…clearly. When we spend less time grappling with discomfort, we can focus more on what matters most. If the people who routinely push themselves past their comfort zones are metaphorically skydiving out of airplanes, those of us who choose to operate from within our comfort zones are serenely laying bricks, creating a home we can thrive in.
Melody Wilding, LMSW
I sincerely think that a good bit of this is about what works for each of us. So much of the pap about pushing ourselves is construed to be ALL THE TIME. Not only is that nonsense, it’s insanity. As a fan of the Roosevelt quote, the way I hear it is to pick up the phone to make that challenging but all important sales call. That is difficult. AND it’s not leaping out of an airplane. It’s a small thing, and like the bricks you refer to here, it’s part and parcel of making a strong and unshakable home.
It seems to be the typical American way to interpret these phrases (my fave at the gym? GO HARD OR GO HOME, to which I say GO TO HELL) as an exhortation and well as a condemnation of anyone not beating the shit out of themselves 24/7. I’m pretty athletic, but if I don’t balance my workouts with body care and rest, I collapse, injure and am down for the count. On a day when uber effort is called for, it’s there. But it isn’t if I have done so much daily damage not only to my body but also to my brain and emotions that I can’t function.
I do skydive. And a lot more. But by god not every single day. It’s the wholesale misrepresentation that we are nothing if we’re not climbing Kili (did that too) every single day of the week. That’s no way to live. In fact, it’s a damned good way to die.
I think this is a very important take, if for no other reason that the full court press for life version of the American way of being causes vastly more illness than we realize. It’s not enough that we have idiot soccer dads who vilify their eight year olds for not being superkids. They cascade their shit on their children. Everywhere, even on city buses, we are told in effect we’re nothing if we’re not striving so hard we grind our molars.
That’s not impressive. That’s excessive.
Why isn’t being average and ordinary enough? Why do we ALL have to be superheroes?
We don’t. There are times we need to be super. Superb. The rest of the time being ordinary, but willing to push the needle a tad to see what else we can do, is just fine, thanks.
If we look at Jungian archetypes, two out of the primary four despise risk, moving fast, and extremes in anything. It’s how they’re wired. To make them wrong misses the point. The other two froth at the mouth to kayak Class V waters (that’s where I live at times). But not all the time. I think Instagram plays a part in this, as we are always and forever comparing. NOBODY can live this way all day, every day.
Many who prefer safety, predictability, a certain linear progression and a lot of quiet do perfectly fine. Their definition of living out loud is very different from mine.
And just as valid. I think it’s ludicrous to be critical of those who find joy in the quiet, richness in the inner world, and don’t need to be defined by whose record they bested today.
I am working on this issue of anxiety right now, so this piece is very relevant, Melody. We live in a world of ridiculously fair expectations. That’s just one more layer of stupidity none of us needs.
Thanks for an excellent piece.