We are not all the same size.
We can’t all lift the same weights.
We can’t all swim the same distances.
Those are all physical aspects; however, our capacity varies internally too.
Stress tolerance, pain tolerance, tolerance to stimulation, noise, chaos and pending tasks.
Recently my daughter expressed her levels of overwhelm. She is 17.
She said, ‘ Mum, I know what I do in a week is probably less than what you and dad do in a day, but for me, that is my maximum capacity’.
She’s currently a full-time student at Hillsong College studying Pastoral Care. Pastoral Care is essentially counselling and life coaching, referenced to the bible.
She continued, ‘One thing I learned at college is that I need to set boundaries for myself, recognise my capacity, prioritise self-care, and say no when saying yes will compromise my wellbeing’.
We were flying to Vietnam for a 3 week family holiday in 14 days. All our tickets were booked and paid for, and she said – ‘No, I can’t come. Because I feel very overwhelmed about my studies and my assignments, and if I come I won’t enjoy the trip because I will be stressed’.
Here’s the two edged sword.
I’m proud my daughter found her voice and expressed her needs. I’m proud she is learning to say NO.
Would it have been helpful for her to find this voice before we paid for her ticket? Was I feeling frustrated and disappointed? Yes.
I stayed calm.
I reminded myself that life will go on.
I considered solutions… late cancellation, or transferring the ticket to my 11 year old grand daughter.
I chose option 2… life will go on.
Recognising and respecting your capacity in the different areas of your life will prevent anxiety.
Saying NO will increase your internal alignment and increase your levels of calm.
Mental and emotional capacity is like physical capacity… if you extend yourself a little, you’ll get stronger… up to a point… then you’ll break. A little stretch, for a short period of time is okay… stretching yourself constantly will just lead to overwhelm.
In what areas of your life are you not respecting and honouring your capacity?
When are you saying yes, when you really want to be saying no?
How would your life feel different if you listened to your internal compass?
Use the above as journal prompts.