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S1 EP36 – How to Heal Procrastination

Episode Summary

Are you a procrastinator? Do you find yourself procrastinating when you have hard or boring stuff to do, or even with things you want to do? Do you tell yourself that you will do the things you need to do, and then find yourself not doing them? Do you then judge yourself for procrastinating? Do you believe if you read enough self-help books and take enough seminars you will find the answer? Are you ready to get unstuck? There is a way out of this! 


Hi everyone. This is Dr. Margaret Paul with the inner bonding podcast. And today I want to talk about procrastination, how to heal from procrastination. It’s a really big topic. People are always asking me about this issue. So think about what do you do when you have stuff to do that? That’s, that’s hard for you or stuff that may be really boring for you, like studying for exam or doing your taxes or creating and, and, and sending out a resume or getting rid of clutter. How often do you put it off procrastinating? Because it just seems too hard or too boring.

Or do you find yourself procrastinating doing what you actually want to do and instead sleeping or watching television. And then once you procrastinate, what do you do? Do you judge yourself for not getting it done, beating yourself up in the hopes of getting yourself motivated and what happens then our ego wounded self often believes that self judgment will get you to do what you need to do, or even what you want to do, but are not doing. But think about this. How often does this backfire on you?

You might feel so bad from self judgment, that you’re afraid to even start to do the hard stuff or even things you want to do fearing that you won’t be able to do it, that you’re not adequate to the task. You might find yourself immobilized distracting yourself in many different ways, rather than doing what you want or need to do until you’re really under the gun. Then the anxiety of not getting it done takes over. And then you finally do what you need to do, but all of this has taken a huge toll on you and you’re exhausted from it.

And of course, this is not great for your health and wellbeing, or like I said, do you think about what you want to do? And then find yourself just not doing it even what you want to do. And then again, judging yourself for it. So my client Sherry was behind on many important things in her life. She had unpaid traffic tickets. The insurance on her car had lapsed. She had a stack of unpaid bills and her apartment was a mess. Now, Sherry was obviously not happy with this situation yet. She seemed unable to do anything about it.

Even when she set aside the time to get these things done, something always got in the way. So Sherry consulted with me because things had finally reached a point where her life was actually breaking down from her procrastination. She had had a minor car accident that she had had to pay for because of her lapsed insurance and her phone had recently been shut off due to her, not paying her phone Bills. She was angry And frustrated with herself, but she still found herself doing the bare minimum just enough to get by.

So what was keeping her so stuck Her resistance and the resulting procrastination. We’re controlling her life. As we explored Sherry’s deeper intention. She discovered that as much as she wanted to get things done, there was something she wanted even more, which is not to be controlled, not being controlled, had become Sherry’s focus early on in her life as her way to protect against being consumed by her very controlling father.

She would Do anything to not be controlled by him, even to her own detriment. Now, The current problem was that it was no longer her father, who she was rebelling against and, and resisting. She was now in resistance to her own inner, controlling parent. The part of her that was actually just like her father, you know, so often we, we, we make these decisions like I did, Oh, I’m not going to be like my mother. I’m not going to be like my father and our wound itself turns out to be exactly like that. And that was going on with her. So as soon as this controlling authoritarian part of her, that was just like her father tried to get her to get stuff done by saying things like, okay, it’s time to get this apartment cleaned up.

I can’t live in a dump like this any longer, An unconscious And very resistant part of her would take over with behavior that clearly said, you can’t make me. I can do whatever I want your not the boss of me, This resistant Child, this resistant inner child, her a wounded aspect of herself had learned to respond in this way when she was very small. So now this behavior was unconscious and automatic.

Sherri was, was stuck in an inner power struggle between two wounded aspects of herself. The part that wanted to control and the part that didn’t want to be controlled. The moment she told herself, she had to do something. She would immediately go into to doing it. So how could Sherry find her way out of this stuck place Before She could change it? She needed to become aware of it rather than continue to operate on automatic pilot. We can’t change something that we don’t know we’re doing Sherry needed to become aware of both inner voices, the adolescent bossy, controlling voice of her father and the younger voice of her resistant child.

She needed to Choose to be controlling and resistant rather than doing it unconsciously before she could have other choices available to her. But she asked, why would I choose this good question? I said Yet, this is what you are choosing every day, until you’re aware of choosing this, you can’t choose anything else. How can you change it? If you don’t know you’re doing it, if you’re doing it unconsciously, just keep doing what you’re doing, keep resisting, but now do it on purpose. Do it consciously, watch yourself making this choice to control and then resist.

