When you have the sense that you are overdoing, no one makes you. No situation makes you. If you are doing too much, stretching yourself too thin, overextending yourself, no one and no situation makes you. You are under your own steam. You are not imprisoned nor do you have to be under someone else’s will.
By and large, no one is overdoing. For the most part, My children who feel they are doing too much are living with the idea that they are doing too much. The idea alone is enough to stretch you beyond your limits. It is all an idea.
There is no too much except as the idea says that there is. The idea has you in its grips. Somehow you gleaned the idea that you are doing more than you can do. That idea has taken hold. And life becomes too much for you. The idea is enough to do you in. Ideas can be expansive. Ideas can also constrict, squeeze, hamper, disengage, and make themselves come true. Sometimes no ideas are best.
Remember the true story of a tiny woman who was able to lift a car off her child? She never would have attempted it except to save her child’s life. On an ordinary day, she wouldn’t have had the incentive. In addition, she would have convinced herself beforehand that it was impossible for her to lift a car. That day she did lift the car, she had an incentive. And what was her incentive on that day? It was love.
If she had tried to lift the car in order to win a million dollars, her love for a million dollars would not have given her the strength. It must be, then, that love of money is not love. Or it is a watered-down love. Love of a child is another story. You can be sure the mother wasn’t thinking: “Am I strong enough?” There was no thought between the need, her impulse, and the deed.
When you have the sense from day to day that you are overdoing, you may have to slow down, not because you are overdoing, but because your mind told you so. Your mind may have told you that you are giving more than you are getting, that you are wearing yourself out for nothing because you are not seeing the appreciation in whatever form you require it.
The child saved by the mother did not have to repay the mother with even a word. That the child lived was all the reward the mother wanted. That the child could breathe, the mother could breathe, and her heart could be so grateful.
If you find yourself even slightly overworked and overwrought, it is likely that your mind has told you that you are not fully appreciated, and you have chosen to go by that idea. You have chosen to be an under-appreciated overworked martyr.
Perhaps you cannot bring yourself to say no. Perhaps you have another idea in your mind, the idea that you must be all wonderful, that you must be everything to everyone. Unless you believed that, you would be able to say no when warranted without blinking an eye.
The same mother who lifted the car to save her child’s life would not give her child every toy car the child reached out for. If she did, she would be placating her own image, the idea that she is a perfect all-loving mother.
Many people have to learn to say Yes, and many other people have to learn to say No. And many have to learn when to say Yes and when to say No.
If you are too stretched, you have chosen the stretching. You are responsible. No one but you.
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