I had enough recently. So I stopped. In hindsight I didn’t realize that pause was coming but had a vague awareness of overwhelm creeping up on me, a barely audible whisper telling me I was trying to do too much again, an invitation to give myself a break and regroup.
In the past when I took on too much, I ignored my intuition and plowed ahead with an unconscious belief that I “should” do more as my identity was firmly wrapped around this notion. Does that sound familiar? Do you believe you ARE what you DO? This is very common with perfectionistic and driven types where either emotional validation was limited and/or achievement highly rewarded in their family of origin.
This recent time when I had enough, it was different because I had already learned one of the most life changing lessons there are:
“I am a human being, not a human doing.”
Alas, being a “human being” does not exclude me from the need to earn a living to help support my family. I’m a practicing psychotherapist working with individuals and couples in Marin County, CA. Additionally I am a writer on topics related to emotional and relationship health, the founder of this site, LoveAndLifeToolbox.com, and the author of online helping tools in the form of courses and ebooks. Though related, these are two distinct businesses. My primary income is from my therapy practice and for many years I’ve been slowly developing the other but truth be told, in order to make the online business flourish at the rate and level I would like, it needs to be a sole focus and I’m not willing to ditch my therapy work as I love it!
It’s just me managing this site, I have no team working under me to write and upload new content, respond to emails, be on top of sales and manage the social media. In the last year I began a major expansion including online courses which has challenged my tech-unfriendly brain in the most unpleasant of ways. There have been obstacles and it’s been slower than I had hoped, things remaining on my to-do list, seemingly forever. (Who can relate to the never ending to-do list? But it sure feels good to cross things off, doesn’t it?)
I’m also the mother of a hilarious, intelligent, sporty, baseball playing 12 year old boy on two teams much of the year. In his early years I was his baseball and soccer coach. Now I am involved on his local Little League Board and am the league photographer covering many games a week. I love action photography and shooting these kids. It makes me happy. I’m also a wife, a daughter, a friend, a lover of the outdoors, travel and our dog, Chili.
We as people, at least in the American culture, tend to do and take on a lot. In my therapy practice, I hear the repeat tales of people trying to keep up, do more, do better, manage sports and activities of multiple children and other manifestations of DOING. By the way, there is a big difference between “doing” because you are driven to and “doing” because it feeds your soul.
Give yourself permission to stop and be.
I came to a point recently where this website and my online endeavors felt larger than me and crossed the bridge between bringing me joy to feeling like something looming over me. This is when I stopped. No posts, no social media, no responding to the daily requests to post on this site, advertise (I still do not accept advertisements) and general maintenance. In the last month or so I had a few lingering moments where my fear of loss and defeat kicked in, “What if my traffic drops to zero? What if I fall out of the search engines? What if people don’t come anymore because there has been no new content?”
Ok, so what if?? What would be the worst thing that would happen in the grand scheme of things? When I began writing and tending to this site, all those years ago, I did so out of love and enthusiasm for what I was doing and the education I was providing. This is where I need to be coming from when I focus my energy here. And this is where I am coming from now after Spring break with my family, finally with enough time to regroup. Revitalized and once again, enthusiastic.
There are countless situations where your voice might tell you, you’ve had enough. Are you listening? Whatever your version is of having enough, hopefully it’s something you can give yourself permission to at least pause. Clearly some things in life fall in the “must-do” category for survival. But I do believe people put a huge amount of pressure to do and be in ways that are not healthy. If you can identify this in the first place, it’s a great first step. Next would be an intentional action to honor the fact that you’ve had enough. Take a break to re-energize yourself to jump back in. Or not.
I’m happy to be back and will commit do finding ways to do so that I can manage and if I come to another point where I can’t or no longer feel positive about it, I will take a break again. And it will be ok.
Things often ultimately work out more than our minds let us believe.