Speak the language of your inner child, listen to your inner critic and take the couch potato along for the ride – How to motivate yourself in 6 steps

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I’ve found a bunch of pretty fabrics in the attic, which have just been lying around since they seemed to precious to use (a habit that I’m glad I ditched – beautiful things are for using, not to be left to a slow and invisible death in a box in the attic!). Seeing them instantly made me want to sew something. Then came the inevitable “I really should do something with these fabrics!”

1. Know yourself.

That’s how it goes, right? “It would be nice to do …” turns into “I really should be doing …” Add a “because it’s good for you” and the whole thing’s dead. For me anyway. I blame the inner child. She rejects anything “good” (or “healthy”) by default, not even to mention the “musts”. It doesn’t even matter that it’s fun things. So how to deal with that?

2. You don’t need to change your goals, just change the course.

I don’t know about you but I can never win over my inner child. And that’s really a good thing, since she’s actually me! The way I see it, it’s about finding a way to win myself over. I don’t need to want make myself want something else, I just need to use different words and phrases. In child language, things are simply how they are. I would like something made out of my precious fabrics, and I love being surrounded by things made by me. Not because that’s “good for me”, or “handmade” or any other grown up word. The real reason is the one that is completely justified by kid logic: because. It’s just what I want.

3. Make it easy for yourself.

Maybe you think that should be enough motivation to get going. Ha! So not. It’s not just your inner child you need to get on board with your plans. There’s that couch potato, too. And words aren’t enough to get her going. With my sewing project I ended up booking a class. I know myself enough to know that when I sign up for something, I’ll show up. Especially when I paid in advance! The couch potato may not be completely sold at that point, but it’s a first step.

4. Don’t wait for the couch potato to disappear. Just bring her along.

My inner couch potato obviously did not feel like going to the sewing class when the day came. When I explained that she could just tag along, and not feel like going all the way there, and all the way through class feel like not doing anything, she finally caved. After two days of sewing classes (and yes, the couch potato me didn’t feel like going the second day, either), I had fixed the hem of a favorite dress which had been ripped years ago, made three pillow cases, and learned a ton of stuff about sewing technique. Plus I realized that I prefer my amateur way ignoring technique for the most part and simply do it the way I feel. Too lazy to be a perfectionist.

5. Be proud of yourself.

The dress may be repaired but it has been too big for ages, the pillow cases may be pretty but honestly, I could have saved myself the trouble and just gone and bought some for the money of the class. That is the inner critic’s evaluation of this outing. Of course she had to put her two cents in, that’s what she’s there for. That’s also why I don’t beat myself up over her judgement but I keep in mind that she always finds fault with everything. It’s her job. Luckily there’s that inner child, too. The part of me that adores everything I do, and that sees the good in everything. My inner child was excited that the dress could be worn again – whether by me or anyone else didn’t matter. My inner child loved the pillow cases, and found the priceless, of course – because it was I who made them exactly how I wanted them! Which store sells that?!

6. Share your genuine appreciation.

Genuinely appreciating what we ourselves created is really a way of acknowledging that something was not so much created by us but through us. Technically that’s gratitude. That is something entirely different from demanding others’ approval, which stems from doubt. When we doubt that something amazing can come into the world through us, it’s because we are under the illusion that what we do is our work alone.

This is inner critic territory: we could make a fool of ourselves, come off as bragging, be crushed by others’ judgement or on the other hand define ourselves by our accomplishments and become addicted to others’ praise.

The inner child is connected to the truth: she just wants to show the world the miracle that worked its way into the world through her hands. Not because she’s wondering what the others think of it, or because she wants to “accomplish” anything beyond her work. It doesn’t even cross the inner child’s mind that her own assessment of her work could be separated from the world’s, that her value as a being could somehow depend on her “accomplishment”, or that she could have any hidden agenda. She is simply amazed by what sprang from her imagination into this physical world. She wants nothing other than sharing her appreciation for that. Nothing to do with being “immodest” or “show-offy” or desperate to be liked. It’s a form of expressing gratitude.

And whatever we express gratitude for, we receive more of.  That is good soil for future motivation. So let’s be genuine and share our appreciation. In all areas of life.

LOVE always,

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