Without awareness, nothing will change.
In my own life, I find vocabulary is the first step to awareness. When we are given (or produce) the “correct” vocabulary for our situation, it is as if a key fits into the locks and things begin to shift.
This happened for me the other day in therapy. We had been talking about my “hectic” schedule. And my therapist stated, “You have always had to be ‘more than’ enough, in order to see yourself as acceptable.”
I had always thought of myself as “not enough” but her changing of the phrase enabled me to grasp the underlying energy of what I attempt to do.
If 30 hours is a normal teaching load, then I teach 36 hours and take on 8- 12 in the summer. If the deadline for a consulting project is Oct. 18, I will get it done by Oct. 1.
Who cares if we just moved? I will host a sleepover for one stepkid, a birthday party and slumber part for the other, go to two concerts (we had the tickets), attend back to school nights, stay for every football practice, handle a college fair and so on and on.
The compulsion lay in the idea that if I was not doing the maximal, I was not acceptable. “More than” was the only way I understood how to “be”- be seen, be loved, be noted, be o.k.
It was also the only way, I could see to not be attacked. If I am doing “more than” than certainly no one could criticize me for being “less than”.
My therapist continued with “this is a learned behavior”.
It is not right or wrong. It is simply learned.
If I learned it, I can “unlearn” it. But, to do so, requires awareness (and vocabulary) on my part.
Now, when I envision situations, I ask myself, “Is this ‘more than’?”
I have to use this phrase, as asking myself “is this too much?” has absolutely no resonance for me. I have NO idea what “too much” is.
“More than” gives me a comparison from which to work.
The answers are always present. Sometimes we just need the right vocabulary 🙂