We live in a culture where people are continually pushed for more. And more. And more. It seems more days than not, we consider a person successful when they’re working 60 hours a week. It’s like a competition to see who is more worn down and tired. If you’re refreshed, you must not really be working that hard. If you’re not pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion, you’re doing something wrong.
I used to think this too. I think in some ways, I do still feel the grip of that definition of success on myself because I am surrounded by people who also feel similarly. We’re all wrong though.
Perhaps you can relate, but I’ve gone to bed many nights, taking my makeup off in the mirror and actually wondering who was staring back at me. I’ve pushed myself to my limits. I think I’ve actually pretty much done that for the past several years, when I look back on everything.
The fact of the matter is, you can’t operate at full-tilt all the time. That’s not the point. You can’t run yourself ragged constantly in an effort to appease whatever someone else’s definition of yourself and your success is. You just can’t do that. Eventually you will stop, you will crash and you will burn – likely taking some other things with you as a casualty.
There are two things I always remind myself, and I’ve had to really remind myself of these things lately.
You are not required to light yourself on fire in order to keep other people warm.
You can’t take care of other people until you’re taking care of yourself.
I’m sure you’ve heard something similar with respect to the above. We hear them. We read them. We sure don’t implement them though, do we.
I used to think “power of yes” or “maybe if I just say yes it will challenge me and make me happy.” Here’s the thing though – you don’t have to do things that don’t make you happy. If you don’t find value in it, what’s the point? Chances are, you’re not going to fully invest yourself in those things anyways, so why are you wasting your time and other people’s time by doing them? I’m not saying you’re going to be passionate about everything. I am certainly not passionate about doing the dishes or folding laundry and I am exceptionally NOT passionate about putting clothes away. You do them though because maybe you’re particularly inclined to eat off clean plates and wear clean clothes. Maybe these things are the supporting acts of the items that you do feel passionate about.
I’m talking about the things you really just don’t want to do. They aren’t true to you. You’re doing them but you’re not being honest with yourself about them. What are those things? Why the heck are you doing them? What could you be doing in those moments that is actually something you care about? Why aren’t you doing that?
Just tell people no. I realized a while back that sometimes when I get around certain groups of people, I mold straight into listening about their complaining in life. I realized that I actually complain more around them. Nothing is positive. I can’t find the good in anything and some of the comments said border on being extremely insensitive and rude. That is not my personality, but I love the people and I want to get a long with them because of that.
But I am not going to do that anymore. I’m saying no. I can’t live in a negative space like that. My life is not about complaining. It’s about venting for 5 seconds, being a real human being with weaknesses and then finding a solution.
Even something as small as seeing people on my Facebook timeline comment things that are not in line with my viewpoints (nope, I am not talking about those people that have an intellectual discussion, I’m talking about those people that share unsubstantiated memes). I could feel my blood boiling. Literally boiling. I kept them on as friends because they’re family.
Nope. I am saying no to that. It doesn’t mean that I won’t be pleasant when I see them. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about them. It means for me, I don’t want to see that garbage. I don’t want it to take up space in my head. I am saying no to letting that have an effect on me or my life.
Say no. Reclaim your power. If you want to say yes, say yes. But if you don’t, stop doing that to yourself. You know yourself best. You know what you can handle. When you feel like you’re spinning in a thousand different directions, stop and re-center, focus yourself and actually do what makes you happy, not just what it is expected of you.