Written by: Liz Chamberlain; Lizzie Lou Mixed Media
I am easily excited by really cool projects and sometimes find myself taking on too much because it all sounds amazing. I can’t bring myself to say no or to choose what is actually going to be the best fit, because I am afraid of making a mistake. What if I say no to this opportunity, and I should have said yes? What will I be missing out on? So I say yes, and trust that the universe is placing these opportunities in my path because they will be good for me. Because I can make a difference here and there simultaneously. Because my business is ready to grow, and this is how I get more opportunities and exposure. The problem arises when I don’t know when to stop…I agree to so many things that the whole house of cards comes crashing down. I find myself coming up short in every aspect of my life. Which leads to a cycle of emotions and outcomes. First, I panic. I work as hard as I possibly can, with no real organization or plan, and do as much as possible. This sounds highly productive, but it really is not. Because my heart isn’t in my work, and everything, and I mean everything becomes a chore, a check on my to-do list. I start a task here, and another there, and nothing seems to get finished. Or the completion is rushed and I don’t feel good about it, but done is better than perfect, and perfect is an illusion, so I convince myself I have done the best that I can at this moment, and try to keep moving forward.
In my writing, painting, and parenting, the quality that I wish to uphold falls to the wayside. Everything is overwhelming. At these times, even the thought of having a shower sends my head into a tizzy…when and how am I supposed to fit that into my day?! After a while of being on autopilot, and just getting through the tasks, with the overwhelm building, I start to shut down. I become tired all the time. I have no desire to do anything. I can’t even make the decision as to what to work on because I am so far behind on so many things that I just don’t know where to start…so I don’t. This is a hard stage to be in, and where I have found myself for the past couple of weeks. It’s like I take on one more thing, and it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and I find myself feeling completely useless. I battle with my gremlins telling me that I am not good enough, that I am a failure, and there’s no use in trying because I will never finish it anyways. They tell me I am a disgrace, and that I am letting my friends and family down. That I have no business running my own business because I have no proper background or experience. And let’s face it, I am terrible with money. The gremlins are relentless with their negative talk, and I can often counteract their comments for a little while, but in this state of overwhelm, I start to believe them. My own thoughts kick in and repeat them…maybe the gremlins are right, maybe I can’t do this. Then the negative self-talk spiral grows and falls faster and faster until I am in a state of shutting down. Because what is the point in trying if I am going to fail anyways?
This has got to stop. This is the point, after a day or two of marinating in the negativity that I smarten up, and I make the decision that something has got to change. I can do things, and I need to start small again and do one thing at a time. Looking at the whole big picture is too much to handle, but starting over with one thing at a time is the way to build up to being successful again. But before I begin, I have to make a list of what I am doing, and what I have committed to and decide basically what needs to stay, and what I need to let go of. This is always hard for me, because I am a packrat at heart, and I don’t like to let go of anything. Again, this comes from fear…fear of missing out, fear of losing friends, fear of making the wrong choice, fear of letting people down, fear of judgement, the list goes on. During this time, I tend to become quiet, as I search deep into what I really want and need in my life, and acknowledge what I can realistically accomplish.
This, my friends, is where I am at in this precise moment. Re-evaluating my life, my commitments, and my needs. I have overextended myself since leaving my hospital job because I thought I had all the time in the world. I am realizing that is just not true. My kids will be home for the summer, starting in a few days, and I have no idea how I will get anything accomplished at all towards my business. So, it is with sadness in my heart that I am letting go of some amazing projects, in order to allow them to grow the way they deserve to, without me weighing them down. And to allow me to find myself and my joy again.
Sometimes, being our best self requires letting things go that no longer serve us, or in this instance, that we no longer serve with our whole hearts. Sometimes, we have to rediscover who we are in order to be the person we are meant to be. I am in this space right now. A transition, a time of transformation is coming, following this time of soul searching. And on the other side, I am certain that I will be my best self, authentic and living with integrity.
What do you need to do to live as your best self? To take a chance or a leap of faith? Or pull back the reigns and make some hard choices? You do you, the best that you know how.