Wait, what happened? I’m actually…doing some stuff??
Barely a week after proposing that Watching a Lot of YouTube May Not Be Procrastination, I find small changes in my attitude and behaviour are affirming this.
Over the past week, I’ve done little things, not always very significant things, but they are things that focus more on looking after myself and my life. One example is that yesterday I actually left the house for something other than work or grocery shopping. It was still shopping, but, for almost a year, now, I’ve started many days with the intention of shopping for some necessary item (new runners/sneakers, new mattress etc.) but never actually left the house. In fact, even going grocery shopping tends to get put off until I’m almost out of food, and sometimes even after I have no food and I survive on snacks. Now, that’s a diet to set me up for success…
Another example is that I took a suggestion from a minimalism YouTube video I saw and did some tidying up before going to bed rather than leaving it to tomorrow. I may not manage that every night, but it was a little bit awesome the difference starting the following day with less-cluttered spaces made to my attitude and feelings when I got up.
Now, I realise that these things aren’t Earth-shattering in any way, but they indicate a small, positive shift in my attitude and health. My health is definitely a significant factor, here, but the fact remains that I also haven’t had any real desire to do anything. I have wished I would do things, wished I would want to do things and wished things were already done, but haven’t actually wanted to do.
Watching online videos is an easy, passive way to spend time. In the past I have spent many hours watching online videos and, no matter how inspired I felt, have not always changed my behaviour. As I said, though, sometimes we are in a stage of preparation or contemplation and it’s the best time to be patient rather than feel, frustrated, stagnant or begin to self-blame for inactivity. Honestly, I think I’m still mostly in that preparation phase, but I can feel how spending my time watching lots of videos of other people doing things in various ways has helped to shift my current attitude from getting gratification through reading manga and web novels to getting gratification from doing things.
After writing the previous blog post, I wondered if it sounded as if I was making excuses. A tiny but persistent part of me shook its finger and tried to admonish that I really was only trying to make myself feel better while ignoring all the negative things about my behaviour that I should feel ashamed for.
I need to trust my kind voice much more. While I’m still very far from living what most people would consider a properly-functioning lifestyle right now, it’s clear that it really is OK to be patient and gentle with myself as I very, very slowly go through a low period in my life.
I need to trust myself more. I need to have more faith that, in fact, the “excuses” I make aren’t excuses but really are explanations, things that are temporarily holding me back, and that I will do better. It’s alright to believe in positive thoughts about myself, rather than exalting the negative concepts of myself that pessimistically take hold.
I wrote in my rambly personal, blog last June:
It feels like, if I allow myself to merely think that perhaps I was headachey today because I have a tendency towards headaches and it was just one of those days, [this] balanced thought will actually be too indulgent and will reinforce habits of always having excuses for not doing things, for giving up on things, for lazing around and for not needing to put any effort into my health, fitness or general wellbeing. It feels like [allowing] one thought that isn’t stern and strict will turn me into a hopeless blob.
Some things that have really changed in the last few weeks are that my recent back injury has improved greatly, I’ve been getting some teaching work (which is beginning to help regulate my sleep), and the weather has been milder (I have never coped well with heat). These are just some of the things (or lack of things) that I genuinely feel have been making things more challenging for me. I always find, though, that it’s hard enough convincing myself that these aren’t just excuses. It’s even worse because I feel that there are important people in my life who aren’t really able to understand how hard or inadvisable it is for me to stoically push forward and do everything. Although they don’t give me grief about it, and may even try to show sympathy, they often subconsciously convey this subtle judgement. It’s quite difficult for my already fairly weak self-kindness to stand up to this feeling of judgement.
But, you see! You see! One key thing that has been improving recently is my health. It’s only slight, and it’s still pretty unresilient, but it is better than it was. And, this improvement is having a direct effect on the small things I’m starting to do.
So, you see, all of these things are not excuses. They are genuine blocks and hindrances, and it’s alright for me to acknowledge these as such, without needing to berate myself with inflated self-negativity and blame.