I wanted to write about S L O W I N G D O W N this week because I myself really needed to hear this advice this week. Things have gotten a bit busier at my workplace-- OK a lot busier-- and I was noticing that I was winding myself up more and more. No one was breathing down my throat per se, yet I was getting wound up tighter and tighter, just like a wind-up toy.
Why do we do this to ourselves, I wonder? Because I was pretty sure I wasn't the only one doing this. I think women especially push ourselves to an extreme degree.
As I mentioned, if no one was screaming at me to push myself harder, then that must mean that I was pushing myself an unhealthy amount. It could certainly be traced back to my high standards of perfection and high level of responsibility. I didn't want to let anyone down and I felt the need to go above and beyond what was asked of me. Where did this intensity come from?
I've learned from 20+ years in my counseling community that these hard core patterns are born from early childhood experiences. There's a reason why we are the way we are. So where had I picked up this pattern of pushing myself extremely hard.
I think this need to push myself, to prove myself to myself and others, was from not feeling worthy enough myself, just the way I was. Just being little old Shiuan wasn't enough. I had to do something, useful, helpful. Just sitting around, basking in my own presence as a little one wasn't enough. Sometimes things aren't a direct literal path. But certainly abandonment, abuse can easily cause a young one to blame themselves for the bad things that are happening around them, that it's something they did that is causing them to be mistreated. And thus, later on to be pushing themselves as hard as they were pushed when they were young.
Instead of treating little Shiuan like the precious gem that I was, I now push myself just like how I was being mistreated then, I'm almost mistreating myself now the same way.
So then begs the question: If I were to treat the present Shiuan, as the precious gem that I am, what would I do different? How would I treat myself?
There are already plenty of things I do in thinking about my health now: trying to think about my eating, starting a strength training program, taking a lunch break.
But all the other hours in the day, what if I didn't push myself 180%? Here's a few thoughts:
1. I would acknowledge and give space to my feelings more.
2. I would take regular moments to breathe, and check in with myself, say "hi, how's it goin in there?"
3. I would say much more often: "This is enough, what you've done is enough, it will be OK."
If you were to treat yourself as if you were the precious gem that you know underneath you are --- what would you do differently? How would you go about your day differently?
Comment below! I'd love to know!