Sometimes we exhaust ourselves— even to the point of hurting ourselves.
Not because we want to hurt ourselves, exactly— we just burn out.
We suffer what runners and other endurance athletes call “overuse injuries.”
We exert ourselves too hard, for too long— and we don’t give ourselves enough time to rest and recover.
There are people reading this who AREN’T endurance athletes— at least, not physically— who nonetheless know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
It’s not that we’re stupid— though sometimes we may CALL ourselves stupid for winding up with an overuse injury.
The wellness and self-help industries LOVE to blame us for burning out.
They don’t quite get that the people reading this who burn our candles at both ends aren’t doing it because we don’t understand the risk we’re running.
Rather, we often think we’re the exception.
We’re the ONE person who will figure out how to keep going, going, going, with no negative consequences.
Yes, “normal” people might need rest and recovery…but WE don’t.
We’re tough. The laws of physics and principles of human anatomy and physiology don’t apply to us.
Beneath all of that, there’s also the WHY we’re so driven.
We’ve very often trying to prove ourselves.
Part of us may believe, very strongly, that in order to be loved or accepted, we have to perform.
We have to keep going, going going— that if we show any kind of normal human weakness or limitations, we’re going to be mocked or abandoned or ignored.
After all, who would love us if we were just “normal,” subjected to the rules and limitations of “normal” people?
Lots of people reading this know what it’s like to keep driving themselves, on and on and on, almost obsessively…all to keep from having to think too much.
You know what I’m talking about— how, if we dare to stop and rest, the noise in our head will suddenly get…louder.
Maybe it’s the addiction voice; maybe it’s the trauma voice; maybe it’s the self-harm or self-sabotage voice (and, make no mistake, all of those voices tend to say similar things, albeit in very different ways and in very different tonalities at times).
We know what happens when those voices get TOO loud. So we try to outrun them.
We run, and we run, and we run, literally or metaphorically…and while we know we can’t run forever, or else we’ll hurt ourselves, we can’t seem to make ourselves stop.
We’re afraid. And kind of ashamed.
Eventually, however, our body or our mind MAKES us stop.
We sustain that overuse injury.
It might be a pulled muscle; it might be a stress fracture; it might be a major depressive episode; it might be a dissociative fugue.
But when your body or mind say “uncle,” we don’t really have any option BUT to stop.
If we’re lucky, we hit that point BEFORE we’ve lost anything too major, or physically hurt ourselves beyond the point of healing.
If and when this happens to you, you need to know this isn’t about you being “stupid.”
This isn’t about you being “weak.”
This isn’t about you being a “quitter.”
This is about you being a human, and human bodies and minds needing rest and recovery.
This is about you NOT being the exception— and that being the GOOD news.
This is about you being exactly as vulnerable as you are— no more, but no less.
And this is about you taking the opportunity to really care for yourself.
In short— this is about you walking the talk of self-love and self-trust.
This is about you having your own back— and proving it.