We all know the feeling: We’ve got somewhere to be or something to do- a party, maybe, or a chore we’ve procrastinated- and all we can think is “Ugh, I just don’t want to.” This realization is often followed up by a brief round of mental tug-of-war, after which our “better,”more disciplined side almost always emerges victorious. Rather than send our regrets to the hostess or reschedule that errand, we push through, smiling on the outside, kicking and screaming on the inside.
Of course, not everything we resist at first plays out as miserably as we imagine it will. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that the opposite is true 75-80% of time. I mean, how many times have you been tempted to skip out on plans with friends, only to end up having an amazing time? Introvert that I am, I know I have a fair share of these experiences under my belt. In those moments, it’s good that my diligence trumped my social laziness anxiety. Rather than succumb to my hang-ups, I pushed myself to uphold my commitments, and was a better person for it.
But what about the other 20-25% of the time, when you really aren’t in the mood for something, force yourself to go through with it, and end up feeling even worse than before? I don’t know about you, but this gray area has been a major source of struggle for me lately. Over the past several weeks, I’ve had a difficult time recognizing what’s necessary and what’s not- i.e., when to go to the party, and when it’s better to skip the get-together in favor of a night in. It sounds like an easy choice: if I want to go to the party, I go, and if I don’t want to, I skip it. But I think we can all agree that it’s way more complex than that. In reality, deciding when to give into the “I don’t want to” is less of a cake walk and more of a rock in a hard place.
For me, the biggest barrier to following my intuition is fear of judgement. I often feel very indebted to the people around me, and struggle to balance my desires with what I think would make them happy. This tension mostly manifests itself in the form of social commitments and other activities that I would have rather passed on, but went through with because I didn’t want to alienate the people I cared about. But, if I am honest with myself, this is a sorry excuse. After all, if I went to that dinner to please so-and-so, shouldn’t that act of “charity” left me feeling great? Judging by how deflated I felt afterwards, it’s safe to say it didn’t do the trick.
By now, I’m sure you can tell that this post/rant is as much for me as it is for you. Part of why I love writing on here is that I get to work out my thoughts and emotions while also creating what I hope is quality content for my readers. Which is why I have a question for you all: How do you figure out when it’s good to go to the metaphorical party, and when it’s okay to bail? When you aren’t bound by serious commitment or familial ties, when the ball is genuinely in your court, how do you play it? Recent events have proven to me that I’m still very much a rookie in the sport of “to do or not to do,” and I’d love to hear any advice you’d like to impart.
Do any of you guys also struggle with how to deal with the “I don’t want tos”? Let me know in the comments, and we can bond our way through this. 🙂
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