When you worry that you don’t have enough willpower

Agata watched herself putting on weight and getting out of shape all autumn and winter months.

Each time she heard herself pant for breath as she walked up the steep drive to put the rubbish out, she felt a sense of worry. Her health and figure were going downhill but she wasn’t doing anything about it.

Why wasn’t she???

Why was she so pathetically weak on willpower even with something so obvious and important?

Being sensitive, she knew deep inside that diet and exercise were very important.

As she imagined the future consequences of eating too much and moving too little, she grew even more worried and frozen.

Perhaps you can relate. I certainly know the experience of wanting to change or achieve something that matters to me and feeling really worried as I’m not and not an still not attending to that thing.

Where are you worried about yourself?

Agata was not new to the feeling of worry about her willpower.

With many other things before, she managed to distract herself enough to sort of… forget that she wanted something. She got very busy with something else. Many other something elses. Many of them not even hers.

And when not busy, busy, busy, then surely she deserved to let her hair down and watch a film, or two or three.

But of course she didn’t really forget.

Deep down, she worried that her willpower is so weak that something bad would happen to her because of it.

Trying to be positive

 

She had worked hard not to judge her sensitive nature, having understood that there’s no point in being at war with who you are.

But what if weak willpower was part of being sensitive? What then?

She remembered a particularly painful day of being in the wanting-to-but-not-doing-it dynamic.

She was almost freaking out inside by the time she came across a respectful astrologer’s warning to be kind to oneself that day, as a particularly difficult set up was present.

She collapsed in a heap of relieved tears that there was an explanation for her willpower failure: being sensitive amidst particularly intense energy.

Since then, however, the incident added to her worry that being sensitive MEANS having weak willpower.

After all, there’s always some intensity or other going on in this world.

It was bad news for who she was and for what she wanted to do in life, both.

A quieter, kinder perspective

A small part of Agata trusted that she needed to incubate that winter especially and that come spring, she could use the impetus of extra light and warmth to get going on the healthy diet and exercise front.

But March and April came and went with no exercise and plenty of scoffed biscuits.

It seemed that trusting that, let’s face it, rather faint inner voice was wrong.

She dreaded there was no improving her weak, sensitive willpower after all.  

Do you know that feeling of dread, that something about you is not quite okay?

How we cope

I’m wondering how YOU cope, dear Reader, when you see yourself not doing something you’d like to get done.

Do you worry about your willpower or the future?

Do you criticise yourself to smithereens inside?

Do you distract yourself with busyness or ruminate on something else in order to counteract your worries about being “too weak willed”?

How “the impossible” happens anyway

Unlike many other wishes before, Agata hadn’t managed to forget that she wanted to eat better and move more.

Who knows why?

Perhaps these things were just too much of a bottom line to ignore.

Perhaps the deep perception side of sensitivity meant that she couldn’t not know what she noticed was important to track.

The gnawing feeling that she had weak willpower persisted in her as well.  After all, she wasn’t eating or moving differently. Still.

Then, on May 11th that year, Agata woke up and sat up full of quiet awe.

Things happen when you’re not looking

A sense of humility and a… “not knowing how” was in the air as she admitted to herself she had done 30 min of yoga every day for eleven consecutive days.

She had taken two hour walks several times already that month and really enjoyed the new routes to town she found.

She had been eating differently, consistently for over a weak and trusted the diet protocol she came across and had an intuitive “yes!” to.

What HAS happened to her willpower???

How miracles happen

Then, she remembered something she read before going to bed and knew that whatever happened to her, it was NOT willpower.

She picked up the new Michael Neill book* to double check what it said and read this:

“Most of us are terrible at making decisions and committing to them. This is because we try to use the weakest part of ourselves to do it – our personal willpower.”

(* “Creating The Impossible” by Michael Neill)

Then, almost audibly she recalled the Youtube yoga teacher’s words about straining (willpower-ing!) to achieve a pose:

“It’s so last paradigm!”

Yet she did achieve a growing consistency with better eating and exercising.

How???

The road from there to better here

She remembered the pain of it not happening and not happening and doubting herself and worrying.

Except that there WAS that inner epiphany on the course she took earlier in the spring.

The

Agata watched herself putting on weight and getting out of shape all autumn and winter months.

Each time she heard herself pant for breath as she walked up the steep drive to put the rubbish out, she felt a sense of worry. Her health and figure were going downhill but she wasn’t doing anything about it.

Why wasn’t she???

Why was she so pathetically weak on willpower even with something so obvious and important?

Being sensitive, she knew deep inside that diet and exercise were very important.

As she imagined the future consequences of eating too much and moving too little, she grew even more worried and frozen.

Perhaps you can relate or at least I definitely know the experience of wanting to change or achieve something that matters to me and feeling really worried as I don’t and don’t and don’t attend to that thing.

Where are you worried about yourself?

Agata was not new to the feeling of worry about her willpower.

With many other things before, she managed to distract herself enough to sort of… forget that she wanted something. She got very busy with something else. Many other something elses. Many of them not even hers.

And when not busy, busy, busy, then surely she deserved to let her hair down and watch a film, or two or three.

But of course she didn’t really forget.

Deep down, she worried that her willpower is so weak that something bad would happen to her because of it.

Trying to be positive

 

She had worked hard not to judge her sensitive nature, having understood that there’s no point in being at war with who you are.

But what if weak willpower was part of being sensitive? What then?

She remembered a particularly painful day of being in the wanting-to-but-not-doing-it dynamic.

She was almost freaking out inside when she came across a respectful astrologer’s warning to be kind to oneself that day, as a particularly difficult set up was present.

