Gosh this word is coming up a lot for me lately!
Capacity: the maximum amount that something/someone can contain.
I really believe that G-d doesn’t give us more then we can handle, yet at the same time I have this overwhelming feeling that I have reached my capacity, that every day takes so much effort and intention that I have no idea how I’m going to gather the strength to do it all again tomorrow. But I have to….
Does anyone else get this feeling?
I don’t want to constantly live life in survival mode. On occasion, we need to, but when it becomes the norm, I feel like something should change, something needs reevaluation.
I feel (yes, it’s just a feeling, I’ve got nothing to back it up) like the first step is identifying what capacity feels like for you. Are you dealing with emotional and mental capacity, or is this more of a physical capacity issue? (Trust me it could be both). What sensation do you notice in your body when you feel like you’ve hit a wall? Are you so overwhelmed that you have no idea and are completely out of touch with how emotions feel in your body? I know, I know, I’m asking you a lot of hard questions, but frankly we all need to have this self-awareness.
If something isn’t working and we want to change it, we first need to understand what’s not working and why. Often times we think it’s one thing but when we dig a little deeper, we discover that it wasn’t that at all but something else entirely.
I have spent (and still do) a lot of time in therapy, and that has helped me become more aware and it has enabled me to connect the physical sensations to my emotions.
Being that this is my blog and I’m on the hotseat 🙂 I will share a personal example.
I have started identifying what it feels like in my body when I sense that I am trapped, or my emotional space is being invaded. It will almost always show up in my gut. That is where I carry and store my stress.
What does it mean to feel trapped? To me, it’s the sensation that I am in a lose lose situation. That I am doing everything “right” but am not seeing the results I hoped for. It can even mean that I don’t feel comfortable in my own home, as I am extremely sensitive to energy and any negative vibes makes me want to run for the hills.
Capacity = I can’t do this.
When those words go through your mind multiple times a day, it’s time for something to change. As much as I wish I could blame those feelings on my kids’ behavior, the COVID circumstances, or everything and anything, those “things” are not in my control! I want, so badly, to be able to wave my magic wand and believe that if only this thing or this circumstance were different, I would be fine. I realize (not easily) that’s not the case and the only thing I have control over is my own mindset, my own actions and what comes out of my mouth.
So here are some changes that I made. These are still a work in progress, as growth is not linear! I really need you to remember this: Be kind to yourself especially when you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
- I needed to change the way I speak to myself. The more I told myself “I can’t do this”, the more my mind and body believed that message and it starts to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. So now, when something really challenging comes along (like once an hour) the first thing I tell myself is “I can do this”, even if I don’t completely believe it. The more I send this message to myself, the more of a reality it will become.
- Boundaries – I know we hear this term a lot, and many times it’s used incorrectly. A boundary is something we hold for ourselves, for example, when a teenager gives us attitude, telling them “you are not allowed to give me attitude” isn’t a boundary, it’s a rule or expectation, a boundary would look like “when you give me attitude, I will kindly but firmly tell you that I’m available to speak when I am treated with respect”. You’ve now created your boundary and he/she can choose whether to change their behavior as a result. You’re making clear what you are, and are not, willing to tolerate. You see how the focus is on yourself, and what you are going to do respect your those limits you have set.
It is way easier said than done to create those boundaries for yourself, especially when you are worried about the fallout. When you first set boundaries, they are usually not met with joy :), but I have come to realize how important they are. Without them it’s so easy to become burnt out and resentful. That’s not the way I want to move through my life and though I haven’t achieved 100% success in boundary setting, that is definitely the way forward for me.
In my previous post about Puerto Rico, I wrote about how “Life is a series of choices of what hurts and what hurts worse”. For me, it hurt worse to feel like I am stuck, and I’ve reached my capacity, so I realized some changes were in order. I am sure I will make plenty of mistakes, making changes is a messy business, lots of trial and error. One thing I know for sure is that growth is never done, it’s a lifetime journey and I am in it, G-d willing, for the long haul.