Sherry agreed to try this for a week. She was actually ecstatic at our next session. I actually got the apartment clean. She said, that’s great. I said, now I want you to start to become aware of what you want to do and what is really in your highest good rather than what you think you have to do. The challenge here for you is to develop a loving adult part of you that is neither controlling, nor resistant, but wanting to take the loving actions that supports your own highest good. Now, of course, this will take time and practice with inner bonding. But when you’re thinking of what is really loving to yourself, rather than controlling and resisting being controlled, you’re going to then get unstuck in all areas of your life.

Sherry Did practice in her bonding and found that the more she thought about what was in her highest good and took loving action for herself, the easier it became to get things done in the course of our work together, Sherry learned to develop a connection with her personal source of spiritual guidance, to help her understand what was in her highest good, and to follow through with loving actions. She found that the more she stayed connected with her spiritual guidance, the more powerful she felt within when the controlling and resistant parts of her were no longer in charge of her choices.

Procrastination actually became a thing of the past for her. Now here’s another example. My client Oscar also stuck in his life. The issue he presented in our session was just one example of how he was Stuck. My Parents are coming to visit tomorrow and unfortunately has been my pattern. My house is a dirty mess. I usually spend the day before they arrive frantically cleaning, which I’m going to do today. But this time I’d like to do it differently and not beat myself up and not judge myself. How can I get the task done with peace and joy and compassion?

It’s a challenge because I feel pressured and I get angry with myself for letting things go, Oscar. I said, there must be a good reason that you keep your house a mess and then feel frantic when you need to clean it up. How old were you when you first started resisting things like cleaning up your room? How old were you when you started to beat yourself up for letting things go? I Think I started resisting things when I was very young. He said I resisted getting toilet trained and I resisted getting good grades. My mother was so controlling and evasive that I think I learned these things as a way to not be so controlled by Her.

So the part of you resisting is maybe two or three years old. I asked, yeah. He said, that sounds about right now that I think of it. My mom was very judgmental and I think I took over the job of judging myself when I started junior high school. So I said, you have an inner system with a young adolescent trying to control you with anger and judgment like your mother did and then a two, or three-year-old not wanting to be controlled and going into resistance. As long as these parts of you are in charge, you’re not going to be able to clean up with peace and joy. Is it just about cleaning up that you procrastinate or do you do it with other issues?

Oh, he said I do it most of the time with everything. What are you afraid of? I asked if you go ahead and, and do things I’m afraid of not getting them right. I’m so afraid of failure that I never do much. What Are you telling yourself about failure? I asked him, telling myself that if I fail everyone would will. Everyone’s going to know how inadequate I am. So you keep yourself stuck in your life. I try to have control over, getting yourself to do things right with your self judgment, which creates resistance in the fear of failure.

As long as your wounded, adolescent is in charge, judging you, this pattern is gonna continue. So Right now, please take a couple of deep breaths and breathe into your heart. I said to him, I’d like you to imagine an older, wiser part of you, your higher Imagine that this wise part of you is very kind, loving and compassionate, the opposite of your judgmental ego wound itself. Imagine that you ask your adolescent to step back and you ask this higher part of you to take over while you clean up your house, ask him to clean the house through you.

Can you imagine this? Yes, I actually can. He said, seems like a relief because my little kid and my adolescent can’t actually do the cleaning and my adolescent doesn’t want to. When I imagine there’s older, wiser part of me doing it, it seems so much easier. This Or part of you, whether you are really inadequate, if you don’t do it right, or if you fail at something Oscar said asking, he says that I’m, I’m very smart and very adequate. And that we all fail at times that it doesn’t mean anything about me.

Wow. Is that right? Yes, that’s right. Failure is just a part of learning. But your wounded self tells you that failure defines you, which is keeping you very stuck. If you clean your house or do anything else you really want to do with your higher self in charge, rather than your ego wounded adolescent aspect. And then you can do it with joy and you will get unstuck, which is exactly what happened For Oscar. Another pattern I found with people who procrastinate is that they’re constantly trying various ways to fix themselves.

Are you constantly reading self-help and motivational books yet? Nothing changes. Have you tried many different forms of therapy? It, you still procrastinate. Fixing is not the same as learning about what’s in your highest. Good. And then taking the loving action. You’re likely going to stay stuck when fixing is more important than learning and taking action. Are you an information addict, reading everything you can in the hopes of finding the right answers to your procrastination. Even when you do come across something that you can do to make things easier, do you do it, or do you stay in your head trying to figure it out rather than take the actions you need to take.

This would be like reading everything you can about exercise and thinking about exercising yet, not taking the action of actually exercising. I Run into this issue all the time with my clients. The inner bonding process is a powerful process for getting unstuck from procrastination, as well as for healing, anxiety and depression, guilt, shame, addictions, and relationships. Yet many people will read my books and even have sessions with me, but are completely resistant to actually practicing the process. They can spout the theory and even teach it to others, but because they’re not practicing it, nothing changes for them.

