Enough. It’s a simple word, right?
But who really defines when enough is enough?
It’s a question I struggle with. And as I struggle to be enough at work, in my marriage, to my family and to my friends, and in my marathon training, , I seem to find myself feeling as though I am slipping further and further from being that.
No matter how much effort I put forth, I can never be enough to everyone nor to meet every deadline, every expectation, every goal.
It leaves me feeling defeated and sad. I feel as though I am letting everyone down, leading me to question my self-worth.
Frankly, I’m exhausted.
The hard truth is that the only one holding me accountable or to unachievable standards is… me. I say hard truth, because it is not in my human nature to accept this as the truth. It is a difficult realization for me to overcome.
I set high expectations for myself. The relationships I have with my family, my husband, and my friends are gold to me. Letting any one of them down is unacceptable. But here’s the thing, if I’m not selfish at times and put myself first, I am no good to anyone else.
Taking care of myself. Another concept that is hard for me to grasp. I push myself to fit everything in to meet everyone’s needs. I push myself to hit my training goals. I push myself to be professional and not just meet, but exceed expectations in my job. I push, push, push until I am so exhausted that I can’t think straight. And then what happens? I forget easy things, make stupid mistakes, and fall far short of meeting any expectations.
What’s more, we live in a culture, where it’s almost unacceptable to disconnect from technology and focus on centering yourself. I have work email pushed through to my phone. If I don’t check it every 5 or 10 minutes, will the emails disappear? No. They will still be there when I log in next. I strive to respond or at least acknowledge any text, email, phone call, whatever within 24 hours and when the same respect is not paid to me, I worry myself into a frenzy that I’ve done something to offend the receiver or that I’m not good enough for them to respond to. Is that fair? No. There is no unspoken rule that messages must be acknowledged in that time frame. It’s another unrealistic expectation I lord over myself.
When will enough be enough for me? I admit, I want it all. I want the successful career. I want to excel at my hobbies- running, instructing fitness classes, cooking. I want to be the reliable, responsible, rock-solid daughter, sister, aunt, friend. I want to be the amazing wife, who lifts up and encourages her husband.
Is that really so much to ask? NO. What is too much, is being hard on myself when I fail to meet the unachievable standards I set for myself.
So, what is my advice?
1. Be selfish. It’s like the instructions you receive on an airplane “if you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.” You can’t help anyone else if you aren’t attended to first.
2. Take care of yourself. I don’t know why this one is so hard to grasp, at least for me. When you’re tired, sleep in or take a nap. Don’t feel guilty about revising your workout to one that’s less intensity or skipping it altogether. Listen to your body and give it what it needs. It’ll leave you more efficient and able to a better job, verses going back to correct mistakes.
3. Unplug. Give yourself at least one day a week where you don’t look at work emails. Be in the moment and put your phone, tablet, whatever device you use aside. All of the messages will be stored away waiting for you to check them later.
4. Take a time-out. Do whatever you need to do to re-center and gain a fresh perspective.