When you feel like you can’t go on, but then you find yourself going on anyway…isn’t that one of the most amazing things in the world? Where do we find the energy from? When all our energy should be gone? When we have pushed ourselves at least 30% further than we thought we could go, and yet we find ourselves still going. What makes the difference? Why do some of us stop and others keep going? And how can we stop or keep going, in a way that is healthy for us?
I have two words for you – curiosity and compassion. If we have both of these qualities we can keep going and stay safe, or stop without feeling guilty. Curiosity will fire us to keep going when we have gone on for longer than any human should. Wondering what’s around the corner, a willingness to go one more step, just to see. That keeps us going, it pushes us on and forward. If you find yourself in a place where you have to keep going, but can’t find the energy – find your curiosity. Find something interesting or a thing that makes you wonder about the next stage, the next step. Curiosity might have killed the cat, but cats have nine lives, and they probably live very happy lives going off on adventurers and engaging with the world around them.
And then there’s compassion. It’s all very well running around the world and pushing yourself but it’s not such a good idea if you don’t have compassion for yourself. If you don’t stop to do some self care along the way. Be curious, push yourself, but remember to care for yourself. How can you show yourself compassion when you are busy and doing too much? You can talk kindly to yourself, tell yourself you are doing good, and your are proud of yourself. You can give yourself a hug. You can give yourself permission to take short cuts – take a taxi instead of a bus; pay more money for the fancy shoes because you are on your feet a lot and you deserve to be comfortable; buy yourself a take-away at the end of the day instead of cooking; tell others you are tired, and accept their help. Eat something healthy for breakfast because your mother would make you if she was here, and you know how to care for yourself like she would – so do it. Whatever it takes, however you do it, remember to be kind and patient and give yourself credit – life is hard, you’re under pressure, you are doing good.
And when it comes time that you feel you really do need to stop, and can’t find any curiosity to drive you on, then remember to be compassionate with yourself again. Sometimes we can’t stop because we feel driven to achieve, or we feel like we have failed when we give up. But sometimes the best way to take care of ourselves is to stop and rest a while. It’s a big world out there with a lot to be curious about, so take care, be kind to yourself and rest when you need to – you already know you are amazing, you don’t need to be amazing every day.