Procrastination & Wanting to be Liked

procrastinate-now-and-panic-later

If I may speak frankly, I hate the word Procrastination. The act of procrastinating, putting off work that is necessary for me to complete, has filled me with anxiety and fear throughout my life. Lost in thought a few days ago I began wondering, like all tasks that are uncomfortable, did I procrastinate on coming out? Did mere avoidance play a part in not coming out until I was 29 years old? This lead me to further examine my relationship with procrastination and to unearth some old wounds.

In college, I was afraid of not being as good a student as my peers. I was afraid that I was not studying the correct major and that this was the reason I always felt so out of place. I was afraid that I was on the wrong path and that I would never find the right one. I was afraid that I had a concentration problem and that I would never be able to focus on my studies. I was afraid of being a bad student. I was afraid of letting myself down. I was afraid of letting my professors down. I was afraid that my friends would view me as weak and too fragile. I spent a lot of time feeling unsettled, like I was about to fail at every moment. I feared deadlines, papers, tests, and of course, finals.

Looking back on it, these feelings of dread have stayed with me even ten years after college has ended. I’ve never really let myself off the hook for having these feelings in college. I still have not let Adam, age 18 to 22, off the hook for being scared. God, I’ve been so mad at him because he was so scared.

Procrastination became a way to avoid these intense feelings of fear, inadequacy and sadness. I would avoid work by spending time hanging out with friends, talking, laughing, visiting stores to pass time, attending parties and simply walking around campus. Alone I would watch TV and movies, chat online, endlessly Google more entertaining topics and masturbate.

My sophomore year I started seeing a counselor to talk about, what at the time we labeled as, my anxiety caused by my procrastination. On top of everything else I was feeling I began to feel guilt for procrastinating. Obviously procrastinating was something I was doing which was leading me to have trouble in my classes and feel anxious.

Part of the real bitch of procrastination was the wedge it created between me and myself. All of the classes I missed, and all of the work I didn’t complete, became attacks I was personally performing against myself. I became an enemy to me. I was an obstacle between myself and happiness. What a horrible way to feel about yourself. How do you move forward with yourself if you think you are the enemy?

scary ticking clocksTime also became my enemy. Ticking clocks and passing hours brought me closer to failure. There never seemed to be enough time left in the day to finish a task, so why bother even starting it?

 Looking back, I was trying so hard in college. I just wanted people to like me. It felt so important that people like me. I just wanted to be interesting, funny and worth their time. Perhaps school work and classes played second fiddle to this need to be liked. But, in all honesty, does this really make me any different from every other college student in the world?

Now, I wish I could go back and give myself a hug. Tell myself that it will all be ok and let myself know that when it is all said and done college will be a bundle of happy memories. Tell myself that procrastination, and all the fear it covers up, will not define me. And that at the end of it all, what is most important is that I forgive myself for being afraid and being flawed and for deep down just wanting to be liked.

Moving forward, I try to remind myself to not give the word procrastination so much weight. It is, after all, just a word. Remember that it is possible to still be successful and accomplished with occasional procrastination. Give yourself permission to keep going and complete tasks at your pace in your own time. And remember to give yourself credit for the tasks you do complete, they are successes. And it is important to remind myself that everyone procrastinates, and the act of procrastination does not make us bad people or any less worthy of love.

In the end, Gentle Reader, it is important to not procrastinate on loving yourself. Give yourself as much time as it takes. That ticking clock is not judging us.

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Some related articles on Procrastination you may find interesting
Mind Tools: Overcoming Procrastination
Smithsonian.com: Why Procrastination is Good for You

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11 thoughts on “Procrastination & Wanting to be Liked

  1. I think procrastination is something most people struggle with—but, do not fully admit to it. Sometimes the idea of so many items on our agenda blocks us from accomplishing a simple task. It is always best to step back, refocus, and chip-a-way at things piece by piece (not every project needs a sledge hammer) to get the job done! And as you said, never forget to love yourself in the process! Wishing you the best my friend!

    • Absolutely! Piece by piece. Procrastination was always such a mental battle for me. Obviously it was connected to many factors in my daily life, but I was surprised how this post really wrote itself. This was something I have been wanting to talk about out loud for quite some time now. I’m amazed at how emotional this blogging process can be. Great to hear from you my friend!

      • It’s great to have you back writing again! I am so happy things on your journey are beginning to fall into place for you! Just take things day by day as they come! Best wishes my friend!

  2. All that fear, at the end of the day, doesn’t amount to a hill of beans my friend. I appreciate your story and journey, but don’t forget to have fun and enjoy life as well. Whatever you focus on expands, so let procrastinating go sometimes and just dive in.

    • I love your wording here! Hill of beans, amen to that! Looking back on all of that, it truly does amaze me how at the end of it all, the fear really does melt away and the happy memories are what’s left. You are right, life is too short to not enjoy it. I’m happy to be coming out at the other end of this. Thank you so much for your support and comment!

      • Good. Being so cerebral gets lauded as being so noble. But people forget to stop psycho analyzing everything and just have fun. Life is actually for us and on our side but it’s our neuroses that get in the way. Fear, procrastination, anxiety, worrying are all the same words for life killer! 😉

  3. I only procrastinate on unimportant things… Like eating and keeping up to date with the latest movies… No, I think culturally, Asians aren’t allowed to procrastinate.. It’s not in our vocabulary… But I have procrastinated on living my life, always putting things I wanted to do on the back burner, first to finish with uni, then to finish the PhD, then work got in the way… I still haven’t done a lot of things on my list, but I am surprisingly ok with it. I just see it as not a high priority thing, currently sorting out my career is my highest priority and I don’t multi task well.. One thing at a time…

    • Procrastinating on unimportant things is not a bad way to go. However, don’t procrastinate too much on eating. That seems important. lol. You have accomplished a lot career and education wise. I hope you are proud of yourself for that! And as your friend, I give you permission to place procrastinate into your vocabulary, if you want to. 🙂

      • Procrastinating on eating is great… It gives one carte blanche to eat ice cream at odd hours of the day… No matter how much I’ve achieved in terms of my career, I still don’t feel like it’s a lot, especially compared to my cousins, which my parents do a lot…

  4. I think procrastination is totally normal. One of the things that is so awesome about getting older (and there aren’t many, so I celebrate the few!) I don’t beat myself up over procrastination any longer. If it gets done it gets done, if not…. oh well, something more important stood in the way, it is a beautiful thing!

    Don’t stress over it, when you are meant to make something happen you will, procrastination or not!

    • Thank you, Kendall, for your positive and truth filled reply. I think you are right, when we are meant to make something happen then we will. For instance, I was finally meant to reply to your words. I thank you for your support of my blog and for your kind words about my procrastination. I guess we need to just sit back, relax and let life happen as it sees fit. 🙂

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