A common reason people experience chronic stress or lack of fulfillment is they accept the stressful or unfulfilling status quo. Of course, the person in this situation hopes things would change for the better but has an unrealistic expectation of how that change will come. There often is an unexpressed longing to be rescued by somebody. By whom? One wonders, but that part is never defined. And, thus, the lonely person stays lonely, the overscheduled person stays overscheduled, and the overwhelmed clinician stays overwhelmed.
(Check out Method ‘A’ here)
Here is the harsh truth that will set you free: no one will save you. The cavalry is not on its way. Godot is not showing up. Your boss won’t tell you to take the day off because you’ve been working so hard.
It’s not that people are bad. I think most people are good: honest, hard-working, fair, and responsible. But what most people are not is your guardian angel. They are probably just as pre-occupied, overscheduled, and stressed as you are. Or, if they’re not, they still don’t make it their life’s work to try to mind-read other people and rescue them from their problems.
The good news is that this problem is simple to solve and here it is in five words: Stop waiting and take action.
- If you’re lonely, join a club: book club, neighborhood sports team, volunteer organization, or public speaking forum, to name a few. If there isn’t a club that caters to your interests, start one. You can check out meetup.com and see what’s going on in your neck of the woods or how to start a new club.
- If you’re overworked at work, figure out what you want – the actual details of how things need to change. Then talk to your boss. Tell them that you need to renegotiate the terms of your employment because your life circumstances have changed. We all know that you can look elsewhere if your current job is non-sustainable.
- If you’re in too many volunteer positions, do the same: graciously drop out or renegotiate your commitments. It’s unfair to others if you act precipitously, but it’s eminently fair if you give them warning and a time to transition. After all, life changes and peoples’ priorities change, and renegotiating commitments made under different circumstances is needed to ensure those commitments make sense for today’s circumstances.
This is a straight-forward piece of advice. The only question is whether you will act on it.
I’ll leave you with a parting thought. I promise you the Queen of England will never show up on your doorstep, knight you Dame or Sir, and give you permission to do what you need to do. You are the person you’ve been waiting for.
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Thanks. Until next time.
“The future depends on what you do today.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“Do stuff, be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead.”
– Susan Sontag
“To pretend, I actually do the thing: I have therefore only pretended to pretend.”
– Jacques Derrida