Well, it has been a minute hasn’t it?! Life is a funny thing that just keeps going and sometimes you are keeping pace, and sometimes you fall behind. I have decided it is once again time to keep up the pace and publish some of my thoughts pertaining to improving relationships and keeping up mental health.
Recently, I have encountered many people who have embraced the idea of giving 110% all the time. These people come in the form of college students, mothers, lovers, best friends, and work-a-holics. There is this idea that we always have to go a little farther, do a little more, give more of ourselves, set our expectations higher, achieve bigger, and many times, run harder than we actually can.
I remember attending an “awards ceremony” for therapists. I remember an old boss of mine sharing stories of a particular therapist going above and beyond, staying late all the time, taking on what others couldn’t handle, and always pushing her limits. While I believe firmly in kindness, giving to others, I equally believe in self-care and balance. I remember feeling so frustrated in this awards ceremony as I thought to myself about the self-care that was required in my position as a therapist to do good work and how as a group we were basically praising someone for not having balance and not doing adequate self-care.
I find that in our culture, not needing or not giving ourselves self-care is highly reinforced and needing self-care is greatly punished. Individuals send and receive emails throughout the night and early morning, salaried positions keep people working excessive overtime, and relationships and health suffers at the drive to always be working.
If you drive a car, you know you cannot drive your car at 120 mph all the time even though it is capable of going this speed. One, because it is the law and two, your car would burn out. You also cannot drive your car 10 mph and expect your car to run successfully or to be able to use your car to meet any goals of getting to and from your destinations. However, there is a sweet spot between about 40 mph and 70 mph that keeps your car running well and allowing you to reach most of your destinations in reasonable time.
Such it is with people. We cannot expect to give 110% all the time. We can’t. We will burn out. Reaching goals is beautiful and having downtime without goals is just as important. We need both to be balanced and both to achieve the other. I submit to you to consistently give about 50-70% and stop always reaching for this 110%.
Until next time,