May
16

Getting Beyond Overwhelmed

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I’ve just come through a time of feeling really overwhelmed. Living full and free in my wholeness doesn’t always come easy to me.  Sometimes I come up against these big “piles” that seem to be blocking my way- challenges, new things that I don’t know how to do, things I don’t understand. In the foundation of my old belief system, there was a lot of self doubt, a lot of confusion about who I really was. Coming up against these piles when I felt so doubtful that I even deserved to be pursuing a fulfilling life was just too overwhelming. Even though I doubted my worth and my ability, I still pressured myself to be some kind of perfect superwoman.  I worked hard to fulfill an impossible task with faulty tools and when I failed to overcome the pile, I really believed it was because there was something wrong with me. Each failure validated my self-doubting belief system, and the next time I encountered a pile in my way, it was that much harder to work through it.

It’s okay to be afraid and to feel overwhelmed. Fear is something I will feel often as I pursue new things and new ways of living. But similar to my thoughts on pain, I believed that if I felt afraid, there was something wrong with me too. My fear somehow made me less deserving of the journey.

I recently finished reading hockey player Theo Fleury’s book “Playing With Fire”, the incredible story of his life and his recovery from abuse.  In the process of seeing the truth, connecting his pain and anger with what had been done to him in his early life and realizing how he was coping with this pain, he wanted to move forward in new and better ways. After some intense times of hashing all this out, his girlfriend Jenn (who is now his wife) said to him, “Let’s just take this big pile of shit and chip away at it.” Theo says, “So we would do one thing and realize, ‘Oh, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.’ And then we would tackle the next thing. We are still working on that pile.” (Playing with Fire, pg 303)

Their mindset moved and inspired me. As I worked through my most recent “overwhelmed pile” I gave myself the space to take one thing at a time from it; I believed that I was worth taking the time to spread all the parts of the pile out and see them for what they were. What was most powerful for me as I sorted through the parts was this voice within me that is gaining more and more life. It’s a voice that comes from the foundations of my new belief system about who I am. It said, “Remember who you are. The Real You is not a loser, not just a quitter or a failure or a coward.” I connected my motivation for working through the pile with what makes up the Real Me. I believed that it was worthwhile for me to go through the pain and the fear involved. I could bear it because of the fulfillment that was waiting in the midst of it and at the other end. As I work the work, I gain confidence that I can go through it and continue on this journey of an increasingly fulfilling life.

~Carla

Categories : Self Esteem

7 Comments

1

In 1989 when I first started going to 12-Step meetings, I was so full of fear. I described my fear once as being as big as the room we were meeting in. The way that I addressed my fears was not all at once. That is overwhelming. I faced my fears one at a time. When I was finished with one. I took a break and then after a short time would face another until the room full of fears was down to a manageable size. Accepting that I am afraid is the beginning of letting go of my fear. Carla, you are growing so much.

2

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4

Thanks for sharing this Patricia! That is a great analogy as well- sometimes the pile can fill a whole room and sometimes it’s just a bunch of little ones along the way. Thanks for the encouragement for myself and others. Hugs, Carla

5

The more you take on things one step/piece at a time the more you will come to understand that there is nothing to fear or be overwhelmed about. Thanks for sharing your process.

6

Thanks for visiting us again Mark. Yes, I really agree with you- learning to break things down into smaller pieces, whether it’s our past, a struggle we’re in right now, or a dream we’re pursuing is really empowering to move ahead. I appreciate your thoughts! ~Carla

7

Thanks Carla, I’ve had so much come up from my memory of late, (not just picture memories but also phrases, that I now have a big ‘pile’ which I can barely keep up with. Trouble is I don’t know where to start with it.

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