Slaying the dragon

A couple of weeks ago I had one of those life changing ah-ha moments. You know the ones you get when suddenly the world stops and everything goes still.

I’d realised that I’m a chronic overcommitter (yep, new word!). I always take on way too much. I’m always trying to find more time in the day, whether it be stay up late or get up super early to squeeze all that I have overcommitted to, into an unrealistic time frame.

It’s infuriating and on the surface I have no idea why I do it. When I’m in the worst of it I swear I won’t do it again and then lo and behold a few months later and I’m right back there again.

Can you relate? Have you got something similar going on?

I’ve tried it all.

  • Writing a to-do list (fail – I always lose it).

  • Better managing my calendar (fail - I never look at it).

  • Schedule my week (fail - I change my mind on what I feel like doing).

  • Accepting that I like to work under pressure (fail - I feel terrible when I’m under that type of pressure).

  • Managing my energy instead of my time (better – but I still have too much to do for the waking hours I want to keep).

As I’ve been pondering, contemplating, journaling and doing a few energetic exercises around this I had a few realisations before hitting the big one.

  • My life has been defined by busyness. My mum NEVER sat down. In school holidays we had to help her do useless jobs like polish the silver before wrapping it back up for next school holidays cleaning regime. Yup, we didn’t actually use it. I was the same with my kids (minus the useless jobs of course).

  • ·There was no resting in our house unless you were sick. No lounging around watching TV. No hanging in your pj’s as until lunchtime and no nighttime TV until the dishes were done, the house tidy and any homework done. I still struggle with dirty dishes and if I’m not sure about something I procrasta-clean (another new word).

  • I’ve only recently given myself permission to listen to the radio in the car. Prior to that it was a podcast, multitasking at its most efficient. And, this is only ONE example!

So, as I’ve been focussing on this, I’ve been uncovering a whole bunch of useless and limiting beliefs. Beliefs like:

  • You can rest when you’re dead (Whaaat?)

  • If you’re not doing something you’re wasting time and don’t deserve to be happy (Really?)

  • If you keep yourself really busy, then you have a good excuse not to deal with the really hard stuff (Yikes, true but those hard things really do need to be addressed with thought and proper consideration).

  • Busyness means you have a purpose and if you don’t have a purpose then why are you here anyway. (Ohhh, here we go….. worthiness is attached to busyness).

So, as I’ve broken down this pattern of behaviour, dug deep to uncover what lies beneath it I can now see what I really dealing with and therefore make the changes I need to live life the way I want to.

I need unravel the knot that I’ve created where busyness is tied to worthiness. Where busyness means overcommitting, feeling overwhelmed and stressed and therefore not really enjoying life in the way that I should. Always being too busy to do things others invite me to do. Putting things off until the busyness passes. Feeling anxious and overwhelmed and so not giving the hard and complex things in life the time and space they need to be resolved in a heartfelt and loving way.

So, as I start to unpack what busyness really means to me, I can finally see how I use it as an avoidance strategy. And, it comes at a high price. A price I’m no longer prepared to pay.

  • I don’t need to have a to do list.

  • I don’t need to have a full calendar to be allowed to take up space in this world.

  • My identify isn’t what I do.

  • I give myself permission to rest and to play.

  • I have a purpose in life and I don’t need to be busy to live it.

What dragons are you slaying?

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