It’s never easy to admit to weakness or vulnerability but today I am because by doing so I am being honest, keeping it real, and by speaking my truth perhaps someone else out there in the big wide cyber-land who reads this may begin to feel that their weakness or vulnerability might not be such a bad thing after all and that right there would make it so worth my while.
Recently I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed. This happens sometimes when life gets a tad too busy for me and lately it has been. There’s been lots of demands on my time, busy’ness in every day, places to be and go, people to meet, things to be done, commitments to be met. Not enough solitude. Not enough quiet time. Activities not spaced out enough but a mass of activities in each day. Not enough time to write, think, edit, plan. Whenever something like this happens these days, I know that I need to put the brakes on and take every opportunity I can to rest and restore, hence why there was only one blog post last week. On this occasion, I’ve decided to look for the lessons and share what I’ve learned.
Regular readers of this blog would know that a few years ago I walked out of my corporate job. I had good reason to. It’s all ancient history now so I won’t go into any of the details except to say that a particular incident brought with it a realisation within me (an ‘Aha moment’ as Oprah would say). That realisation was that these people were not worthy of my time, talents or energy and even more than that was the realisation that I deserved much better, so much better! I went back to my desk, collected my handbag and I walked out, never to return.
Following that walk out, though I knew I had done the right thing for myself, I was very shaken up and I suffered what could best be described as a bit of a breakdown. There were some strong emotions that consumed me and required time to process and work through before I felt able to release them – a sense of injustice, betrayal by people I had trusted, and lots of anger. There was also the loss of my identity. Who was I now? What would I do? Who would I be? What was my purpose now? What would people think of me? What were people saying? I dwelled for quite some time on these things (and more) until eventually I was ready to let it all go. What a beautiful peaceful feeling that was when I could finally let it all go – all those toxic thoughts and emotions gone forever from my body! I felt such freedom.
There were however some fundamental changes within me as a consequence of the chronic stress and trauma I went through. I have had to accept that I will never be that same person again. I don’t mean the me that was in that corporate world, I mean the me that was able to function in that world. The me that could live a fast paced multi-tasking life. She could juggle full-time work with running a home, organising and managing the lives of her three children, being on multiple committees, going to boot camp on Saturday mornings and pilates on a Monday night whilst also keeping up with all her friends and she could do all of it with a laser sharp quick and decisive mind.
You know what though – the me I described above was always so exhausted and she wasn’t truly happy!
There is a new me now!
The new me needs a slower pace of life. The new me becomes overwhelmed and stressed more easily than the old me. The new me has a mind that needs assistance to keep on top of everything. ‘To Do’ lists help keep me on track and all appointments must be added to the calendar in my phone with reminders. Some of this could also be attributed to my 50+ year old perimenopausal brain though! 😉
I’ve recognised that a lot of my overwhelm is self-inflicted, because I set such high expectations for myself. I have a long list of expectations set for myself around blogging, photography (I feel a lot of disappointment in myself here because I have not had time to devote to my photography at all), being a mother, running a home, being a responsible pet owner, my own self care and weight loss, being a good friend, etc. The list goes on! I sometimes forget my current day limitations and set expectations that my old self would probably have met with ease.
Usually I do a pretty good job of keeping up with my blogging related expectations, so long as life doesn’t throw too much else at me that takes up my time and energy! This hasn’t been the case over the last couple of weeks. Sometimes external demands on my time (E) compete with the internal expectations I place on myself (I) and BOOM: E+I = Overwhelm!
So what I have I learnt?
- I’ve learnt that I need to be more flexible with my expectations of myself when it comes to my blog. I do strive for consistency and reliability but perhaps I should do that in a more sustainable way.
- I’ve learnt that for me E+I can = Overwhelm!
- I’ve learnt that when I get overwhelmed, my perfectionism rears its head and bogs me down further.
- I’ve learnt that I am not a recovering perfectionist at all. Though I have shaken off my perfectionist ways in most aspects of my life, I still struggle with my perfectionist expectations when it comes to my work. It slows me down and can at times make tasks seem insurmountable!
- I’ve learnt that I’ve come a long way with my self-care and self-compassion. They know when they are needed and they kick-in automatically.
- I’ve learnt that my brain functions much better when it is well rested and can be useless when not.
- I’ve learnt that this new me is far more switched on to her feelings, weaknesses, vulnerabilities and needs than the old me and that it is a much healthier way to live!
- I’ve learnt some more stuff in order to help others to look after themselves better and you’ve learnt why this is such a passion of mine these days! 😉
It’s not all bad you know! In fact I rather like this new me. She’s more soulful and reflective and softer and caring and sharing! She’s way more kind to herself! She also won’t take any shit from anyone anymore nor will she waste her time with people who don’t help fill her tank or make her feel good! She knows the importance of looking after herself and will do what is needed to be sure she does. Yes, I’m a different version of my former self now but I’m doing what I want to do and life is on my own terms now. I may be poorer in $$’s but I’m richer in Mind, Body & Spirit and that my friends is gold!
Do you get overwhelmed sometimes? Do you know how to manage it? Ever have something happen that has changed who you are?
Ciao for now,
Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT