It might seem like a cliché question, but do you know where your limits are?
And if so, do you respect them?
One good test is to ask yourself: "when I am hungry/tired/too hot/too cold... how long does it take me to attend to my need?"
Think about it.
The rat race we're in often leads us to oversee our needs.
I sometimes pride myself on being the antithesis of a diva (not in that I sing badly, but in that I am pretty low maintenance). However, that itself has its limits, and whenever I have trespassed them, it did not end well.
Last winter, for example, I worked wayyyyyy too much. Consequence: exhausted both mentally and physically, I ended up being sick for most of February. Me, the "never sick" person!
Luckily, others know better, and I am a good student.
- With my mother I have learned that it's okay to take regular breaks to sit and have a snack when you're out shopping for a while. (I would just go and go until I practically collapse.)
- With my father I have learned that the beginning of a headache has to be attended to, lest it turns into a full blown migraine. (They run in the family, and I have not been spared.)
- With my friend A, a seasoned and well-rounded athlete - she is an IronWoman among other things - I have learned to pace myself: I would tend to start off hikes and runs way too fast. She calmed me down. (Very good advice: I now do much better overall at endurance challenges.)
- With my little neighbor, L, who witnessed me packing my camping stuff, I have learned (following her advice) that bringing a good pillow is not superfluous. (She was right - I sleep so much better with my favorite pillow.)
Right now I am reading "Not Buying It. My Year Without Shopping", by Judith Levine. Some readers have accused her of not taking the challenge seriously, i.e. she complains about the luxuries she misses, and cannot wait to be allowed to spend again, when in fact she is still leading a comfortable life. I see the book differently. I think her journey illustrates clearly (and honestly) what happens when a middle class couple in their 50s, without children, attempt to reduce their consumption habits for the first time. Of course they have been used to a certain level of comfort and freedom. But you have to start where you're at, no? She does make some interesting points.
Taking breaks, attending our needs and being good to ourselves is no equivalent to overindulging and is not a waste of time. When done properly, it allows us to function more efficiently... with the added benefit of feeling better!
However, one must not forget that limits go both way. I believe we all operate best within an optimal range. Just as we need to give ourselves much needed breaks, we also need a certain amount of stimulation and challenge.
So, let me ask you again: do you know where your lower limit is, i.e. how much challenge you need in order to thrive?
And if so, do you make sure you do not remain below that stimulation level for too long?
I know my Vizsla has a clear need for physical activity, and a lot of it: if you don't exercise them sufficiently, many dogs (Vizslas in particular) will become "neurotic" and destructive.
I myself have noticed that when I fail to exercise sufficiently, my moods are affected.
Another example that's dear to my heart is that of gifted children; when they are forced to follow the regular curriculum, they can become bored and eventually disruptive. It's just like trying to drive a Ferrari at 15 km/h: it wasn't meant for that kind of speed!
As I was explaining to the kids today, certain forces contribute to maintain airplanes up in the sky (we had just witnessed a glider breaking free from the plane that had been pulling it), but slow the plane enough and it won't be supported anymore: it will fall. Same for bicycles. Same for people: their unique abilities have to be put to good use.
|R, having just finished the junior version of the Spartan Race, |
finishing in 2nd position in her category.
It was still a good challenge since she managed
to bruise a knee badly in the process.
We all have an ideal cruising speed. What is yours?
One final question for the road:
What do you think people's reaction is to someone who performs way above average in a given ability?
For example, in athletic ability? (the jock - not necessarily applicable to the pretty female athlete, who despite her huge talent might be known by many for her mouth-watering curves - I'm thinking of all I read about Eugénie Bouchard recently - not impressed.)
What about intellectual ability? (the nerd)
Do we react to it in the same way?
What makes us cheer? What makes us frown?
Why, do you think?
What about musical genius?