Increasingly, people who are experiencing an emotional problem are being advised to “do things”.
In my practice and in other areas of my life, I meet people who have been advised by the rule “do, fill your life with actions, just don’t get paralyzed”.
But a life with personal meaning does not consist of doing for the sake of doing . It doesn’t consist in filling your suitcase with things, in filling it with whatever or with what others consider. It consists of filling your suitcase with the things that matter to you, that represent you.
Thich Nhat Hanh says, “My actions are my only true experiences.
Some people have become great “doers”, even so great that if they have nothing to do they become distressed. Filling their days with endless tasks, but without stopping to assess whether they are actions that enrich them , that bring them closer to the life they want, if they are actions that connect them. They only do them in response to the norm “fill your life, do”.
When the person trapped by “doing” finds himself again, (there is always a moment with a hole of inaction in which the consciousness takes advantage of it to show you how your life is going) it is likely that he will feel a vital deposit of dissatisfaction, like an inner emptiness, with the sensation of not arriving, of running without reaching, without stopping, trapped by the rush to go anywhere.
The emotional void
Viktor E. Frankl comments: “Sunday-school neurosis, that kind of depression that afflicts people who realize the lack of content in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the emptiness inside them is manifesting itself.
I call it “the void of action void of coherence”. Even if the action coincides with the person, as it is out of his intentional and conscious choice, the person is not aware of his value .
And beyond the action, there is the meaning of it, if it truly represents you.
Many “Doings” are governed by the automatic pilot, by inertia, by haste , by escaping from a feeling, by an infinity of causes, that have nothing to do with what one would choose to do.
I am not talking about great actions, I am talking about the day to day, the greatness that is in living, that is in the small actions of the day. As a gesture that connects you, for example, with respect, if respect were an important value for you. This gesture can range from recycling a sheet of paper, thanking people, treating customers with kindness at work, listening without interrupting, not making a mess of the environment… Like a kiss you give a child by looking into his eyes, looking at his face, feeling his skin and without saying “come on, hurry up” by giving him an automatic kiss empty of presence.
You could fill pages and pages with ideas; that’s what personal values have, they are directions, and there are always ways to cultivate them. They say that often there is something extraordinary, that what happens is that sometimes we do not realize it.
Shares from stocks
The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) talks about Committed Action : proposing goals guided by values and getting involved in actions to develop them. Carrying out actions guided by our most personal and significant values, actions in which we are present and committed.
Only through the actions in which we are present and connected can we establish a meaningful life.
What can we do about this doing?
Ask yourself about your values, about your coherence, about what really matters to you . How do I want to be? Regardless of my thoughts and emotions, how do I want to be in this situation, with this person, with this event, with this place… What flavor do I want to leave?
For example: with my child, how do I want to be as a mother/father? What do I want to be by his side? What for? Let’s say your answer is: I want to give him affection and help him to be independent and to love himself. Being aware of how you want to be brings you closer to the compass for choosing actions that are consistent with you.
Let’s suppose a day-to-day situation : daughter learning to put on her shoes. If I tie her shoes in a hurry, am I helping her to be independent? If I correct her very often and say she is clumsy, am I helping her to love herself? And to be independent? And with me, am I getting closer to the mother/father I want to be?
But… What if I let him try to tie his shoes, dedicating a stipulated time, without haste, with a license so that he can make a mistake and with the opportunity to try again, doing it with complicity and shows of affection? Do you think that this action makes sense to you? Is it consistent with you, with your values?
The what is of great importance, but in many occasions the how is even more important . How do I want to do it? Imagine that your answer is: with love and patience. Now look within yourself, in your personal baggage you have multiple actions to choose from. Get out of the should’s, the have’s and listen to your “I want’s”.
There’s a significant difference between telling you “I should do…” “I have to…” to tell you “I want to do…” and listen to you. The “I want” takes you out of the crippling demands and brings you closer to what you really care about, nurturing and connecting.
Filling our life with actions that represent us
I am an ACT psychologist, and a Mindfulness accredited teacher by Respira Vida breathworks, as well as director of the Estrada Psychology and Mindfulness Purification Center . I also instruct mental health professionals in the acquisition of practical tools so that they can apply in therapy exercises and dynamics that lead to real solutions in the lives of their patients. My job as a therapist is to help people choose to help people connect with themselves, to help them become more free.
I am currently writing my first book , full of experience, practice and usefulness for life. A book that helps to clarify, that doesn’t tell you what to do, that respects you and helps you to connect or help others to connect with their values, to choose and to get closer to the person you want, that they want to be.
A book based on scientific evidence, nuanced from one’s own clinical and personal experience, founded on a rigorous training, and above all a book that is being built With-Science and With-Heart. You can see my contact details by clicking here.