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ICYMI, I'm doing a new series on the blog called “Monday Mantra” where each week I'll be sharing a guiding mantra to help you embrace more of who you are while navigating this whole #adulting thing. I'll share my personal story, what I learned from it, tips for integrating it into your life this week, and the self care products I'm loving that support me in being my best self! Check out more Monday Mantra posts here!
You know those moments in your life where you feel like you need to just keep going?
You've read one too many inspirational Instagram quotes about hustling harder and you accidentally push yourself too far?
Yeah, I've been there and it didn't work for me and that's what this post is about.
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You Can't Out Hustle The Pain
I remember back when my dad passed away, the very next day I went in for my waitressing shift like nothing happened. I mean obviously something had happened, but I kept showing up where I was expected to show up as if nothing happened. Now, you need to understand something about the restaurant I worked in: it was a small burger joint that was like a family. There were only about 10 of us that worked there. I went to high school with most of the servers, my boyfriend at the time was the manager and even his little brother and roommate worked with us. It's noteworthy to say that his roommate and I did not get along. He was always trying to sabotage our relationship and we just generally did not like one another.
Everyone said I didn't need to go into work; but I went anyway. There was nothing I could do sitting at home that would bring my dad back I thought. So I figured the best thing for me to do was get out of my head and go waitress. It was mindless, robotic work for me at that point. The perfect distraction… or so I thought.
Maybe this wasn't a good idea…
This happened about a decade ago, so the details of what came next are a little fuzzy. All I remember was taking a table with a large party and then the roommate going off on me because it was in his section. Or maybe it was the other way around and I was taking to long to get to the table and they asked him to take the order? Who knows, it was a decade ago. What I do remember is what happened next where we had words. Some very specific non-PG words.
The next thing I knew, I was sitting on the side of the building in the pouring rain hysterically crying. Crying so hard that I ended up falling over onto my side and curling up in the fetal position. There I was, 19 years old, on the ground in the pouring rain outside of my place of work broken into a million little pieces. My boyfriend came out and found me and had no idea what to do. He called my mom to come get me and while we waited, I had a panic attack. He broke up with me the next day; but that's another story for another day.
Now this story isn't for pity or anything like that. It's to show you that you can't hustle through the pain. We've gotten into this culture where we “hustle harder” and don't ever really pause to think about the toll that is taking on us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. In my experience, the hustle has always come when I'm running from something in my life. Whether it's a feeling, truth, or something else. The hustle becomes a fake shield that I've unwittingly convinced myself will help, when it only ends up hurting. Because what happens when we try to hustle harder? We create a new baseline. Put our systems into our fight or flight response. We create an unstable and unsustainable reality that will eventually shatter and leave us to deal with the very thing we've been avoiding.
You know who hustles? The people who are afraid. People who think if they pause to breathe, someone else is going to take or rob them of whatever they are working towards. The people who are afraid to own up to the things they've done of the feelings they are experiencing in that moment, so they run and try to out run their pain.
Remember, feelings are temporary. They are like a wave in the ocean, they have a peak, break, crash, and recede… but here's the other part of that ocean analogy people forget: waves also create rip currents. If you aren't familiar with the ocean, rip currents are what they teach people to swim through horizontally. They can trap people underneath, making it impossible to go directly up for air. The harder you try to go up and just break free, the worse it is. You have to swim or float parallel to the shore in order to get to the rip currents edge and free yourself. The key is remaining calm.
And that's the key to dealing with difficult emotions or situations: staying calm. Not hustling harder. When you try to force your way out, you can get swallowed hole. You can get trapped in that emotion and hold onto it forever in your system typically evidence by recreating traumatic patterns over and over again. But when you remain calm, and can observe what is happening, allowing yourself to feel the current, and float with it, you'll come out the other end with grace and able to truly let it recede.
How to integrate this into your life:
This week, my challenge to you is to notice where you feel yourself fighting and forcing. Where you feel yourself pushing harder than you need to. Remember, your best life will FLOW. There's a big difference between taking a step outside of your comfort zone and taking a risk that feels exciting and nerve racking versus repeatedly traumatizing yourself and feeling sick to your stomach as you push through something not working. See if you can identify one area where you're experiencing the latter and choose to respond differently. Choose to go with the flow rather than force it.
For instance, in my story, what would that day have looked like if I chose to just be rather than force myself to work? Over the years I've seen this play out when I've chosen to approach relationships differently by just showing up with an open mind – no agenda – and listening versus forcing my own agenda and control over the situation. I've been able to communicate better and heal faster because I'm not working off of old patterns that stopped serving me a long time ago.
Self care products to help you slow down:
Nope, you're not going to find a planner or organizer in this post! Instead keep things around you that remind you to take a moment and flow rather than force, run, or control.
Rose Quartz Roller – Not only is rose quartz the crystal of self love, using the facial roller will remind you to take a moment to pause and reflect and smooth out any areas of resistance in your life.
Headspace App – a fabulous app with meditations for every situations in your life. Whether it's to inspire compassion, reduce stress, or relieve anxiety, there's a mediation for everything.
This journal for pressing pause and slowing down.