I felt exhausted. I woke up in the mornings just to turn around and cuddle deeper into my blanket. Did I really have to get up? Do that again?
Some of you might think that this must be a story from long ago. Actually, it was just 5 days ago.
Warning: Iris discovered that Living consciously might have side effects
When you decide to take control over your life and work your butt off to make your dreams your reality, everything changes.
You see things differently. You feel charmed by the thought of finally having a purpose (even if it’s just to find your purpose). You’re working towards something big and it excites you.
But there lies a danger here. The more I was changing and getting closer to my goals, the more I detested the old me. How lazy I had been and how I had allowed myself to float through life without a direction and without a purpose. I wanted to be better. NOW.
So I pushed myself. Hard. Everyday. I made progress. I reached milestones, small and big. But I didn’t stop to cherish those moments. I rushed by, forced by my never-ending to-do list. I stumbled, I fell, I wanted to beat myself up for it but no, I didn’t even have the time to do that.
I didn’t have time.
I had to get things done. Now. Fast.
If I didn’t, it was just because my days weren’t optimized, I was fooling around or just not good enough.
Slowly I lost sight of what I really wanted. I had embarked on this journey to feel alive, create a life that would make me wake up excited every day. And here I was now, burnt out, disappointed and angry with myself.
I even started craving the standard life again. I was jealous when I saw other college students who had nothing to complain about but their lack of discipline, their side gig, and the weather.
Somewhere in the back of my head, a little voice started to emerge:
“When you can’t enjoy the here and now, how will you be able to pause and be happy once you’ve reached your dreams?” -little voice inside my head
I rushed on to create even bigger to-do lists and obsess about not being productive enough.
This went on for a few more weeks, until … yeah, until I didn’t want to get up in the mornings. All I wanted to do was crawl up in bed and pretend that I was not there. I slept in. I skipped lectures. All signs that something was not well.
Heck, something was fucked up!
Skipping lectures? Check. Eating junk food? Check. Taking random naps just to calm the voice inside my head? Check.
Doesn’t sound like the glamorous life to me. Neither does it sound like a life on purpose.
What had happened?
I had stopped being human. I treated myself in a way I would never treat anybody else. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself “Would I treat my best friend/mom/younger brother/favorite teddy bear the way I treat myself? Would I demand so much from them?”.
If the answer is NO then please stop, sit down, take a deep breath and try to be kind to yourself now. And most importantly:
Give yourself the permission to be human.
Stop demanding perfection from yourself. Don’t compare yourself to your role models and heroes. They’re awesome to inspire you, but guess what: Before you even heard of them they were years in the making. They have started to work on themselves long before you did. So how can you expect to cramp out 7 guest posts, good essays and a perfectly healthy meal seven days a week? Ah-ah. It doesn’t work that way.
Try to be gentle with yourself.
The advice I’m giving you here is common sense. When you think about it, you probably know that you shouldn’t expect that much from yourself, that growth is slow and that there will be setbacks.
But just because you know it intellectually doesn’t mean you feel it’s true. If you did you’d pat yourself on the back, pour some tea and allow yourself to enjoy a book you’ve been longing to read or knit on that scarf you started 3 winters ago (oops).
I couldn’t tell you what brought the message home for me. But after a lot of tears, heartfelt talks with my boyfriend and my incredibly wise mom I finally got it.
If we want to be different and live like we mean it, we can’t just become workaholics with a better cause. It takes time, peace and practice. We are going to grow into the roles life has waiting for us. Let’s not forget why we’re doing what we’re doing and be gentle with ourselves.
I deserve it. You deserve it. The world doesn’t need people who torture their way to success (even if it’s a cooler kind of success than financial one)