If shame were a color I think it would be purple, a deep, bruised, enveloping, aubergine. Sometimes tasks that linger on my to-do list can bring on shame. Below are some quick tips for working in the purple.
I found myself a few days ago waiting rather impatiently and hungrily on a burger. As I sat waiting I watched the display screen behind the counter read out orders to the employees. Orders arrived on the screen under a green banner and as they sat waiting to be filled the banner turned from green to blue to orange and finally red. It struck me that my to – do list felt exactly like this display screen.
New tasks arrive on the to – do list fresh and new and full of possibility. They are green, fresh and new and full of possibility. Some are crossed off still in their green state. They are completed quickly and easily. Others sit and stay and roll from day to day. They are the dreaded “to – do’s “ These tend to be tasks that aren’t fun, aren’t easy, require me to step outside my comfort zone or be a beginner. And here is where the display screen and self – sabotage collide.
These tasks that overstay their welcome don’t just stay green they start to turn. Blue still allows promise and hope, orange starts to feel a little like panic. Red is burning and brings on guilt. And finally when the shame sets in they have turned purple.
Purple tasks linger and linger. I carry them with me day to day. Burdening me deep in the pit of my stomach. I let them weigh down my shoulders. I feel a deep sense of shame about both not knowing how to go about doing them and then again for just not doing them. Before long I find myself avoiding my to do list all together. Even easy green tasks don’t get accomplished and the whole proactive habit of keeping a to do list crumbles.
I’ll be honest with you. I haven’t found the perfect way to work in the purple. When these tasks are saddled with shame and guilt I find it even harder to accomplish them. But I have found things that seem to help.
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