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Ready to Throw in the Towel?

“I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on.  Life was meant to be lived.  Curiosity must be kept alive.  One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Sometimes, it seems like life is just too much.

Too many demands on our time. Too many commitments. Too many responsibilities. Too many media stories or advertisers trying to grab our attention. Too much weight on our shoulders. Too much whining!

Maybe you’re fantasizing about running away Thelma and Louise style. Or you reminisce about the good old days of TV when harried women urged Calgon to take them away instead of being faced with constant airbrushed perfection and unrealistic expectations at every turn.

Regardless of how we got here, wondering where it all went wrong and how it came to be that we are supposed to juggle ALL of the things….the point is, we are not meant to do it all.

Truly, we all need to just stop it.

Throughout history, women have relied upon the presence and support of other women to help take care of children, to feed their families, and to create that unshakeable foundation that allows us to feel safe and connected.

But what happens when we don’t have that foundation?  Sure, we can pull it off for a while, many even for a few years.  

But eventually, it all comes crashing down like a ton of bricks, leaving us feeling broken and like we just can’t face another request.  Like the person making the request may be risking their own safety to do so.

Ideally, we can catch this runaway crazy train before it comes barreling into the station with the emergency brake pulled and sparks flying everywhere.  

Other times, we’re not so lucky. So what do we do if we’ve reached that point?

First, just breathe.  If you take a deep inhale, how does it feel?  Does your chest feel constricted like you can’t expand your lungs or take in enough air?  

Does your inhale feel jerky or forced? Do you immediately take a big gasping or gulping breath?  Do your shoulders hike up to your ears as you breathe in?

Try and notice the sensations without judgement, as if you’re just a curious observer of how your body is reacting.

Now breathe in again more slowly, closing your eyes if it’s comfortable for you.  Instead of trying to inhale all the way, just focus on inhaling to about 80% of your lungs’ capacity.  

On your exhales, open your mouth and softly sigh the air out, making a “haaa” sound as if you were trying to fog up a mirror.

Take at least 6 more breaths following this pattern to settle the nervous system, then notice how you feel.

You may find that you already feel calmer.  If so, great! If not, that’s ok too.

Try folding forward from either a sitting or standing position, letting your chest come towards your thighs.

Continuing with your slow, deep breaths, notice any areas of the body that feel tense or tight. That may be your forehead, your jaw, your shoulders, or somewhere else.  

Soften those tense areas as you exhale.

Keep breathing and stay folded over until you can slowly rise and regain a sense of perspective.

When we have reached this point of overwhelm, it can seem as if it will never go away. But the truth of the matter is that it can and it will.

It will take a commitment on your part to make the small shifts that can bring about change. But what is the alternative?

Truly take the time to reflect on that. If you stay the same, doing the same things and getting the same results, where will you be in 5 years?  In 20?

There is absolutely no limit to what you can do with the resources we have available in this day and age. However, it begs the question-  

Are you willing to sit with your uncomfortable emotions?

With challenging what you think are your limits?  With showing yourself and those around you all that you can be?

It’s a wonderful gift to have someone in your life who looks you in the eye and says with conviction, “I believe in you.” But let’s be real-not everyone has that special someone. In this case, we have to do the heavy lifting ourselves at first.

Sometimes it can be too big of a leap to believe in yourself after years of self-doubt.  Start by just being curious about what it would be like if you believed in you.

What could you do in the time you’ve been given if you weren’t holding yourself back? Start writing down your impossible goals, from the smallest to the largest.

Now start looking for your tribe-I guarantee they are out there. They may not be your family members or your current friends. They may be waiting in Meetup or Facebook groups, or you may find them in your community.

Look for women who are going through what you’re going through and who are wanting to make a change. Support each other and help each other hold that future vision of yourselves. Then look for women who are where you want to be in 5 years and let them lead and inspire you.

There is NO REASON why you can’t turn towards a more fulfilling path. A path that lights you up and fills you with purpose, so you charge forward into each day instead of dragging yourself out of the rubble. I believe in you. Can you start believing in you?   

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