The Dreaded Story of Just

The Dreaded Story of Just

How often have you tried to start something by saying to yourself:

“I should just do that thing.”?

Unfortunately, the phrase rarely, if ever, gets you moving. Instead, you might slump into a pile and call yourself lazy.

While trying to get yourself to work, you’ve introduced an insidious culprit – the word “just”.

It so readily slips into our speech. It’s as if we’re trying to say that the work is easy. Using “Just” is often an unconscious attempt to trivialize the difficulty of the work.

It’s not easy. We know it when we hit a wall. But since the word is so often unconsciously invoked, we don’t see the wall.

Just is a gatekeeper. By ignoring “Just”, we allow it to keep us in the world we know, protecting us from dreaded feelings, albeit at the cost of self-esteem. It is a sentinel of procrastination, guarding us against actually examining any ghosts of negative emotions we fear lurk within the work.

Since we don’t know what is “just” keeping us from doing it, a sense of incapability and inferiority creeps in, but at least we’ve saved ourselves from the dreaded unknown of the work.

Just is a guardian of the First Act, protecting us from some worrying feelings but also keeping us from the solutions we may seek, much like any form of procrastination.

But when you know its magic, you can dispel it. Now, when you see the word “just”, you can see the wall, often a puzzle of emotion standing between you and the thing to do.

By singling out the word “just” in the sentence, we can reframe it as a place of exploration. “What are the feelings of the work?” Further, “What is it about that thing that conjures those feelings?”

By sitting with the work and allowing our sense of it to appear, we might start wondering, “If I tried, would my inability reveal itself? By doing this, am I just bowing down to someone else’s whims? Would I expose myself to boredom?”

We can start finding where we feel unable and begin practicing to become able. We can consider how we have taken on responsibilities and where our decisions were in that process. We can face the fears in renegotiating agreements and more.

None of these are simple questions to answer, but starting tells Just to step aside so we may enter Act II.

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