Lost in the debate about whether we can “have it all” is a less-discussed issue that looms as a bigger threat: the idea that we can do it all.
Most women I know are trying to do too much.
To be clear, I know many men who try to do too much. But in general, I find that the men are more adept at letting go of some of it.
For women, it seems to be a badge of honor. Doing it all is the prerequisite for having it all. If you have it all, but didn’t do it all, then what did you really achieve?
We put ourselves under a lot of pressure to take on more. And this pressure can easily send us into overwhelm.
Overwhelm isn’t just an emotional and mental state. Every emotion and thought we have manifests in our bodies too.
At the threshold of overwhelm, we can feel like the walls are caving in.
When we feel the crunch of too much to do, we send a signal to our nervous system, and it forces our bodies to adapt to the perceived incoming danger.
Physically, our bodies contract. Our chest tightens. Our breathing gets shallow.
In this contracted state, we can’t send our breath — our life force — throughout our bodies. Shoulders raise to the ears. The lower back tightens. The throat may close up. The hip flexors stiffen. The system shuts down, other than the most essential functions.
When we experience this on a regular basis, it becomes chronic. That’s when we start waking up with hip pain or lower back pain. Most people rush to medicate these symptoms, believing that is the best way to resolve the problem.
Except… the pain is the effect of the problem, not the cause.
Our bodies are complex systems, designed to adapt and protect us.
The way our bodies respond is a feature, not a bug.
The actual problem is that we ignored signs for too long. We loaded ourselves down under the belief that to have it all means we must do it all.
We were hesitant to admit that maybe we cannot actually do it all.
Stop pretending that you can do it all.
Let go of the belief that you should do it all.
Let some things go.
And create space for what you do best: being you.