Hello everyone. I hope you are coping well as we trudge through these last few weeks of winter. Saying goodbye to the cold February weather was a boost for all of us here in the midwest USA and colder climate areas! But this new wave of snow is making March harder than many of us anticipated I think. For me, in addition to cabin fever, procrastination of my very important goals became a problem.
I had struggled with procrastination in the past and discovered some useful ways to overcome it. My methods worked once again so I thought I’d share them with you. It is my hope that this post will resonate with highly compassionate intuitive souls (aka HSPs) who struggle with this because… we are more creative than most (too many fantastic ideas), we are more sensory-sensitive (overstimulated) than most (actually intuitively gifted :)), and we are even hard on ourselves for being hard on ourselves (a bad habit from our past). Add to that, it’s too cold to go out, without the warmth of the sun and the beauty of nature to recharge us, we often get overwhelmed, bogged down, stuck in negative energy, which often results in Procrastination!
I was in the middle of a very important project!–I am in the process of decluttering my home and removing items that I have long been attached to but no longer serve my needs. This is big! I have been wanting to do this for years and had finally begun with great gusto!
I had decided to declutter after coming back from an amazing and uplifting January vacation when I discovered… upon entering… my home… that it brought my energy … down. I was surprised and it was the first time I saw my home with new eyes and clarity–I wanted it to be better, lift me up higher, and match the positive energy I was feeling after this amazing vacation. When you realize that the energy in your home is very important in order to have the energy to achieve your goals, it suddenly comes clear why decluttering is so important.
I am actually a pretty organized person and for the most part I am very happy with my home and it’s decor–but I have many labeled boxes of projects, collections, boxes of “some day I might need this” items, and memorabilia from the past filling up all of my closets and inside of cabinets in almost every room in my home!
I found and read a book I had bought a while back using Feng Shui to declutter and I started in with great success. With it I discovered a new way to assess the items in my home. Now I not only ask myself, “do I love, need, or use this item?” AND “if I die tomorrow does it represent who I am and what I believe in to my surviving family members who will have to sort through all of this stuff?” (a really great question to ask yourself :)) BUT ALSO NOW I ask myself, “does this item give me good positive energy, and uplift me, or does it bring me down?”
I had great success with this new approach and got rid of 80 books and a lot of silly trinkets in my den that I previously had been unable to part with. I became exhausted after 2 days decluttering and cleaning 2 rooms and then took a break for a few days. But when it was time to get back to my decluttering I found myself experiencing big time procrastination! I was able to work through it pretty quickly and I wanted to share with you what worked to overcome this awful, unmotivated feeling.
When we find ourselves procrastinating important goals, often it is an emotional block from a painful time in our childhood that is coming up to heal in order to free us up so we can achieve our goals or create new ones. Writing out our frustration about our “numbness” or “stuckness” in a journal can often help us to figure out what is really going on:
1)Perhaps you had a very good reason to be fearful as a child and underneath your procrastination is really anxiety. Your anxiety was a healthy, reasonable reaction to fearful events you experienced as a child. Having compassion for your inner child who was too afraid to be creative or express feelings can help heal this layer of fear that is an energy blockage in your body and is keeping you from moving forward.
2) It could be anger that was never allowed to be expressed and after you realize you have a right to be angry and release it, grief for the lost childhood can follow. Yelling into a pillow and then having a good cry could be all that is needed to free you up to achieving your goals again.
Do the opposite of being hard on yourself about your procrastination:
1) Have compassion for the little child in you who was never seen and validated and never was encouraged to do what she/he desired or was never allowed to be angry. Because of the past now it is difficult for you to follow your desires–no wonder! You deserve compassion! Be kind to yourself!
2)Take a break and do something fun for yourself, treat yourself, or get a change of scenery. Comfort yourself, indulge into your feelings and release them by writing in a journal for your eyes only. Writing connects you to the right side of your brain so that you can receive intuitive guidance from your higher self.
3)Declutter your mind by journaling! Getting the clutter and confusion out of our brain and onto paper often frees up our emotional blocks so that we can have clarity and renewed motivation for our goals again. Sometimes by writing and venting all the frustrations that are keeping us from moving forward, we then feel less overwhelmed and suddenly gain clarity about new goals. We may even decide to change course in a way that is a better fit for us after all.
