Under Committing: The Responsible Thing To Do
I struggle with this one. Hard. I’m fiery and I’m passionate - the embers of life purpose burn hot and deep. So when I feel strongly about something, I can get obsessed. I’m an information gatherer - sort of like a hunter-gatherer, except I fill my basket with articles, books, music, podcasts, and movies. If I can get my hands on it, I’ll absorb it. Intellectualization is how I process. That and empathy. So once my emotions are linked to the information, I’m far down the rabbit hole.
Usually these research tactics serve me well. Until I over-commit to too many projects, programs, assignments, or outreaches. We all know that feeling - really wanting to do something, but then finding the interest wane because there’s not enough energy in the tank to be fully present. This is my biggest self-inflicted pet peeve. Overcommitting causes fatigue and an inability to move forward with my passions.
That’s why over the past year I’ve decreased my commitments, not for lack of caring but for hunger for life. I’m more generous, loving, and compassionate when I’m less committed.
How does that work?
- I have space to take care of myself. I’m able to schedule the important activities that make me feel good, feel rested, and feel refreshed. I enjoy doing laundry, and then folding clothes while I watch a movie. I have the space to get on my yoga mat and to stay on the mat past the instructor’s timed shavasana. My self-care breathes in these pockets of time.
- I have energy to love others. The worst feeling is when I’m too busy to cook dinner for my family. I don’t mean the occasional night of take-out. I mean when I’m too busy six days a week to cook. It’s like, food is essential, so why can’t I find time to do this one thing for us? When I decrease my evening commitments I have the energy and time to make a meal. Even if it’s just thirty extra minutes, it feels so good to make something nourishing for our house. And then when I still can’t make it happen, I give myself grace because I know I’m on the road to trying.
- I have freedom to help unexpectedly. When my schedule is too packed, I’m going to say no to almost everything. It’s not personal. It’s just the energy conservation of an introvert. But when my schedule has a buffer, I’m more likely to say yes to social outings and to lend a helping hand.
- I have room for play. Can I just say my favorite mornings are snuggled up with coffee and a good book? While they don’t happen as often as I would like, it is my ultimate form of relaxation. My other favorite mornings are walking with my husband Cody anywhere near the ocean. Making space in my schedule without filing it up with other duties lets me have fun regularly.
If I had one word to describe how I decreased commitments, it would be patience. I continue passionate searches. I continue seeking understanding and education. I continue to look at fun projects and programs. I continue to feed my brain. But I wait before starting a new project. I wait patiently before signing up for the next thing. I keep throwing the idea around in my brain, and wait to see if it still sticks six months later. I re-evaluate my commitments. And I find a way to pursue the passion while still maintaining balance.