Why do you do the things you do?
It’s not because you’re crazy. And no, you’re not lazy either.
So many of the women I coach come to one of those two conclusions when questioned about their thinking patterns and behavior habits.
Q: Why aren’t you following through on your workout plan?
A: I’m just too lazy.
Q: Why are you feeling afraid to ask for the promotion?
A: Argh, I don’t know! I know I’m qualified, I must just be crazy!
I think we all forget that we’re wired for survival. That we’re built to adapt to our surroundings and circumstances. In our modern world, we’re not faced with life threatening situations very often (for which I am grateful), so we don’t always recognize the more subtle ways our brains are working to protect us.
Most of us know that fight, flight, freeze and fawn are survival responses, but do you know that actually all of your automatic thoughts and behaviors are an adaptation?
The human brain’s top priorities are to seek pleasure, avoid pain and conserve energy. Every automatic thought and action can be traced back to at least one of those motivations.
Not sticking with your workout plan? For sure your brain is conserving energy and avoiding pain- probably both physical and emotional (I mean, can you imagine the embarrassment if you fell off the treadmill!?)
Avoiding asking for the promotion you know you’re qualified for? Again, conserving energy, and likely avoiding the pain of possible rejection.
My point here is that all thoughts, feelings and behaviors make sense and are serving some purpose. Instead of calling yourself crazy or beating yourself up, could you get really curious and honest about why you do the things you do?
Are you trying to protect yourself from something? Are you trying to comfort yourself or feel better?