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Do we have to believe everything we think?

When my friend asked me to write a blog for her website, I was a bit anxious and slightly scared. I would be writing the guest blog for this month…which meant I had 6 days to write it!!

I’ve never written a blog before, what could I write about that anyone would want to read? What if I couldn’t think of anything, or worse had a good idea and couldn’t get it down on paper? What if I managed to write something I was happy with, but she didn’t like it? Or what if she liked it, put it on her website and no-one else liked it, or even read it? What if I let her down and just couldn’t think of anything at all?

All these thoughts whirled through my head so quickly I was barely aware of them, just the slightly hot, nauseas feeling they brought with them! My friend noticed the glint of fear (and queasiness) in my eyes and reminded me I was naturally going to have a whole lot of thinking about it – no kidding! – and I was simply experiencing the feelings of anxiety, fear, self-doubt, worry etc. that come with those thoughts.

She suggested I relax (really?!), just consider the idea of writing a blog and see what came to me. Rather than trying to force the process or get caught up in lots of ideas about what might or might not happen. “An idea will either come to you or it won’t, you can write about anything, just see what occurs to you”.

So I calmed down, checked my schedule and realised that every day until the deadline was full with work and evening commitments I couldn’t put off. How could I find the time? The short deadline and busy schedule were ‘perfect’, very real reasons for not even trying. My friend would understand, I could write the November guest blog instead, get it done early and have time to do a really good job.

Then I calmed down a bit more and noticed something curious… I’d never written a blog before, but I’d already decided it would be difficult and take too long to write. One idea had occurred to me, when I was walking to the shops with nothing particular on my mind, but I hadn’t explored it further or attempted to write it down. And yet, part of me had already decided I couldn’t meet the challenge. So why bother trying, right?

Slowly, I remembered other times in my life when I‘d experienced similar thoughts and feelings – anxiety, fear, self-doubt, worry, guilt, embarrassment etc. – and believed them to be true. Other times when I’d stopped myself from doing something, even considering it might be possible, because I innocently got caught up thinking about all the ways I could fail!

Suddenly, it no longer made so much sense to believe those self-doubting thoughts. Sure, I still wanted to do the best I could and write a good blog for my friend’s website. But now it made more sense to focus on the task itself, rather than the risk of failure. I felt lighter and more excited. The fun came back into the challenge as I started to think about what I could achieve and how creative I could be, rather than all the ways it might (but probably wouldn’t) go wrong.

So here it is. My first blog. Written with 2 days left in the month, in one 3-hour sitting, at the end of a long day, as I lie in bed with the beginnings of a throat infection. Written for my wonderful friend Marie, who gave me the courage to just relax and trust the process…. and myself.


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