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Does this sound familiar?
You know how to manage your schedule. Every minute of your day is accounted for from the time you get up to the time you go to bed. You measure success by the amount of things you have checked off your to-do list. The more you check off your list, the more successful you feel. The responsibility of your life is making you miserable. You are tired, cranky and (you hate to admit it, a little bitter.)
But in those quiet moments (when you allow yourself to have them) your internal voice says,
“Is this all there is?”
“Is this REALLY what I wanted my life to consist of?”
“Does any of this stuff really matter?”
You are quick to silence the voice, but you are finding that the older you get, the harder it is to keep the voice down. You realize that checking things off the to-do list just doesn’t quite have the same satisfaction it used to. You start questioning the concept of putting others first—because you are exhausted and feeling un-appreciated. The thing that drives you the craziest is you can’t decide if this sense of responsibility you have is real or imagined. You realize you might have been sold a bill of goods when it comes to the thought that a complete to-do list=contentment. Because the completed to-do list never happens..it is a bottomless pit.
You wanted this life..the husband, the job, the kids, the white picket fence the whole deal. And you are happy with it; you just didn’t envision it being quite so exhausting.
You have push, push, pushed most of your life. Checking items off the to-do list, taking care of issues, putting out fires. You are the responsible, diligent, you-can-always-count-on-me type of woman, and you are freakin’ exhausted.
You have looked for help, read some self-help books (ok, honestly your library is full of them) you know you want to be more vulnerable and Dare Greatly (Go Brené Brown) you just don’t know how to implement. You read the books and watch the Ted Talks and think YES! I totally agree! You start out Monday morning with a list of things you want to ‘change’ about yourself and your life. But come Tuesday afternoon you are back on the merry go round of perfectionism and people pleasing. By Friday, you realize another week of the same old same old has passed you by. The pull of people pleasing and ‘the shoulds’ are just too great!
So what are you suppose to do?
The first step: Stop putting everyone else’s needs above your own. Which is a TALL order considering the concept “your needs don’t matter” has been hard-wired into you, and you have gained (and still do) a lot of satisfaction from it.
The first step is tapping into that inner wisdom, that quiet voice that is saying, “Is this all there is?”
Now, she is on to something.
Here are some tips for tapping into your Wise Internal Voice.
Be Quiet and Listen: Yep, I said it. Even though this is usually the last thing that you want to do. It is the most important. Even though we all KNOW we should get quiet and listen but how often do we do it?!?!? Turn off the radio in the car, turn off the podcast while you cook dinner, turn down the endless chatter and just be quiet. Take 5 minutes in the AM, or before you walk into work and just BE. Take 60 seconds and listen.
Play: What did you LOVE to do as a child? Play tag? Tennis? Basketball? Hide and Seek? Make S’mores? Crafts? Color? There are 1,000 ideas for playtime. The point is to tap back into your roots. The real you lives here, in this wild, unfettered place. Put down the to-do list, let go of the schedule and let loose and play a little. And then Listen. Listen to that belly laugh, feel the smile on your face, hear the joy exuding from your every pore. This space is where the Wise Voice lives.
Practice Compassion: Regularly throughout the day practice compassion with yourself. When you forget something, mess up a task, or drop the occasional ball..remind yourself it will be ok. For me, I put my hands over my heart, and I just remind myself, I am ok, and I got this and I sit there for a few seconds and just breathe. It just settles everything down, and I can tap into my Wise Voice. Spread the love to those around you too. So practice compassion with your kids, your friends, and your partner. Let them know how much they mean to you, remind yourself they are doing the best the can with what they have.
Practice Gratitude: Take a few moments in the day to look around and just be thankful for what you can see, feel and touch around you. Be specific. Right now, as I look around my office, I am thankful for my cat curled up on my desk, my fan providing me with cool air, the view of the amazing trees out my window, and the many cards my nearest and dearest has given me. As I engage in this activity, the list becomes longer and longer, and I become more and more tapped into my uniqueness and my Wise Self.