The Difference Between Discipline and Masochism
I'm an expert on this topic.
I'm an expert because I have been trained and schooled and coached and developed to be the ultimate do-er. Being a ballerina was such a blessing...and a curse. I followed that part of my life with cult-like exercise regimens, strict, whole foods eating plans, a masters degree aimed directly at perfectionists, leadership training courses and a myriad of other forms of education that, to most, would be considered inspiring and igniting. To me, they were just new ways for me to learn how to go robot-mode towards my dreams and aspirations and leave my self-care, self-loving practice at home.
Designing yourself as an A-type woman comes naturally to some. It takes effort, skill development and conscious work for others.
We are often given examples of how the effortless, easy way is the ideal way. I mean, if it's in the genes, there's nothing you can do but succeed. Is there?
"Look at her go. She's a natural".
The not so natural, go-getters amongst our gender feign jealousy, fight insecurity and push to grow in their skills, thinking they're behind, at a loss or constantly going to have to fight to make it to the top.
The not-so-natural go-getter gals have the better end of the stick. The naturals, paired with the drive and desire, are the ones who end up burnt out, used up and on the unhealthiest end of the spectrum.
Those are the women I aim to speak to. If that's you, you're nodding right now.
"I've done everything that's been asked of me."
"I was/am an A student."
"I was in every club. I was president of most."
"I made sure to dot every 'i' and cross every 't'."
"I scored every goal."
"I won every prize."
"I practiced and mastered every skill I knew was possible to master."
"I have never given up."
"I have never stopped."
"I will always keep going."
"It's not over until it's over."
"Just keep swimming."
"I've got this."
If it does, nice to meet you, you lovely reflection of me. We've got some work to do.
If you are that woman, that one who's always pushing, always achieving, always doing...
Where are you when it comes to pushing to make time for you? Where are you when it comes to achieving balance between work/achievement and downtime/play? Where are you when it comes to just being...chillin?
I bet reading this makes you strung out just thinking about "chillin"...
Who's going to save the day and get everything done if you're off "chillin"?
Better question to pose:
Who's going to be there to fill your amazing shoes if you get sick or broken or burnt out or hurt because you haven't learned how to pause, reboot and enjoy yourself?
You gotta do you, girl.
This writing came to me while I was pushing myself.
Yes, I do still push myself when I forget about the words I'm writing to you right now. I have these words to write because I've given as much time to loving and caring for me as I have to perfecting all the other crazy stuff I've gotten myself into these past 34 years so, here I am calling myself out to be here to support you.
I was keeping all my appointments, exercising, producing writing samples, cooking dinner, unpacking my new apartment, starting a partnership with a publicist, writing my book, making this newsletter, curling my hair, dotting my 'i's'and crossing my god damn 't's'. I was running around like a mad woman and refusing to just stop.
SIT DOWN AND RELAX.
When I did sit down and relax, I cried. They were those big old alligator tears that accompany breath-disrupting sobs and a whole lot of snot. I cried for a good, long time. Then I realized how many things I can say, do and pull from to get myself back into the mode where, while I'm making magic all over the place, I'm actually present and taken care of during the process.
Do you get how important you are?
Do you get that, without you, that blazing light you exude is not going to shine? That trust and faith people have in you, making it all happen will die off. There isn't anyone like you to do what you do.
If there was only one match left to light the last fire on earth, would you throw it in the bottom of your bag, let it get knocked around and rubbed and worn away while you made your way to the kindling?
Would you protect that thing like your life depended on it?
Is there really a question?
You'd protect it. You'd make sure absolutely nothing happened to that heat and light-giving tool so it could do its job. So it could be used to keep the fire going.
When it comes to all the beautiful things you do in the smallest of actions to the biggest of deals you land, each and every day, you're that match. You're the reason the fire keeps going. You have to care for and support and protect you, in every way you can.
Do you get that?
Be grateful for your discipline, your success, your abilities. Honor it.
Don't punish yourself. That masochism...that taking "you" out of the picture, it's leaving you depleted and beat up and raw. It's having you show up less than you actually are...and she's too amazing to NOT shine her brightest.
I've got three things I want you to do to make sure "you" are taken care of:
1. Sleep. 8 hours. No matter what. Put on the diffuser and the noise cancellation. Put the phone on airplane mode. Close the door and hang the 'do not disturb' sign. Give yourself a rest.
2. Eat well...I mean, really well. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Eat whole food. Keep your hands out of the boxes, the cookies and the junk and into the produce and whole grains and freshly prepared, delicious food. Sit down and eat. Give yourself time to think about NOTHING but you and how you are doing.
3. Take one night, every week, to do you. Go out with your beau, your friends or on a date with yourself. Take a bath. Drink some wine while you're in the tub. Sing your favorite songs. Dance in your underwear. Watch movies. Write poems. Make crafts. Do absolutely NOTHING you have to and anything you want to.
I think that's a good start.
You're the ones everyone's been waiting for. Don't go showing up worn out. Be good to the queen you are as often and as effortlessly as you are good at everything else.
I love you so much.