Using Willpower is only one of many ways to achieve our goals and to pursue our desires. Many coaches and motivational speakers would suggest that we need to learn to engage our Willpower to obtain the goals that we set for ourselves.
They teach that we need to push through our procrastination, self-sabotage or anything else that may get in the way of our desires.
I feel that this is certainly ONE way to do things. And for many people it can be a highly effective way to get things done.
When Willpower = Struggle
However, what about those of us that have tried the willpower route and have failed repeatedly? What happens to the person struggling to accomplish but repeatedly can’t seem to have any level of accomplishment in their pursuits?
Here is where I find that the Willpower model breaks down. But fortunately, there is another way and that is using the energy of Allowance.
For many people, allowance means that you simply accept whatever life throws at you. In other words, just be happy with whatever God gives you because He knows what is best for you.
That does NOT match my application of Allowance!
Allowance as Self Acceptance
To illustrate the differences between Willpower versus Allowance we will start with a common desire, to be in a loving relationship.
Willpower suggests that we get out into the world and start dating. Go to places where you can meet eligible men or women and learn how to be engaging and how to flirt.
This is an active strategy using willpower. And the person that is having procrastination or fear to get out into the world must learn to push through their limitations.
To better understand the theory behind Allowance let’s take a closer look at the theory of the Inner Child. Who we are today as an individual is made up of all the experiences, learning, conditioning and hurts from any moment prior to this one.
Acceptance of the Inner Child
An adult woman may have a memory of her father screaming at her as a child. She can still feel the feelings of that moment being frozen in fear and locked in shame. And if this experience was repeated throughout her childhood the little girl may come to the conclusion that her father’s behavior was really her fault.
This “Inner Child” does exist in many adults today. I refer to this as one “Part” of our total being.
In reality, we are just One person. But for the purposes of healing, I will often find it useful to reference the different “Parts” of the self.
In the case of the little girl carrying the shame of her father’s actions, we do NOT tell her that, “It’s not your fault. Your father was just a jerk.”
Instead we validate the feelings of the Inner Child. She feels shame and it is okay to feel shame. We ALLOW the Inner Child to feel the feelings that have been hidden and repressed, sometimes for decades.
By offering the energy of Allowance to the Inner Child we can come to feel secure within our own adult self. The adult self then finds that s/he is free to move forward in taking action towards her desire.
This is a simplified example of Willpower versus Allowance but it isn’t too far off from my actual experiences in working with people.
When we stop trying to overpower the parts of our self that need compassion, we find that we are able to work towards our desires with more of our full self available and participating in the pursuit.
I believe that going beyond using willpower to achieve our goals leads to Personal Fulfillment, which is truly the life that we all desire.