enough yet.

That little lizard brain of mine doesn’t consider that maybe there’s no solution because either there is none, or because I need to do/say the thing in order for a solution to present itself.

No, no, no, I must not be ready to do/say the thing, because if I was ready, it wouldn’t be hard and scary.

Or, and this is especially true for me right now: maybe the solution is to wait. Maybe the waiting is a strategy, and not time to keep mulling something over, but part of the process that needs to happen. But, given the time to wait, what better thing to do that fill the space with overthinking and worrying and what-ifs and doubt?

Oh, I can think of a few better things. Turning to another project. Focusing on what’s in front of me instead of what might be someday. Taking a walk. Having a conversation. Writing about it.

Patience is not one of my virtues, so this is a challenge for me. I don’t want to become complacent. But the anxiety is exhausting, so perhaps it’s time to try something else.

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