I confess to you that I've been struggling with writer's block for longer than I'd like to admit. There is a part of me that loves to write, but avoids it like the plague because I hate the feeling of sitting down to a blank page and feeling stuck.
When I do finally sit down to contemplate, the wheels of my mind grind away, offering potential topics. A part of me shoots down every suggestion that my creative mind comes up with. "Hmm, no that won't work." or "No, that's not interesting." or "Is that subject appropriate?" Then a news line pops up on my phone and before I know it I am staring into the back of my refrigerator, pulling out creamer for a cup of coffee while I surf the internet.
To make a little sense of my writer's block dilemma, Martha Beck helps me in her book, Finding Your Own North Star, where she writes that "we all have a psychological tendency to give unwarranted power to certain individuals." She calls those individuals our 'Everybody'. More accurately, the rejections in my head are inserting this 'Everybody'. "That's not interesting to 'Everybody'.'' or "Is that subject appropriate to 'Everybody'?" Suddenly, I am seated on trial across from my personal panel of judges, trying to avoid their disapproval.
If you've ever been stopped in your tracks because "But what will 'Everybody' think?", then you've experienced this too. Martha suggests that getting rid of the 'Everybody' is nearly impossible, as every human being psychologically protects themselves this way. However, the members of the Everybody panel can be replaced for the better.
Take a moment and see if you can pare down who really makes up your 'Everybody'. You may find it's basically a mix like; your father, your friend group at the gym and your co-worker in the marketing department who freely vocalizes all of his opinions. Think about whose voices form your inner criticisms.
For example, let's say you struggle with the idea "I deserve a life of joy and fulfillment." Then think for a moment, who in your life has told you that you don't deserve a life of joy and fulfillment? A caretaker? A church leader? a specific culture? Write those down. Then, see if you can think of the people in your life who have voiced that you deserve a life of joy and fulfillment, this may be a bit more challenging, but list those people on the other side of the page.
Then evaluate, which group of people would you have more respect for, want to spend time with, have fulfilling lives themselves, or would you trust to raise your child? Start to dwell on those voices as your 'Everybody'. Write down what they said, speak it to yourself, let their affirmations ring in your mind, until they begin to quiet down the critical voices.
This is a beginning of an exercise you can use to exchange your 'Everybody'. As you desire to press towards something new in your life that is calling you, you may find that you are having blocks too. Could it be that it's time to evaluate and replace your 'Everybody' for a better one? Who doesn't need more positive voices in their corner to help them along, right?
Following Your Own North Star has many more exercises like this that promote change on a heart level. They are especially powerful when you do them with the support of a coach or a small group. If you are interested to be freer to live your potential, Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on getting individual coaching or joining an upcoming small group to go through the book and exercises together.