Can you imagine, if Captain Sensible was one of the Avengers? Spiderman would be swinging from lamp-post to lamp-post, with Captain Sensible running along behind yelling “Get down from there, you’ll hurt yourself!“. Or Iron Man would be preparing to don his suit, and Captain Sensible would yell “Get away from that, it’s dangerous!”
How often do you feel like you have to be Captain Sensible, over-riding your own hopes, dreams, and needs? How often do you hear yourself saying “I can’t”? What seemingly sensible excuses do you use? Time? Money? Family? Judgement from others?
You know it takes courage to stand up to others, but how often have you considered the courage it takes to stand up to yourself? Sometimes we make assumptions that stop us from changing because change is hard. Change is dangerous. Right? Those assumptions are supposed to keep us safe. Or sometimes we make assumptions that stop us from acting because we can’t trust that something bad won’t happen.
“Don’t do it, it will be too expensive!” Danger! Danger! “Don’t do it, what will your family say?” Danger! Danger! And that old chestnut, “Don’t do it, you don’t have time!!”
Thoughts Aren’t Facts
Because these thoughts are internal to ourselves, it’s easy to just roll over and believe them as fact. “I can’t take the family away for the weekend, I have too much to do!” … Boooot, booot, boooot, danger, danger, danger! … Those supposed-to-keep-us-safe assumptions are really just “what if” scenarios. They are really just fear and anxiety yelling at us to stay safe! “What if I can’t get all my work done?” “What if people judge me?” “What if, what if, what if!”
Sometimes our inner Captain Sensible, while honourably trying to keep us safe, is really jumping up and down in fear, taking our attention away from our Inner Wisdom. Because often times, our Inner Wisdom is right, and that seems threatening to Captain Sensible.
Let me give you a personal example.
I have been given the opportunity to travel to Las Vegas for a conference next month. I so wanted to go, knew in my heart of hearts it was a great opportunity, but I kept saying “I can’t”.
“I can’t afford it.” … “I can’t take the time away from work.” … “I can’t because my kids need me.” … “I can’t because people will think I’m a bad parent.” … “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.”
But I would go to sleep thinking about it. And I would wake up thinking about it. I REALLY wanted to go. I really KNEW I’d regret it if I didn’t. I really KNEW this was an opportunity for me to grow in lots of ways. This was a conference I just KNEW I had to attend. My Inner Wisdom was nagging at me, but I was in danger of turning a deaf ear in favour of listening to Captain Sensible. So this morning I politely asked Captain Sensible to stand down for a moment so I could have a look at those excuses I’d made and really evaluate each on their merits.
Turns out the airfare I’d assumed to be astronomical actually wasn’t impossible. And that’s what credit cards are for, right? Turns out that the time spent travelling will give me the perfect uninterruptable opportunity to write the training program I never seem to get time to write. Turns out my kids are excited for me to go and have started calling me Tess Vegas! And I know I’m a great parent, so why start worrying about what others think now?
So it would seem I can, I can, I can! Thanks, Inner Wisdom, you were right! I’m going to Vegas!!
Finding Your Inner Wisdom
Think of all those times you’ve soldiered on at work, despite being sick with a cold. What happens when you finally succumb to illness and take a day off to stay home in bed and recover? Does the sky fall in? Do you get the sack? Does your workload explode overnight? No. You only feared that it would, because that’s what Captain Sensible was trying to convince you of. But you eventually listened to your Inner Wisdom and took the time to let your body recover. And the sky didn’t fall in after all, did it?
Now think of something you’d really like to do. Something that’s for you, whether it’s studying, travelling, going to the gym, or writing your life story. What’s the first “can’t” that pops into your head? Is it one of Captain Sensible’s usual arguments? Is it fear-based?
Instead of making fear-based assumptions that are holding you back, do some research. What would your partner REALLY think if you took a day for yourself to relax? What would your boss REALLY say if you asked for some holiday leave? What would REALLY happen if you took half an hour each day to just start writing that book? Would people REALLY think you were rude if you spoke up during those meetings at work?
We all have our own version of Inner Wisdom, but sometimes we can’t hear it speaking its truth to us. Take some time to tune in, whether that be via journaling, meditating, or taking a walk in the sunshine. Whatever works for you, do that thing to attune your ear to your Inner Wisdom. You might be surprised by what you hear.
You might need to find the courage to tell Captain Sensible to shut up first!
Go on, I bet you can!