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Latent Lollygagger: Paradox

It’s been (checks calendar) two months since my last blog post. It’s been two weeks since the first weekend of the month, when my newsletter usually goes out.

On one hand, I want to give myself a break, tell myself the only person who sets any sort of expectation on these things is myself, that it doesn’t really “matter” in the big picture. I’m not saving lives or holding anything up by not posting. Two weeks, two months, whatever.

On the other hand, what good are goals for myself if I easily push them aside? I want to write, I enjoy it, I know that a practice keeps me improving and stoking my creativity, it’s challenging and fulfilling.

It’s like trying to figure out if I feel exhausted from actual exhaustion and need a break, or if I’m feel exhausted from depression and need to put myself in motion to turn the momentum around.

(This previous analogy brought to you by the two naps I took on Tuesday.)

Really, how can you tell the difference? I want to know. Seriously.

And what made it possible for me, tonight, to actually open a blank document and start writing?

I’ve come to realize that, when a goal becomes hard to reach, when a routine becomes hard to stick to, it’s not because I’m a failure or a terrible person or there’s something wrong with me.

Dramatic, I know.

My brain is apparently like a teenager yelling at mom: “I hate you, leave me alone, I never want to talk to you again.”

My brain definitely likes to throw many words at me: should, wrong, just, only,

What’s wrong with you, it isn’t that hard, you should just be able to find only twenty minutes once every week to blog.

The thing is, instead of being inspired to find twenty minutes in response to this lecture, I’m convinced I need to argue with my brain, tell it how that’s not true, insist that I’ll find the time (look, here it is on my calendar).

If all I’m doing is fighting my brain, then I have zero room for anything else. And no wonder I feel exhausted.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that by not believing my brain, by letting myself ride the wave and not feel bad about myself, actually makes more space to do the thing, to find creativity and motivation.

Giving myself a break doesn’t mean calling it in, giving up. It means giving myself the care and space to recognize that my brain isn’t right, that I don’t have to argue with it, and that I can get on with what I want to do. I can’t fight the waves of exhaustion, but I can help myself not add to it.

Like with most paradoxes: both hands I described above, are true at the same time.

I can give myself a break and push myself along. I can be exhausted for all sorts of reasons, equally valid, and overlapping.

Paradoxes can’t be solved by overthinking them. In my case, allowing all possibilities to potentially be true, gives me both freedom and motivation.

1 thought on “Latent Lollygagger: Paradox”

  1. The podcast Hidden Brain has a good episode called “Being kind to yourself”. It’s a bit wordy but if I recall correctly the last 20 min has the message. But it’s only an hour so that’s a jog. The premise is to get your critical self to collaborate with your compassionate self.

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