I think a lot. I observe myself a lot. For an introvert, this is normal behavior. For extroverts, this is foreign territory. That’s one of the reasons I write — to help those who aren’t used to looking inside begin to understand what they don’t usually perceive.
Today I’m going to talk about something that is almost constant in my life: a sense of being overwhelmed.
To Whom Much Is Given
I grew up believing that I was gifted. As I have matured, I am less likely to accept that label. As I child, I was fed on the dreams of others — and developed the belief that I would do great things in the world. My name would be in the history books for doing something amazing for the good of everyone. I would, through my efforts, gain all the other signs of success: a large bank account, opportunities to travel the world, etc.
Instead, I am a middle-aged woman who is building her second marriage, digging out of the poverty that so often accompanies divorce, and feeling the pressure to make up for “lost time.”
I have also discovered that I need about 10 hours of sleep each day. I used to try to get by on five or six hours (which led to the stress-related illness that ended my teaching career). In my head, that means that I am now at home being lazy for most of the day because I’m sleeping instead of being productive.
A New Mindset
Changing thought patterns that have been mine since childhood is a slow process. My husband is awesome and is supportive as I try to figure out how to balance my physical and mental needs with my dreams.
Meanwhile, I have to fight back the sense of being completely overwhelmed, of living far below my potential, and of wasting all of the opportunities that I have been handed in life.
It’s a delicate process, and most days end with me reminding myself to focus on everything I did that supported my top priorities in life. I can feel all of the harsh words and criticism that I used to unleash on myself crouched and waiting for the opportunity to pounce. I still have to remind myself to flush the self-berating thoughts out of my mind.
I still have to force myself to step back from trying to do it all.
There isn’t any magical formula, diet, or pill. We all have to be patient with the process.
What strategies do you use as you move toward a better you? Comment!