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What if you're not behind?

Message 22 January, 2021

Dear Guest,

What if the idea that you are "behind" on anything is just something people say? Merely words that, when you string them together, sound like a compelling idea?

Maybe it wouldn’t be nearly as compelling if we understood that this idea comes from the part of our brain that is obsessed with fear. We are afraid of getting behind in our careers, in our fitness, in our retirement savings, in our relationship goals, in stocking our pantries and doing the dishes and laundry and scrubbing the floors and skincare routines.

And I have to confess that as I'm writing this very message on how being “behind” is just a thing we say, I feel rushed and stressed because I think I'm a little behind on the publishing deadline I set for myself.

Interestingly, the same part of the human brain that creates the fear of being behind also wants us to conserve calories. So it keeps telling us to do the same things - worry, blame ourselves for lagging behind, sleep too little, drink too much coffee to wake up, drink too much wine to slow down, run around frantically, and exhaust ourselves trying to get all the things done all the time.

Because repetition saves precious calories, our brains tell us that somehow these same thoughts and behaviors, repeated over and over, will magically help us get ahead in the future. 

And it's afraid that, if we dare to make different choices, not only will we waste calories, but we will be criticized by the people around us. The brain actually interprets criticism as danger. So obviously, we can’t try new things and we can't ask somebody else for help, just in case it doesn’t go well. 

Your brain is kind of a jerk that way. Mine is too. 

What if there is no such thing as "behind?" 

What if you instead decide to focus your energy on seeing possibilities? Is that within your reach at this moment in time? If not, that’s OK. Can you just about see it, though? 

Can you see that maybe the best investment you can make is learning to see possibilities? To believe it's possible to break the cycle of frantic action. Possible to notice the thoughts and feelings and habits you have right now, so you can decide how you prefer to think and act instead.

What if you could give yourself permission to recognize the things you really do want, without thinking you are behind on anything? To think with intention, so you can stop wildly grasping all the other ideas that are keeping you stuck in that hamster wheel.

What if, instead of fearing the criticism that will come from your brother or sister or auntie, you believe it's possible to feel the criticism and reach for the things you want anyway? 

What if you stop listening to all the voices telling you you’re behind (especially if it’s your own voice)? Instead, look for the possibilities around you. 

In the next message, I’m going to talk about self-care, and why our conventional thinking about it is really holding us back.

Please let me know if you can relate to this, or if you have any thoughts or  questions, by leaving a comment here.

Kay Coughlin

P.S. Need some help looking for the possibilities that are hiding in your own brain? Grab my free "Thought Download Cheet Sheet" here.


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