Many driven people have an amazing ability to “play through the pain”. Whether it’s an athlete tightening a bandage and mentally blocking her injury to win a trophy, or a complete professional pushing tears aside as she misses her niece’s birthday party due to a work – related emergency, I’ve found out of the fact that many top artists have an eerie ability to “white knuckle” their way through obstacles.
While this is to some extent admirable, the danger is that these people often become so good at pushing their emotions aside that they actually forget that those emotions exist. This leads to feelings of burnoutand leaves them exposed to mental or physical harm. The key is to take time before and / or after stressful events to consider the emotional toll they have on you.
I actually address this in my book, Nervous energy: Harness the power of your anxiety in a technique called “To-Do List with Emotions”. Basically, you spend a moment thinking about what you are doing to work towards your goals. Notice what feeling arises for you around this activity, and then make a self-care plan to tackle it.
In the examples above, the self-care plans could consist of massage and taking a week off from the gym; or plan a “just us girls day” with your niece to catch up. The point is to make sure you do not become so focused on your goal that you forget to honor and take care of the superhuman side of yourself that overcame temporary obstacles.
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