So for example, Jonathan sought my help because of his depression over money. Jonathan’s a person who reads everything yet. Nothing works for him. His business is falling apart. And so is his marriage. In my First phone session with Jonathan, I heard his endless negative self-talk Oh, nothing’s ever going to change for me. I’ll always be a loser. The things that work for other people will never work for me. I’m going to end up in the streets. It’s always been this way for me. And it always will be other people that are lucky, but I’m not on and on.

He went no wonder he was so anxious, depress, stuck, and resistant to loving actions. No wonder he constantly procrastinates. I asked him to imagine that he was saying these negative things to his actual child. I would never say things like that to him. It would scare him. But I said, this is what you’re constantly saying to your own inner child. You’re constantly scaring yourself with your negative. Self-talk I know he said, I treat myself really badly, but I can’t seem to stop. I’ve read your books.

And I understand the inner bonding process, but I don’t think it can help me. Have you tried it? I asked no. He said, Why not? I asked because I don’t think it will help me. I don’t think it’s gonna work. Jonathan wants a magic pill to fix him. He doesn’t want to have to take the action that will actually help him. His negative self-talk is a form of control. He believes that if he beats himself up enough, he somehow will get himself to change. He believes that beating himself up will fix things. He’s addicted to negativity. As someone else might be addicted to alcohol and it won’t solve his problems anymore.

Alcohol will. Jonathan doesn’t want to know that his negative self-talk is what is causing his pain and his procrastination. He doesn’t want to know that that he’s actually the creator of his own life and that he’s creating what he doesn’t want instead of what he does want. He doesn’t want to know that his anxiety and other painful feelings are his natural inner guidance system, letting him know that he’s off course and is thinking, of course he is. He doesn’t want to take responsibility for his own thoughts and feelings and for what he creates in his life.

So until Jonathan wants responsibility for his thoughts and the resulting feelings and his procrastination, he’s going to stay stuck in resistance, stuck being a victim of his own thoughts. So I want to encourage you to try a different approach. Next time you find yourself procrastinating, instead of judging yourself, see if you can bring in compassion for the part of you that doesn’t want to do what you want or what you need to do. See if you can acknowledge that what you have to do may be harder boring, or that even though you may really want to do it, you might be anxious about being able to do it, or you may not want to do it, but you know, you have to notice what happens to your willingness to do the hard or boring stuff.

Once you’re kind to yourself, As you open to your compassion and to an intention to learn, you might discover that you’re not really worried about being able to do it, but rather that doing this kind of stuff makes you feel alone and lonely for this is the case. Acknowledge it rather than judging yourself for it. Some of my clients who have hard work to do such as writing a book or planning for a, a lecture, find that they do better. If they ask someone to sit with them or some find it helpful to go to an internet cafe.

Well, of course, during non COVID times, rather than trying to do it alone, when they have people around them, they don’t feel lonely and it’s easier to do what they really want to do, but that they feel too lonely doing alone. Now it’s important to realize that the wound itself will always want to put things off saying things like I have enough time. I’ll get it done later. This is too hard. I don’t think I can do it. I really don’t want to do this. It’s so boring. Maybe it will just kind of disappear magically, go away, going to feel too lonely, doing this. I’ll just watch TV and have some ice cream, and then maybe I’ll feel better later.

But loving yourself is what changes everything. When you’re operating as a loving adult, you can address these wounded statements with compassion, as well as bringing in the truth that if it’s harder boring, or that it might feel lonely, you are capable of doing it and that it won’t magically go away. And that you don’t want to be under the gun with all the anxiety that goes with that, and that you will likely feel really good once it’s finished. When you have a loving adult present, you’re going to find numerous ways of getting the work done without the agony of procrastination.

Even if you continue to procrastinate at times, showing up as a compassionate, loving adult is always going to feel better than self judgment, and it will eventually lead to taking more and more loving action. Sure. Well, I want to encourage all of you to, of course go to the inner bonding side, take our free course, but if you want to go deeper into learning to love yourself, be sure to take our love yourself. Course. My love yourself course. So the live one that with my help starts on January 13th, but you can take it at any time if you want to just do it on your own.

And there’s many articles about resistance, about procrastination. There’s so much help on the site. There’s our inner bonding village, which can give you so much caring and support. There’s our incredible online program, self quest. There’s so many ways of receiving help along with either having sessions with me or with our many inner bonding facilitators or facilitators in training. And some of you might not know that when you join inner bonding village, you get three free one-on-one sessions with a well-trained inner bonding facilitator in training that will give you the support you need.

So there’s no need to go on procrastinating or feeling anxious or depressed or any of the other painful feelings that your wounded self might be causing. Please take advantage of all we offer on the inner bonding website. I am sending you love, Love and blessings for a continued happy holiday Season And for a wonderful new year.

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