In the previous post, I shared my tendency to try to press on and be as productive as possible, even when I’d be better off giving myself time to heal and replenish.
In a nutshell, the refusal to stop and rest is a sign of refusing to accept where I am right now. It’s a form of denial – if I can remain productive, then it must mean I don’t need sleep or rest or whatever, right?
But what’s beneath the refusal to accept where I am right now?
A clue to that lies in where I think I should be. Even as I write this, I think I should be done writing it. I should have the next move for my business figured out already. I should know how to manage my creative energy by now so that I can be more consistent. I should have already finished adjusting to my part-time day job.
Why is it so important to me to get THERE already? What’s so special about THERE?
I think for most of us, the real question is, Who do we believe we will BE once we’re THERE?
What I’ve seen in myself and in my clients quite often is that our desire to get THERE is really about earning love and proving our worth.
From the time we’re very young, we’re taught to believe that Achievement = Self-worth, aren’t we?
If we do the “right” things, we’re praised and rewarded. If we don’t, we’re punished or even shamed.
That’s hard enough, but it’s about a billion times worse when we do something that we believe is the right thing, yet the results feel like we’re being punished. You launch something and hear crickets. You try to exercise and eat right but you still feel exhausted most of the time.
We believe that if we do X, we’ll always get Y, until the day that we get Z instead, and then all hell breaks loose. Because we didn’t want Z at all, and oh shit, what does it say about us that we got Z instead of Y?
When my body was in rebellion and I was sinking into a Dark Night, I kept trying to work. I kept pushing. I kept telling myself that if I kept going just a little longer, things would turn around. My business would grow, life would get easier.
But it didn’t.
And when I was faced with that moment where I knew I could no longer keep pushing, I was filled with a deep sense of failure and shame.
Resting and surrendering were unacceptable because BEING is inferior to DOING. Doing is the only thing that leads to achievement and accomplishment that will show I am of value.
“See? Look what I did. Look how good I am. Look how well I contribute.”
But what kind of dynamic does that mindset create?
It makes the status quo infinitely more appealing than taking any sort of risk. (File under: The Devil You Know…)
It’s like trying to drive around with one foot on the gas pedal and the other on the brake.
We can’t rest because we need to get THERE.
But we can’t head THERE without risking the possibility that maybe we won’t make it. And that’s a crazy big risk to take if our self-worth hangs in the balance. (File under: Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t)
The only way to stop the whiplash-causing herky-jerky stop-and-go is to end the inner conflict. And that inner conflict ends when we truly understand that it’s okay if we keep trying and it’s okay if we stop and rest.
We need to know that we’re completely and thoroughly OKAY regardless of what we do or don’t do.
And by “OKAY” I mean, you are fine, you’re whole and unbroken, you can accept yourself, you don’t have to answer to anyone about whether you are enough.
Isn’t that what we all want, deep down? To know that no matter what – no matter how badly we fuck up our lives and no matter how badly we flake out of opportunities that the Universe has gift-wrapped and handed to us – we are still OKAY?
Sad, angry, frustrated and uncertain at times? Of course. But still enough. Still OKAY.
Can you imagine what it would be like to know down to your bones that you are enough whether or not you ever make your dreams happen? That it doesn’t have any bearing on your worth?
That’s what makes it okay to be exactly where we are, and to let go of any schedule and expectations. (File under: Simple But Actually Ridiculously Fucking Hard)
But how do you do that, when you’ve spent most (if not all) of your life striving to prove your enoughness?
That’s what I’ll talk about next time.
In the meantime…
Here are some questions to ponder about acceptance and enoughness.
Where is THERE for you? Do you have multiple THEREs for different parts of your life (e.g., business, health, relationships)?
What’s your schedule for arriving THERE? Are you already late?
Where did your schedule come from? Are there particular people you’re comparing yourself to? (I often compare myself to people I went to school with, despite the fact that I don’t actually want what they seem to have.)
How do you feel when you’re reminded that you’re not THERE yet? Where do you feel that in your body? (For me this often feels like a pressure in my chest, a bit like I want to scream and yell about not getting what I want.)
Imagine for a moment what it would be like to know you are already enough, simply for who you are, not what you do. Where do you feel that in your body?
Again, no wrong answers. We’re just exploring, so be sure to breathe and be kind to yourself throughout this process.