I have recently started going back to therapy again. I have an hour long session every two weeks, and so far so good. I think therapy can be absolutely life changing for some people, and being able to talk to a professional about your thoughts, feelings and struggles, knowing that they are there to give no judgement and to just help you cope is such a reassuring thing to have.
So, in yesterdays session I was talking about how I often put so much pressure on myself to be constantly busy doing things, being productive, working out or working on a new project. I’ll get these bursts of motivation and ambition in which I plan out my whole week down to the hour, with all these expectations in my head of all the things that I’m going to get done. Then, just as quickly as it came, that wave of determination comes crashing back down. I’ll look at the plan I set out for myself, all these things that I think I need to do to be a healthy and successful person, and instantly doubt myself. I start to look at it all in a more negative light. What if I don’t do well enough? What if I end up wasting my time, money and effort? Will this really get me where I want to be?
I start asking myself all these questions, then when the time comes to get stuff done, I’m too tired and apprehensive to actually do what I set out to do. What’s the point in doing something if I don’t feel I’ll do it perfectly? Why would I start writing a blog post when I know I’ll lose the drive to finish it in one sitting? What’s the point in going to the gym when I only have the time and/or energy for a measly 30 minutes?
It was then that my therapist said to me ‘Instead of this ‘all or nothing’, what if you told yourself ‘all or something’?’. I’ve never thought about it like that. I think we’re told throughout our whole lives, especially in school, that if we’re not doing our best we’re not trying hard enough. This then leads to the mentality of ‘well, might as well not try at all’. But this isn’t true. Something is always better than nothing, and sometimes can be more beneficial than giving it our all.
Putting all this pressure and insane expectations on ourselves to work hard and be successful at what we do isn’t healthy; and stop looking at how hard others are working and what they’re doing, because comparing ourselves only makes things worse. It’s called ‘hustle culture’ – I call it toxic. It leads to burnout.
Allow time for self love and self care. Give your mind and body rest if that is what they want. If you can’t give it your all, only something, don’t judge yourself for it. Give it what you can manage.
Something is always better than nothing.