ALL THE THINGS, ALL THE TIME: some thoughts on rushing

Do you often feel like you have to do ALL THE THINGS, ALL THE TIME? You know ... bake the muffin recipe you just found, wash the blankets from the last lot of visitors, buy the green tea you're out of, order the belated present, volunteer for the school fete, ring the dentist, book the hairdresser, pluck the eyebrows, fold the socks, tell the teacher your kid will be late, mop the floor, hang the washing, write the email, cancel the subscription, iron the dress shirt, pack the luggage, pop in to thank the neighbour, google that costume, try that meditation, listen to that podcast, read up about crystals/oils/mantras/whatever, check out that cool Instagram account you spotted, try to find the date you volunteered to bring cupcakes, ring your mother, text your sister, message your husband about milk ...

You get it, don't you? Tell me it's not just me.

I find that on most days my mind traps all the tasks, all the challenges, all the (potential) solutions, and all the ideas that pop into it at any given moment, and then my body rushes to action them all. Now! Quick! Run! Do it! You have to! You want to! You promised! You'll feel better! It'll make you happier! It'll make them happier! It might work! You have to try! Rush! Push! Hurry! Gooooooo!

Do you do this too? I hate it. And the only way I can stop it is by silently yelling, Stop! Then calmly writing all the things on one big list, and choosing a couple to do that day. I find if I write the list with a verb (action word) up front, I tend to actually take the action. 

But that's not all. I have to consciously 'talk myself down' too. I have to say to myself: 

"It's not possible or even worth the effort to try to do all of these things right now. They actually don't all need to be done right now. In fact, if you drop some off the list, it won't even matter. That's right, a lot of this doesn't even matter. Write down the tasks you do think matter, and choose three (tops). And then do them. And if that's all you get done today, that's great. If you don't get them done, there is always tomorrow. And besides, you have enough things you have to do, the non-negotiables, today to keep you busy for most of the hours you have anyway. So calm down. Now. Calm down."

Or words to that effect.

I've explained before how one of my worst habits is dragging everything I need/want to do for the foreseeable future right into this moment, right here. And it's bloody exhausting. No-one can do all the things, all the time. It's not healthy, it's not natural, it's not humanly possible.

And besides, I know it's all a choice. You know it too, right? Everything we do is a choice and we're always free to choose again ... and again ... and again. I can blame my mind for 'trapping tasks' and my body for 'rushing to do them' all I like, but the bottom line is, it's my mind and my body and I'm in control of both. What I do in a day or a week or a year or a lifetime is all my own choice. Of course, and absolutely, many things happen that are out of our control, but we still get to choose our reaction to them.

So, with this crazy all the things, all the time issue, I'm actually choosing to rush, to run, to create chaos with a jam-packed schedule. And it's all because I am choosing to think that I am not already doing enough ... or that I could be happier/better/brighter if I just did more/better/brighter things ... that what I can ordinarily get done isn't enough ... that the way I am being/living/doing right now isn't good enough ...  ah, the old not good enough

It's a pervasive problem. 

I read once that everything Oprah teaches comes down to trying to convince people: You are enough. True, right?

And chapter 5 of Dr Libbby Weaver's amazing book, Rushing women's syndrome: the impact of a never-ending to do list on your health opens with:

"Every human's greatest fear is that they are not enough, and that as a result they won't be loved. We are born this way. It's human psychology 101 ... Without love a human baby dies ... [so] it is hardwired into us at our most fundamental level. 

Yet as adults, a life jam-packed with love is delicious but not essential to our survival. When we live as if love is crucial to our survival, and we do anything and everything we can to avoid ever being rejected, we live our lives as if we are still a child.

Human behaviour is the outermost expression of our inner beliefs. It is that simple."

She goes on to say:

"Before our ... era of urgency ... our outermost expressions of [the fear of] not being enough, not being loved, and being rejected, played out in the way we ate, the way we spent money, and the way we spoke to the people around us (to name but a few). In fact, they still do. Yet, in this age of Google speed, there is now another more obvious, more intense and, in my opinion, potentially even more damaging way this belief is playing out -- and that is with women living out the perception that they have to be all things to all people so that they will never, ever be rejected, even though they have no idea that is what they are doing. And to fit everything in, to do all they 'have' to do so that they never, ever let anyone down and risk being 'rejected', they have gone into overdrive. Otherwise, why would you do it, unless somewhere inside you, you perceived that your life depended on it? Seriously. As I love to say, it's always about love. Everything always is." 

Do you agree?

If we decide to do all the things, all the time, we won't be any more than we are right now. We will simply be exhausted and stressed, and that's no good for anybody, is it?

You are enough.

I am enough.

We are enough.

Let's try to remember that as the first and last thing we do.




Natalie Bartley