ALL THE GOOD FEELINGS – RIGHT?
You know that feeling you get when you push and push and push to do all the things and make all the magic.
That feeling when you know your list has been ticked and you can take a breath for five minutes and you give yourself a high five! The washing is done, you remembered the margarine at the supermarket and you’ve managed to pack all the lunches for the next day of school. Healthy ones!
Or that feeling when you’ve worked so damn hard to hit the target, and if you’re lucky, you get a pat on the back. Then added to that, when you feel rewarded when you get handed the next big thing to achieve because you’re the (wo)man and you can make the magic happen.
I know it well. It has been me for longer than I even care to remember or know! 100+ mental tabs open in my head at any given moment. I am more than capable of managing a heavy load.
Until I am not!
INSERT THE ‘AH HA’ MOMENT
A couple weeks ago, I was scrolling my Insta feed, aimlessly most likely. Then Lisa Corduff stopped my scroll. She usually will. Lisa is real, and fun and raw and honest.
Something she posted struck a chord with me. She shared what it meant to over function. Doing everything, for everyone all the time. She went on to explain, “the spin off effect when we are constantly operating in that high functioning state (is that) it disempowers the people around us. It allows for their low functioning.”
I sat with that statement for a minute, and then I had that very real moment of clarity. Shit! This is me!
I thrive on doing more and doing it well. I’ve mentioned before that I have high expectations; I still believe this is important, but when I hit spill over point, I’m probably not that nice to be around.
I realised, in some parts of my life the people I hold dearest would in fact be benefiting more if I shared the load a little. They’d develop the skills or awareness they need to be successful adults.
I also realised that professionally, my nature of being efficient and over supportive by ‘getting it done’ in fact allowed others to take full advantage of me.
Does this sound familiar?
KEEPING MY HEAD ABOVE WATER
Painting was my life jacket. It held my head above water for some time until it was clear enough for me to see something had to change. It provided me the still moments of being present with myself till I could see that I was missing out on life.
I am a huge believer of things happening for a reason. Not that I am a fan of the pain and heartache that comes from these events, but I honestly believe I would have continued to walk blindly into my future if I didn’t hit a wall first.
FUTURE PROOFING MY HAPPINESS
Without knowing how significant or important decisions I have been making recently, often alongside my husband were, I had already started future proofing my happiness and disassembling the over functioning mantra. I thought I would share with you 5 things I do or have started doing to shift this focus a little.
~ 1 ~ SETTING EXPECTATIONS OF THE KIDS HELPING OUT
As our kids have gotten older, they have wanted to earn pocket money. When they were younger, we never really saw the need for it. They had more than they ever needed. As my workload increased and the extra curricula activities grew in number, I knew I couldn’t sustain the load.
Insert Spriggy. An invaluable pocket money saving tool that not only made the kids feel grown up, it stopped the need for loose change or the sloppy wastage of money at the school canteen.
Our kids now get paid their age each week, in exchange for a fair distribution of household tasks.
It’s a win win without guilt. We still expect them to help out when we ask them to, but now paying them as reward for contribution and effort (or not for nil effort) not only teaches them the responsibility but supports their financial literacy and appreciation for money.
~2~ SITTING ON MY HANDS
This is definitely uncomfortable. When you have been disciplined to ‘carry your weight’ for so many years, it is hard to not put your hand up all the time. This is different to saying no though. It is more like saying, when I’m ready I’ll think about it.
This one is taking some getting used to. But the benefit is, it supports those who are lower functioning, to raise their hand a little higher.
~3~ TAKING SOME TIME SELF CARE AND BE UNOPPOLGETIC ABOUT IT.
I know ‘self-care’ is a bit of a buzz word at the moment, but honestly, slowing down to catch my breath is the thing that is giving me the biggest sense of value. Taking the time to know what I want, who I want to be sharing my time with and what I want to be doing with it is simply wonderful.
~4~ FINDING LIKE MINDED PEOPLE WHO RESPECT YOU
This one takes time and I am finding I don’t easily get this one right all the time. I love to share. It’s often the undoing of me though. I see the best in people and expect the same in return, but it doesn’t always go to plan. As I learn to value myself more through, moving past these hurdles is becoming easier. One step at a time.
In saying that, when you do find your people – it’s a game changer.
~ 5 ~ DO MORE OF WHAT BRINGS YOU JOY
It is pretty obvious what this is for me. Painting is high on the list. It also includes gardening and spending time with good friends.
More importantly though, this joy bleeds. It is contagious and important, and I am glad I have found it.