Is it just me or is it really easy to overcommit and find yourself neck-deep in obligations before you realize what’s going on? You feel super-busy (not in a good way) and are becoming increasingly irritable. Something’s gotta give, but you’re a person of your word and so your current plan is to just stick it out until….
Until what? That’s the problem, isn’t it? How will you escape? What exactly is your exit strategy? Chances are you haven’t thought much about it other than “someday this will all be over, and I will be so relieved.” As much as good things come to those who wait, great things come to those who know what they want and speak up for themselves.
You oscillate between thinking, “I said I would do this, so it’s my duty to be reliable and follow through,” and “OMG, this is too much for me. I’m somewhere between irritable and resentful, and any given straw could be the one that breaks the camel’s back.” You’re suffering in silence, doing it all yourself, and secretly wishing someone would sweep in and take over for you. The thing is, nothing changes this way. You just keep pushing and hoping and suffering. And that’s no way to live.
When a perfect solution doesn’t spontaneously come to mind, we often squash the idea of wanting change entirely. There’s this unspoken pressure to have it all figured out if you’re even going to allow yourself to want something. The voice in your head, as well as the one that addresses the outside world, begins to say things like, “I don’t have a choice,” or, “Nobody else will do it,” or, “I’m the one holding it all together, so I just have to suck it up.”
It’s uncomfortable to realize that things aren’t going the way we’d like, and it’s very common to squash it all down before it gets too real. I speak to so many people who talk themselves out of complaining, out of wanting more.
Do we not feel that we deserve better?
Are we not worthy of our own desires?
Many of us have internalized the message that it’s not nice to complain. It’s greedy to want more. We should always keep the peace and never rock the boat.
It’s so important to wade into the discomfort. Not having what we want doesn’t feel good, but we’ve got to start somewhere. We have to give ourselves permission to want something different in the first place.
The solution won’t arrive fully assembled. It’s more like a dresser from Ikea – it’s lovely, but when you open the box it just all seems like an intimidating mess.
In order to figure out how to complete it, you’ve just got to start. It will come together as you go. A stressed out mind is not a particularly creative mind.
Giving yourself the space to just explore what you want without needing to act on it helps you unplug from stress and relax open, which is when new ideas can arise.
When you find yourself stuck in a commitment with no way out, start by figuring out what you want, regardless of whether it feels realistic or not. It’s not important that you know exactly how to make it happen at this stage. The main thing is to get clear on your desired outcome.
You’ll know you’ve landed on the truth when your body physically relaxes.
There’s a tangible sense of relief when we identify the truth. When you take the time to let it land in your bones, sweet relief arrives and you’re out of the stress zone. From this new state, the brain is better equipped to think broadly and deeply, coming up with new ideas.
In the words of Martin Luther King Jr…
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”