“I turn myself off by…”

In an interview with Krista Tippett on the On Being podcast, psychotherapist Esther Perel talked about what gets in the way of desire.

She said: “So the question I ask, sometimes, is:

“I turn myself off by …” or “I turn myself off when …”

My answer: I turn myself off when…. I worry about my child.

I worry about my child.
I know I do. Yet, it took the framing of that statement to help me see how worry is impacting how I am.

It took the framing of that statement for me to see the two “I’s” pointing right at me. Not someone or something else.

I turn myself off when I worry about my child.

Worry has my full attention. Worry has my energy!

I started seeing that worrying was turning me off in other ways too. Making me less effective, less productive, less creative. Simple things even… like calling the builder to get a quote or finishing my tax return. Things I could do but will put off for another day when I feel more “up to it” because today … I worry.

If Esther had instead said, “What turns me off is….” or “You turn me off when…” – I would have found something outside myself to blame. And I’d be none the wiser…

Esther Perel goes on to say when people finish the sentence “I turn myself on when….” – all the answers are about aliveness. “I turn myself on when I listen to music, when I dance, when we have time together”. It’s about the permission to feel good. In contrast “I turn myself off when…” is about some element that shuts us down.

Worrying shuts me down.

It doesn’t solve a thing.

It stifles my desire …  

It narrows my mind and constricts my heart …

It leaves me weaker.

I encourage you to finish these prompts yourself.
Maybe desire isn’t an issue for you.
Maybe it’s something else.  

Philippians 4:6-9 MSG

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

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