She collapsed in a heap of relieved tears that there was an explanation for her willpower failure: being sensitive amidst particularly intense energy.

But since then, the incident added to her worry that being sensitive MEANS having weak willpower.

After all, there’s always some intensity or other going on in this world. It was bad news both for who she was and for what she wanted to do in life.

A quieter, kinder perspective

A small part of Agata trusted that she needed to incubate that winter especially and that come spring, she could use the impetus of more light and warmth to get going on the healthy diet and exercise front.

But March and April came and went with no exercise and plenty of scoffed biscuits.

It seemed that trusting that, let’s face it, rather faint inner voice was wrong.

She dreaded there was no improving her weak, sensitive willpower after all.

Do you know that feeling of dread, that something about you is not quite okay?

How we cope

I’m wondering how YOU cope, dear Reader, when you see yourself not doing something you’d like to get done.

Do you worry about your willpower or the future?

Do you criticise yourself to smithereens inside?

Do you distract yourself with busyness or ruminating on something else in order to counteract your worries about being “too weak willed”?

How “the impossible” happens anyway

Unlike many other things before, Agata hadn’t manage to forget that she wanted to eat better and move more.

Who knows why?

Perhaps these things were just too much of a bottom line to ignore.

Perhaps the deep perception side of sensitivity meant that she couldn’t not know what she noticed was important to track.

The gnawing feeling, that she had weak willpower, persisted in her as well.  After all, she wasn’t eating or moving differently, again and again.

Then, on May 11th that year, Agata woke up and sat up full of awe.

Things happen when you’re not looking

A sense of humility and a… “not knowing how” was in the air as she realised she had done half an hour of yoga every day for eleven consecutive days.

She had taken two hour walks several times already that month and really enjoyed the new routes to town she found.

She had been eating differently, consistently for over a weak and trusted the diet protocol she came across and had an intuitive “yes!” to.

What HAS happened to her willpower???

How miracles happen

Then, she remembered something she read before going to bed and knew that whatever happened to her, it wasn’t about willpower at all.

She picked up the Michael Neill book* to double check what it said and read this:

“Most of us are terrible at making decisions and committing to them. This is because we try to use the weakest part of ourselves to do it – our personal willpower.”

(“Creating The Impossible” by Michael Neill)

Then, almost audibly she recalled the Youtube yoga teacher’s words about straining (willpower-ing!) to achieve a pose:

“It’s so last paradigm!”

Yet she did achieve a growing consistency with better eating and exercising.

How???

The road from there to better here

She remembered the pain of it not happening and not happening and doubting herself and worrying.

Except that there WAS that inner epiphany on the course she took earlier that spring…

About the nature of human neediness and how being human is ABOUT regularly needing something or other and feeling vulnerable, uncomfortable in the face of it.

That feeling needy and vulnerable about it was normal (unless you judge it as “wrong” or “broken”).

That fulfilment of those needs came from a source larger than individual humanity, whatever you’d call it.

Without that spark, that nourishment, the inspiration, the inhalation of… life? larger reality? energy? the individual human husk is little more than a husk.

The dots connected inside her.

If the weakest part of us is the individual willpower, then the strongest part of us must be about relating to that larger something, turning THERE (not towards one’s willpower) when you need inspiration, clarity or strength.

“Everybody” knows it already

So many perspectives have noticed this… order of things, yet she didn’t quite get it before.

The Twelve Step programs rely on surrendering to that something larger instead of saving yourself with your own individual efforts.

Spiritual traditions teach turning to Divine with your hopes and prayers and call the things WE didn’t manage to make happen “miracles”.

David Bohm, the amazing physicist, talked about “the field” of energy that is the power source of our creative potential (you know, “what you seek, also seeks you”).

You know it already too

Agata remembered that her mentor also talks about leaning into what she calls “the blank” (rather than using her own knowing or giving) when being there for a client or a group.

The penny has dropped about sensitivity too.

If being sensitive means being more affected by what’s going on around you, being more vulnerable in a sense, than sensitive people are blessed by being more visibly human.

 You are not a weaker kind of human because decent, effective life has never been about willpower.

If creating positive change is about being receptive (to the appropriate source) then we ARE actually potentially very strong, because we are nothing if not receptive!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

She felt such deep peace and surrender to life.

It all comes to you, not from you

Agata felt gratitude for receiving from that larger something.

Clear now, how the yoga and the eating and the walking had become possible thanks to gifts from outside and NOT through her efforting.

Insights from her spring course helped.

The magnets her acupuncturist stack in her earlobes helped.

Her sister’s example of doing a 30 day yoga challenge helped.

The energy of the young (so enlightened!) yoga teacher helped.

The tips about local pathways helped.

And the list continued.

She wanted stronger willpower but discovered something much better instead.

Agata realised that she could never use willpower much anyway because she hated trampling over others with it. It simply, actually wasn’t her gig.

Finally, she remembered something she discovered was true but  sometimes doubted on a bad day:

Sensitive rhythms ARE different from the majority of people’s! The incubation is extra long, but then there is a quantum leap.

We mustn’t attack ourselves during the early stages!!!

Are you ready for something better than your willpower?

At this point some people will relate to Agata’s experience but there may be a niggle (or a big push back) from others.

Surely, we need willpower to make things happen?!

And yet.

There is a key difference between focus and willpower, or willpower and dedication.

Why would you try to yield results through the weakest part of yourself, when the strongest, most insightful and creative is also available?

And if you really, really have to have willpower, use it to remember what you need, however bad your thoughts and feelings get around it.

Don’t let judgements about your willpower run the show.

Willpower, even if you had more of it, can’t get you what you really need anyway.