Saturday, June 1, 2013

Get Off the Self-Pity Waterslide!


This is my second post about fear and its tricks and traps to mess with your head! You can read the first post HERE. And now, our feature blog-entation. :)

My good friend Jon Acuff (okay, so he's not my friend, but I wish he was, and his book Start has helped me a lot . . . so let's just call him my friend) writes about critic's math. It's simple:

1000 compliments + 1 insult = 1 insult

Because, you see, no matter how awesome we are at something, one little insult, criticism, or hint of negativity sends us barreling down the self-pity waterslide.

Why a waterslide? You ask.

Because self-pity takes you downhill fast on a slippery slope, it is really hard to stop once you start, and worst of all: you secretly enjoy it.

If we can convince ourselves we’re no good at anything, we don’t have any obligation to actually get out there and DO SOMETHING GREAT! That’s how fear wants us to think. It whispers deviously, You’re no good. To which we respond, Yeah, you’re right. So why am I even trying?

Self-pity is the easiest cop-out in the world. You’re climbing the stairs in the blistering heat to reach your goal at the top. Let’s call it chocolate cake. You want that cake more than anything. It’s your dream. But it’s hot. It’s hard. You’re tired.

Just as you pause to take a breath, fear comes along with his critic buddies and says, Hey man, there’s probably no cake up there after all. You aren’t going to make it anyway. If you keep going, you’ll probably DIE of exhaustion! Look, you’ve already sweat out half your body weight! Better stop before you waste away! (Fear loves to exaggerate). Then he shows you a big blinking neon EXIT sign above a cool, refreshing waterslide . . . and you’re hooked. There’s no way you’re gonna keep lugging your exhausted self up those stairs.

So you hop on the waterslide, on the outside saying, Wow. I shouldn’t have even tried. I stink. I’m never going to be good enough. That was a stupid dream anyway.

But on the inside you’re throwing your hands in the air going Woooooohoooooooo!!!!! No more stupid stairs! No more sweat! No more trying, because I can’t do it anyway! No more effort! Haha!

There’s a certain thrill that comes from feeling justified in our self pity. One little insult, criticism, or setback makes us certain that we deserve a pity party. We're always looking for an excuse to hop on that waterslide.

But the problem with a waterslide is that it always ends sooner than you expect. And when it does, you land in a pool and get all wet, which might feel good . . . at first. (I have no problems with sitting down and having a good cry on occasion!) The problem is, if you continue your “poor me” campaign and refuse to try anything ever again, you drown in the water. That, or you get all wrinkled up and turn into a life-sized prune.

What to do about the self-pity slide:


A)     If you’re not on the waterslide yet, don’t get on! It might be alluring when you’re all worn out, but you have to say no! Refuse to give in to fear and self pity. You can lose a lot of ground down that slippery slide. (Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!)

B)      If you’re already on the slide of doom, dig in your heels and come to a screeching halt. Give yourself a good metaphorical slap upside the head. What are you thinking? You’re throwing away everything you’ve worked for!

C)      If you’re at the bottom, get out of the water. Start back up the stairs. Move. Do SOMETHING. You can drown in any amount of water if you don’t make the effort to get out. Self pity causes inactivity. Don’t let it win! Do anything, as long as it involves ACTION!

Finally, Stop doing what fear tells you! It doesn’t want you to win! It wants you to quit and drown in self-pity. So quit listening to fear’s voice! Instead:

STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN

Or maybe it’s Stop, Drop, and Roll. Actually, I haven’t finished that post yet. But if you check back in a day or two, I’ll be sharing more about how to escape fear’s sinister plots. See you soon! :)

In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment below! And if you think this post could encourage someone you know, why not share it by email, Twitter, or Facebook?

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