Well, people, I’m gonna be real with you! I wrote to you about the apple experiment over the summer. I was full of enthusiasm and encouraged all of you to join me in it. My experiment started off with a bang. Each day I whispered kindly to the “I Love You” apple, cursed the “I Hate You” apple and utterly ignored the third apple piece. I did this for about a month and witnessed the “Ignore” apple faring the worst. The “I Hate You” apple was the next rottiest and the “I Love You” apple was just a smidge rotty.
After that first month, my apples began to slip through the cracks of my life. I got used to seeing them sitting on my counter in their respective jars. In fact, the view became so familiar that I slowly stopped even noticing them! And in those moments when I did become aware of them, guess what happened? That judgy inner voice would kick in and start criticizing me for dropping the ball with the experiment. As often happens, I didn’t even realize my Judge Judy voice was yapping until she’d been doing so for a little bit. And then I noticed. And a smile of relief spread across my face. Yup. It really did.
You know why? Because I REMEMBERED that the words my mind and inner judge were feeding me were simply untrue. They were convinced I needed to do better with the experiment because I’d committed to it, but I’ve learned that those two are quick to speak from a notoriously limited perspective. There’s ALWAYS room to let things go and create more space when I need to and each time I’m reminded of this, I experience relief! My time with those experimental apples of varying degrees of rot needed to come to an end.
I didn’t always know or believe it was ok to create space for myself and let go of the things towards which I felt a responsibility or commitment. I am certain there are others of you out there who know exactly what I’m talking about. Some of you may even be experiencing this presently.
I was a professional Emily disregarder! When my body gave me cues like fatigue or pain, I simply disregarded those messages and kept on going. This skill allowed me to push through many experiences in my life, often past the point of running on fumes. In fact, it felt impossible to stop myself from pushing past my limit on a regular basis. It was completely foreign to me to know how to make my body or even my own needs or feelings matter.
My implicit motto was: Just. Keep. Going. That was my natural default mode. I lived more as a human doing than a being. And I spent a lot of time quietly fuming with resentment because others weren’t treating my needs like they mattered. Ha! I’ve gone on to understand that if my needs or feelings don’t matter to me, I’m teaching others that those things should not matter to them either.
But guess what, my fellow disregarders? I have great news!! My experience is different now. Is my life perfect? Nah. I’m as human as the next person, but I’ve formed updated beliefs. Over time, I’ve discovered how to genuinely have myself count in this world. And it feels good. Sure, that old default mode still sneaks in for a bit from time to time, but it’s very different from being on the “Just. Keep. Going.” treadmill all day every day.
Are you on that treadmill right now? Do you feel exhausted? Does it feel like your needs and feelings don’t count? Is there something in your life that you ache to let go of, but it feels impossible to even imagine doing so? Does it seem like it’s completely impossible for you to create space for yourself when you need it and let go of some of your commitments? Do you frequently find yourself feeling resentful because others around you don’t seem to appreciate all that you’re doing for them or that you are giving up your needs to take care of them?
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone! There are SO many people walking around in this experience right now. They don’t believe it’s possible to have a different one. But it IS! I know this first hand and I’ve helped many others discover this, too. And I love to teach people exactly how to do this!
If this intrigues you and you want to know more, reach out and we can have a complimentary conversation. You can tell me what’s going on. We can talk about what it would look like for us to work together and how it would feel for you to discover a brand new way of living life.
So here’s to creating space and permission for ourselves to step off the “Just. Keep. Going.” treadmill this week, even if only for a few minutes, and purposely allow some things to fall between the cracks of our lives.
Emily Colwell, MSSW, ND
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