Easy. There’s something our culture doesn’t like about this word. There’s a strong belief that circumstances have to be difficult to be valuable, and to remind us of that we have a lot of slogans that reflect it:
No pain, no gain.
There is no success without hardship.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Hard work pays off.
Setting intentions, doing our personal growth work, and manifesting our dreams is absolutely essential for a satisfying and meaningful life where we contribute to the world. But the mindset that ‘life is hard’ can lead us into a jungle of unhappiness and pushing ourselves to always do more.
When we’re in that mindset it can feel like no matter how much we do, it’s never enough. We’re not enough. We think we must go full tilt until we are exhausted or there’s something wrong with us.
Brené Brown talks about how “exhaustion is not a status symbol” in her 2012 book Daring Greatly: Having the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Doing, doing, doing until we are numb is a way of keeping ourselves from listening or engaging fully. Like running again and again into a stone wall: it may keep us from feeling other things, but it doesn't solve the problem.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Brown said that when she questions people about taking time away from work and not answering emails around the clock “their fear is: If I really stopped and let myself relax, I would crater. Because the truth is I’m exhausted, I’m disconnected from my partner, I don’t feel super connected to my kids right now.”
Is it possible that we are doing so much, not because we have to, but because it is habit and we don’t know what else to do—and that we fear what we might find if we slow down?
This kind of life is not sustainable, and eventually, it will burst open somewhere.
What can we do to get out of this?
~Imagine a life where we choose to
put what nourishes us first instead of last.~
This week I spoke with a talented and intelligent woman who told me how deeply she desired more regular time for creative pursuits in her life. As we talked it became clear that for her singing, painting, and writing were almost as important as air. When she engages creatively she feels alive, energized, content, joyful.
She also finds that she's more connected and patient with her children and husband when she makes time for art. The humdrum parts of life seem less tiresome and more doable. Essentially, there is more ease to her life!
And yet, even though she knows how much the arts feed her soul, she was putting them at the bottom of her to-do list—a luxury that she might grant herself once everything else was completed.
Dear ones, if you put self-care—whether that's creative pursuits, exercise, solitude, time in nature, or something else—as a last priority, it will not be a regular part of your life. Your cup will not be refilled by the unique recipe for nourishment that you need and it will get emptier and emptier. And that means everyday life gets harder and harder.
The ease of operating with a full tank disappears and we are left with that feeling that we have to somehow force ourselves to grind forward on those few drops of fuel that are left.
It doesn't have to be this way. You can choose ease and self-love and be an even more amazing version of yourself!
What step could you take today to add a little self-care that will fill your cup and allow you to approach life with more ease?
Post in the comments what would bring ease to your life. I would love to hear how you are caring for yourself!
With warmth and love,