|“Constraint” is a gift of intention, freedom, and calm.
I recently pressed “pause” on three important activities in my weekly schedule. Here’s why.
Like you, my life operates in seasons and sometimes I want to slow down the pace to make space for new focus and intention. I practice constraint to say no for the purpose of creating more time and energy in life.
For example, I’ve been taking weekly Croatian language lessons for several months. I love studying and attending weekly 90 minute classes. The first cycle ended last week and I decided to delay the next round until early spring instead of joining the December 4th cohort. This was a hard decision for me to make because I enjoy immersing myself in all things Croatia, I admire my tutor, and I cultivate new skills that keep my brain healthy. However, I also started a new 8-week business project that I choose to focus on for the remainder of 2021. I also want to slow down the pace during the holiday season to create flexibility in my schedule for connection, playfulness, and ease. Finally, one of my core values is to honor commitments. Pressing pause (not stop or delete) in this situation allows me to dive deeply into my current priorities and to return to my Croatian language lessons with a sustained focus in February.
Over the last couple of months as I implemented this tool of radical self-love in my own life, I noticed patterns that surfaced in my process. I’m curious to know if these sound familiar to you.
1. Chasing solutions – When I have a low tolerance for feeling confused or frustrated, I often try to “fix” the discomfort by adding new programs, classes, conversations, and events to my schedule. It’s an easy default for me because my gender and academic conditioning taught me to look outside myself for the answers. This pattern keeps me so busy that I don’t have the time or quiet to trust myself to generate answers.
2. FOMO – Sometimes I engage in activities simply because I don’t want to feel left out of the conversation, the information, the jokes, or the relationships. It feels risky to my brain to be out of the loop because that’s how our brains operate. That fear pushes me to spread myself thin and I can’t be present fully for anyone, especially myself.
3. People pleasing – When I resist saying no to others, I’m actually saying no to myself and my dreams. I also have a habit of telling myself that I’m obligated to do something, that I have no choice. Hint: that’s a convenient lie my brain offers to keep me on the run. And, let’s be honest. Sometimes others don’t like when we set a boundary. That’s ok. In fact, their thoughts about me are none of my business and I cannot control anyone else’s behavior, even if I tried. What I can control is whether or not I show up for myself.
Constraint is not an excuse to avoid. It’s not buffering with an unplanned three-hour binge of “The Great” when I cleared my schedule to write my weekly newsletter. It’s not a punishment of withholding, nor it is a squeezing to create pressure.
Constraint is about engagement and spaciousness. It’s radical self-care. And, it’s bringing a spirit of calm intention to what matters most so that I can live deeply.
I invite you to join me in the season of constraint and impact. If you want help with this, reply to this email or message me on social media and we can talk about how coaching can help you constrain today so that you can live your most vibrant life now & in the future.