One of the most frustrating things that anyone can experience [no matter how old or how young] is feeling overwhelmed. I am sure that many of you would agree that no one wants to get up in the morning feeling that the only answer to their problem is to go back to bed to avoid it. Life is full of demands, and it never seems to stop! These daunting demands can lay heavy on your hearts, so heavy that you can become mentally and emotionally paralyzed.
For whatever reason, many of us have implemented a learned survival technique to skim and not swim through our lives. Simply put, we stay in shallow areas to avoid serious issues. Unfortunately, this coping mechanism seals our lives with unhealthy behaviors, behaviors that can lead to mood swings, depression, low self-esteem, and stunted personal growth. Many find themselves drowning in their situations. And to make matters worse, we may even see our inner circle, especially our children, siblings, spouses, and close friends, repeat these same behaviors.
Skimming through life was never intended to be a life-long skill that we should have embraced. It seems like healthily addressing life issues became too time-consuming and too painful, and it simply became an endangered species that could not survive with our fast-paced life.
That is why it is essential to our well-being to embrace the beauty of who we are and the marvelous things we can accomplish as humans. The good news is you can healthily address life's demands. Notice that I did not say we have "all the answers" to our demands, but we do have the ability to manage them. However, you must be willing to develop your capacity.
Nonetheless, I genuinely believe that we can enjoy heaven here on earth, and here are a few suggestions that helped me to grow my ability to address life issues and to reduce the plethora of demands that came my way:
(1) Realize that outside-demands will keep coming; however, it IS NOT your life's mission to entertain every request that comes your way. You will burn yourself out.
(2) Stop those daunting demands at the front door of your life, and decide which requests are allowed to come in. Too many demands allowed in your personal space can create feelings of being overwhelmed.
(3) Understand that having the capacity means that you are fully equipped [with enough time and intellect] to sort through and decide what is essential for you at the moment and for you in the future.
(4) Protect and guard your mind against the demands of others by verbally expressing to them and yourself that it is ok for you to say "no" or "I need time to consider that" or "my plate is full right now."
(5) ...and this one, I had to learn the hard way: It's perfectly fine to recant your first answer. Give yourself permission to change your mind.
You are the captain of your ship, and you decide what kind and how much cargo and passengers will stay or go on your journey! Life is what you say it is and nothing else!
*photo taken in St. Thomas VI by Montubua Vasser-Smith