One of the best parts of the Monthly Experiments project has been meeting so many inspiring people along the way. Many of you have been doing your own personal experiments and seeing great results. It always puts a huge smile on my face when I meet someone who is consciously taking steps to improve their life. Today’s post comes from one of those people.
I’m pleased to welcome Erin Brennan in a guest post today. Take it away, Erin…
This was the wall I hit before I was ready to admit that something needed to change. Something by the way was me.
I didn’t need a strategy, a new to do list or an app for that. Despite my strong belief to the contrary, I didn’t need a day off or a vacation to fix my problem. These would simply give me momentary relief … a band aid over a bullet hole of sorts.
Things didn’t need to change, ” I ” needed to change.
Inspired by Sarah Kathleen Peck’s “Streaking Challenge” I decided now was as good a time as any to start doing things differently. The premise was simple enough: choose one thing to change and do it every day for the next 38 days.
The hard part was choosing my challenge: What was small enough to change but big enough to make a difference?
What we think is the problem is rarely the problem.
I made list after list of the things that had me feeling overwhelmed, overtired and overcommitted. Each individual item seemed simple enough to change, but I was already trying to change them and that clearly wasn’t working.
We focus so long on these symptoms that we miss the bigger issue. Getting down to the root cause of issues is the only way to create true transformation, so I dug deeper.
Looking into the motivation for WHY things were happening, not just WHAT was happening. What connected this seemingly random list of frustrations.
We have all experienced some version of what I was feeling …
- running around at an insane pace
- committing to what makes others happy
- sacrificing what I really wanted
Even temporary compromises can slowly chip away at us until we turn around and we are on a path we didn’t choose … or did we?
People can’t take advantage of you unless you let them.
Why are some people so capable of saying “no” and yet some of us walk around saying “yes.” Deep down a little voice is saying, “Don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it …. ahhhh – she did it” and just like that we overcommit, overextend and overwhelm ourselves.
The true danger lies when you are particularly good at overdoing. You make it look so easy that it becomes expected.
- “Oh, she can do that”
- “She won’t mind.”
And what do we say? “No problem” or “I can handle that (too).”
Who can blame these people for putting things on our plate. We are basically asking for it. But why??
That is was when I found it. The common denominator. The thing that seemed to connect my seemingly unrelated problems. Self love.
How does an over-achieving, people pleasing, work-a-holic learn how to slow down and love herself?
By not putting myself first or making time for me and what I want, I was running around empty, still trying to give from an empty well.
The only reasonable conclusion was that if I was as important to myself as others were to me, then I wouldn’t do that to myself.
Think about it … us over-doers don’t go around overextending others. We wouldn’t dare inconvenience people like that. Instead we inconvenience ourselves, subconsciously thinking that we don’t deserve the same consideration.
So how do you practice self love? Good question!
While there are amazing resources to teach you how to love yourself, that wasn’t exactly my problem. I think I am great … no really, just ask me.
When someone or something is important to you, you make time for it.
Period. Yes, it is that simple.
The answer seemed simple: start making time for myself.
The answer may have been simple, but the implementation … not so much. With a tendency to over-commit, some accountability was going to need to be established.
I decided to commit to a daily yoga practice. Not for exercise, but because I deserved:
- 90 minutes of silence
- 90 minutes to practice being kind to myself,
- 90 minutes to slow down and be in the moment.
Getting to class would be the battle. Once there I had a teacher that would help me let go, be in the moment, stop my monkey mind from jumping around and help me create space for myself.
If I was worth it, I would make time for myself and get my butt to yoga. And so it began …
38 days of yoga, 38 days of self love, 38 days to change.
View all posts in this series
- From Burnout to Bakasana: 38 Days of Yoga - June 1, 2012
- Progress Over Perfection: 27 Days of Yoga, And Counting - June 28, 2012
- The Journey of a Reluctant Yogi - July 9, 2012