I bet that, most days, you feel like you’re in a hurry. You rush from task to task with barely enough time to catch your breath before another “to do” ends up on your plate. You eat your meals in quick gulps – usually in front of a computer or in the car – if you eat at all. At the end of the day, you fall into bed exhausted, but unable to sleep, your mind racing through everything that you need to get done tomorrow.
I think many of us are addicted to this lifestyle. We don’t know what to do with our down time (or perhaps we don’t even know what down time is). For most of us, “down time” involves laying on the couch watching reality TV, or scrolling through our never-ending Facebook feed. And even though we consider this to be “relaxing,” there’s always a little voice in the back of our head saying, “Stop procrastinating! You have so much to do. Get off your butt so that you can take care of X, Y, and Z!” And so we never get a chance to truly relax.
My question is:
Why are we living like this?
What is it that fuels us to keep pushing, pushing, pushing until eventually something breaks?
Who (or what) is telling us that we need to be so busy all the time?
Why are we all trying so hard?
Part of the answer, in my opinion, is that we’re being lied to. Our cultural paradigm is lying to us, and we, in turn, are lying to ourselves.
What is the lie? That we aren’t enough. We aren’t rich enough, successful enough, skinny enough, cool enough.
In essence, we aren’t good enough.
We buy into this lie and try to make ourselves good enough by having a bigger house, nicer car, cooler clothes, and higher paying job. In order to keep up with this lack mentality, we fill our days with task after task after task – all aimed at proving to ourselves, our friends, our families, and the world at large that we are, in fact, good enough.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You are enough. Period.
Your Soul, or True Self, doesn’t care how much money you have in the bank or what kind of car you drive. Your Soul cares that you are authentic. Your Soul wants you to devote time to discovering your Truth so that you can live out your full purpose on this earth.
When you embark on this path, others might think you’re being foolish. They might tell you that you’re making irrational decisions. Don’t listen. As long as your decisions aren’t hurting anyone else, and are serving your Soul, make them.
Most of all, let go of the sense of time poverty that is pervading our society. Many of us feel like there are never enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that we need to accomplish. This simply isn’t true.
True, there are only twenty-four hours in each day. But the way that you prioritize those twenty-four hours is up to you.
When you’re stuck in the land of “I’m not enough,” you’ll often choose to spend your time chasing the unattainable carrot of an overflowing bank account or a perfect relationship. If, on the other hand, you begin accepting that you are already enough, you can slowly start getting off of the hamster wheel of wants and needs that aren’t even truly your own.
This will feel difficult at first. So start slow. Here’s an example. Over the past few months I noticed a mantra that was continually repeating in my head: “I don’t have time.” I don’t have time to hang out with that person that I want to connect with. I don’t have time to skype with my friends. I don’t have time to curl my hair or put on makeup or go for a walk. Most of the things that I felt I didn’t have enough time for were things that involved my self-care.
So, in an effort to get myself out of a time poverty mentally, I decided to reverse this mantra. Every time I found myself saying that I didn’t have enough time for something, I would replace this thought with “I have plenty of time.” And, being the rational scientist that I am, I decided to test whether I in fact did have enough time.
Case in point: New England winters can be harsh. My skin always gets dry and itchy unless I put oil or cream all over my body after I shower. Over the years I’ve gotten into the habit of making time every morning for this daily ritual. The only place where I don’t put cream is on my feet. For some bizarre reason, I tell myself that I don’t have enough time to put cream on my feet. So my toes and heels get dry and rough. My toenails start to crack. It’s not pretty.
Recently, when I noticed myself saying that I didn’t have enough time to put cream on my feet, I decided to test whether this was true. So I took out my cell phone and timed how long it takes me to put cream on my feet. And (drum roll please) it takes a whopping forty-three seconds.
Why on earth have I been living with ugly feet all winter, just to save myself forty-three seconds every morning? The fact that I feel that I don’t have forty-three seconds to spare is absolutely ridiculous.
This is a small example, but an example nonetheless of the extreme sense of time poverty that many of us are experiencing. And I for one am tired of it. So I’ve started taking forty-three seconds every morning to put cream on my feet. And now they feel great. I encourage you to begin letting go of your sense of time poverty, too.
How many seconds can you spare to give yourself the care that you deserve?
Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, researcher, and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love. Check out her book, The Antidepressant Antidote, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and join her whole-self health revolution. If you’d like tips on how to create a life you love and have a thriving relationship, check out her online courses on Creating A Life You Love and Practical Tips to Enhance Your Partnerships.
Image courtesy of Breather.