Journaling helps us to look forward to change and new desires that make life more exciting and asking ourselves the very question, “What’s asking to be born in my life? This procrastination may be coming up to force you to write in order to access your inner guidance and get back in touch with your higher self!
That is what happened with me. As I wrote I discovered some fear from the past the was coming up as I experienced new successes in my life. I was kind to myself as a result of this new awareness and treated myself to some comforting extreme-self-care and rest. Then I discovered I was still very excited about the many new creative projects that had gotten me excited to declutter in the first place!–the motivation had been restored and the urge to procrastinate had disappeared!
And since I work at home, I really was excited about the vision of my home that I knew would give me energy and help me to attain these goals. So now I am back to decluttering my home (after decluttering my brain and heart) and I am delving into the hardest space, my bedroom closet! This is where I have hat boxes filled with old letters and cards from every occasion, old favorite shoes and memorabilia from high school, college, and my early years of parenting, and too many clothes that I will never wear again.
Helpful tip: I have learned to take a picture of items that I am keeping just for the memories and then I say goodbye–pictures take up so much less space and you still have the memory! If saying goodbye to it is really hard for you, try putting the hardest items in your garage or in an out of the way place for a little while just to see if you miss them. If you don’t miss them then say goodbye and say hello to all the new space you have for new better energy to come into your life!
Wish me luck, after the bedroom closet it’s time to tackle the game room/art room/catch-all room! Time to turn it into a guest room/man cave? ha ha My husband will love it!
With loving support,
Roxanne, you’re so right about the difficulties of getting through the last dregs of winter. In fact I was just talking with an HSP friend today about this. I know I feel SO much better on days when I can go outside and breathe fresh air.
And I love your analogy of a cluttered house to a cluttered brain and heart. I’m a huge proponent of decluttering (a seemingly endless job), but only recently realized the link between a cluttered house and an inability to get anything done. It really DOES affect how we function when our environment is messy. So here’s to boxing up all those things from yesterday that won’t let us enjoy today. Thanks for all the good tips too!
Hi Kim, Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, I can’t wait until the temperatures are at least above 50 and I can start riding my bike again–my favorite way to recharge outdoors. Glad you like the cluttered brain and heart info. Yes, I found the only way I could get some good creative work done was to leave my house and go somewhere else to get my thoughts organized. Even though my clutter is organized I know what is in every box and I didn’t realize that all that stuff was on my “shoulders” as a big energy burden. Glad you like the tips! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject, Kim! I always appreciate hearing your perspective!
Roxanne, this is such an insightful post. I never saw the connection between procrastination and childhood anxiety, but you have me thinking about it quite a bit now. My way of organizing my overflowing, chaotic pantry is closing the door. Decluttering and organizing are extremely difficult for me – the anxiety is through the roof. I’m in recovery for ptsd but ever since my mom died last month, I’m having a tough time again. I appreciate your comment about giving myself compassion instead of being hard on myself. A very timely word…thank you.
Best wishes to you on your continued decluttering. I’m inspired. 🙂
Hi Lori, Thank you for your comment–I am so happy that you found it helpful! Thank you for sharing that you experience anxiety about decluttering and organizing–many readers out there can relate! I am so sorry about the recent death of your mother–yes, compassion for yourself and extreme-self-care as a priority for you is important right now. You said it best!: “…instead of being hard on myself.”–you deserve compassion and kindness. Thanks for the wishes and for letting me know you are inspired! Yay! 😀 Warmest wishes to you, Roxanne
Roxanne, this is a wonderful blog. I’ve found it a few days ago and reading it was very uplifting. Thank you.
