How to Detox Procrastination - Part 1
Updated: Sep 10
Written by: Yogesh Osher, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
In my 20 years of coaching people, I found that the one single most common problem that stops so many from achieving their life or business goals is the lack of motivation or you can say the tendency to procrastinate. Procrastination can cause damage in every area of life, be it in business, relationships, health, wealth, education or even spirituality. Today I want to share with you a different, unconventional, thought-provoking and even you may say radical approach to this big problem of procrastination.
Firstly let us recognize that emotions are at play with all procrastination. And therefore, awareness of emotions must also be part of the solution. There are two ways you can approach a task, want or should, and the difference is like day and night. The key is to know what kind of approach attitude or mindset, if you like, are you using and what are the emotions involved around the task. In general, with procrastination, I identify three core emotions that accompany the experience, fear, shame and resentment.
These three are deeply interconnected and have been ingrained, in many cases, from early childhood. Yet they are not actually the problem; they are side effects; they can serve and help us to grow in becoming more aligned and fulfilled.
Now you may think what the H is he talking about?! Bare with me. You’ll see what I mean, I’ll elaborate…
The three emotions of fear, shame and resentment are powerful messages from the deeper true self. These emotions are signs that something is not aligned, that there is a gap, that your self-expression and the deeper aspirations are actually different and maybe even contradictory. They can be either a bad sign from the true self that we are NOT being who we really are, or a good sign that we are actually making some productive progress and it feels uncomfortable. In every case, awareness of these emotions helps us move towards a more integrated, authentic and fulfilled life.
Let me explain. The life experience we have is the result of our emotions and the emotions are the fruits of our perspectives, and our perspectives are created by the ways we’ve learned to view the world and ourselves. The good news is that we can re-learn to see the world and ourselves in a way that serves us rather than hurts us.
If you experience procrastination, it means that you keep entertaining a familiar way of viewing yourself and the world, even if it is outdated and painful. In turn, this fosters the three emotions to cycle through and makes it even harder to do what you want to do or get where you want to get. But this is not always bad. Because if you’re not aligned with your true self, you’ll be just compounding suffering for yourself. For example, a person with high artistic nature may feel fear and think they ‘should’ be making money, so they adjust to a job that has no artistic avenue, and they will slowly but surely feel more and more resentful, and inwardly ashamed of not being true to their calling.
Today I’ll go deeper into looking at the first emotion, shame, and its two functions. But firstly, let’s look at what is the ‘True Self’?
The ‘True Self’ is that sense of ‘I’ that is deeper than the perspectives and behaviors that we may adopt to please others to conform and be accepted by family, friends or society. True self is not a face to the world, neither good or bad. It is the deeper truth we experience in a given situation. This true self is made by the inner aspirations and a value system that we innately have. That’s not to be confused with the morals we learned or the world rules we uphold, but an inner knowing that is simply here.
Now back to the first emotion attached to procrastination, shame. Shame is the feeling of I am not OK, I am not good enough, I am inadequate, or flowed. Shame is triggered when there is a split between the emotional experience and the superimposed idea of how ‘should’ I be.
In a radically individualistic world, we may get a message that we are never good enough on the one hand and that we are entitled to everything on the other hand. Believing either or both of these ideas will inevitably arise shame as we deeply know that both are not true. Not good enough is a message, so many people have internalized and have to spend the rest of their lives proving wrong by achieving more and more. The external achievements however, can never fulfill the deeper longing for feeling ‘good enough’. Rather the opposite may happen. The more you rely on external approval, accreditation, recognition, or admiration, the more vulnerable and the more dominant is your pride and the weaker becomes the inner sense of ‘I’.
Shame that I am not what I ‘should’ be or shame that I am what I ‘should’ be. Are two opposing functions of shame and tell us two very different messages! One is external shame or false shame, and the other is inner shame or true shame.
When we are alienated from our true selves, we hold a facade of personality, say high achiever or expert or master or teacher or anything that is not truly integrated. We then experience a gap, and we know it. We know that we are false, and we feel shame and want to avoid the falseness.
But here is the catch! We may also feel shame when being honest and true to who we are, because we think we 'should' be something else. And as long as we hold that 'should', we will suffer persisting procrastination habits, and we will not be free to be ourselves or interact honestly.
The opposite case may be that we are aligning to ourselves and then stand out from the crowd, becoming no longer the 'normal'. We then become uniquely differentiated from others and may have conflict with people or culture around us. This can trigger shame too, but this shame is false and can be transformed by going deeper and knowing your inner aspirations and, most importantly, by the rejection of 'shoulds'. (Detoxing the root cause of Procrastination).
So shame in itself is not the problem. The actual problem is the 'should' and the gap that this should presents and superimposes on our true self's authentic expression. To overcome this, you'll have to do the work of detoxing the 'shoulds'. That means to look deeply into each 'should' that you may carry and examine it with your adult eyes and think, do I really want to carry this 'should' or not? Does it actually have anything to do with who I truly am and what I truly value?
When you have an awareness of emotions at work, you can DETOX yourself from 'shoulds,' and you'll have more chance of aligning your actions with who you really are. When your 'shoulds' are detoxed, you remain with an honest want or don't want. This dramatically empowers you and reduces or even eliminates your Procrastination.
If you’re successful in overcoming false Shame, than the next enemy is fear. And this will be the topic of our next article. We will explore fear of being your true self vs. the fear of not being your true self.
Remember, Awareness gives you Choice, and Choice leads you to productive Action!
For more information, visit https://www.livingtotalwellness.live/detoxpro
Yogesh Osher, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Yogesh Osher holds a Masters Degree in Gestalt Therapy. He is a highly skilled Gestalt therapist and group facilitator as well as a certified Wellness Coach and Yoga teacher and a Detox Practitioner (Dip. Natural Therapeutics). He is the founder of Living Total Wellness and a co-founder in the global naturopathic movement of Natural Yogic Treatments. In the past two decades, he has been studying, practicing, and teaching Zen, Tantra Yoga Meditation, Gestalt Therapy and Functional Medicine. His life purpose is true wellness. Engaging a synergetic synthesis of east and west, and drawing on methodologies, practices and systems that bring real results. He currently offers online wellness programs integrating personal growth with detoxification and lifestyle changes. He brings a spiritual outlook to promote lasting transformations in the life of his clients. Using gestalt process, self-empowerment and practical wellness, Yogesh promotes a heartfelt integration and elevation of life as a whole.