I wonder if other survivors have the same experience as I go through right now. I am a daughter of N parents. I’m 33. Since I went No Contact with my parents, or rather they have cut me off first, I have had periods of grieving. But now when most of those feelings were being acknowledged I started to experience a period of such an enormous joy I don’t know how to handle. The problem is that when I feel like that I become so very chatty. My loving husband can handle it, but when I meet people who look trustworthy I talk too much without listening (this is my neediness for being listened to emerges), and then I regret I said too much, and starting to criticize myself, and start to question the trustiness of those people, etc. The memory of this is embarrassing, because I look like an N person myself, I look like a child who just wants to talk and talk, and I say things I would normally not said to anyone because it is too private matter. I feel like I would explode of joy if I don’t have anyone around to listen to me in that euphoria time (I don’t have any friends at the moment, I had to let them go because I was being used by them, too). How to handle this joy, which shows as a need to talk, without embarrassing myself? I know that compared to the state I was in before this is not horrible state, but still, talking too much to a stranger is never a good idea. How do I handle this overwhelming, tense joy in a “safe way” until I reach the state of emotional balance? I hope someone can understand what that is like and can share their insights. Thank you.
Hello Mia, Thank you so much for your kind words about my blog and for sharing your experience about feeling the need to talk so much and express your newfound enthusiasm for living with sometimes the wrong people! I am just the same way or I did go through this exact same thing for a time. 😀 This is so wonderful the way you express it–you are exactly right that your childhood neediness emerges at those times but you do not look like an N person in my eyes. Ns are not remorseful souls looking inward at themselves to grow in their own awareness as you are–you are the opposite of N! I think a wonderful outlet for you is to journal alot and get all your wonderful gifted insights and ideas and joy on paper–The Artist’s Way book by Julia Cameron shows exactly how to creatively journal to heal and find your true purpose. I love how you say “until I reach the state of emotional balance”–you already know you are on your way!–It’s so refreshing to meet someone who is doing such amazing self-healing and your main concern is containing your JOY!! It’s positively awesome! I have felt this same way and I trusted the wrong people for a time–It was a narcissistic friendship that I had to end that opened up my eyes about Narcissism in family members. Know that you are rare and special–A highly evolved soul and few may really understand you and may even be jealous and threatened by your ability to feel joy in your life. Most people have many layers of negativity running their lives and they refuse to look inward and instead they “use” us highly sensitive people (hsps)–as you already know!. Be selective and try to find safe people of similar depth and self-healing abilities–it is not easy but learn to trust yourself on this. Grieving is how we heal and it is a difficult time for most but you seem to be on the other side of it–it is sad not to have more supportive people to listen to us and see us and understand all the wonderful things we feel and see and “need” validated when we don’t have a loving family of origin. Grieving this too will help you see eventually how to center yourself and reserve your energy and amazing positivity and wisdom to help others heal. I hope you will check out the facebook page too Mia and stay in touch. You may be as chatty as you like around here–I love it! 😀 Thank you for sharing your true voice here!!!
My main procrastination goes like that: “What’s the use of doing something for myself if I will not use it anyway.” I always had to drop my things to take care of my mom’s dreams, plans and demands, and all of my own work was wasted. Or my dad use to say to me with his disapproving tone of voice: “what’s the use? What are you doing it for?” And when I resign from something he would say “and what? You resign again?” Really crazy-making.
But your post Roxanne, and my newly regained freedom makes me think: “Or will I? I am free now so I can use it, don’t stop it, don’t waste it. I can learn it and I can use it, because my mom’s business is not mine anymore.”
The part I am struggling with most now is to believe those words now. I know it is true, but still the doubt remains: do I deserve it? As you said in your post, we are so creative! I have so many ideas, but I don’t know where to start. But still, do I deserve to be happy, and fully use my creativity? I know I need to journal it to declutter or to unweed my brain 🙂
Thank you for the inspiration.
Hi Mia, We all have an inner critic voice inside of us that is wrong about us–we can learn to realize when our inner critic is keeping us from believing we deserve every good thing the universe has to offer! We can learn to stop the inner critic voice and replace it with positive affirmations like “I love and approve of myself”, “I give myself permission to be the best I can be”, and “there is plenty of time for all the things I want to do”. Mia, you might really like the book, “You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay which is how I learned about these positive affirmations which changed how I treated myself. Journaling goes one step further to help with this because when we write we tap into the compassionate right side of the brain. The inner critic is always from the linear left side of the brain–writing out our feelings changes the circuits over to the right side. Happy Journaling, Mia! I am so happy to have helped inspire you. I love how you say, “Because my mom’s (really crazy-making) business is not mine anymore” and this has lead to your “newly gained freedom!!”–such a refreshing way to look at the exciting future that awaits you! You can do it!