Thursday, January 4, 2024

Take the pressure off of yourself to have it all figured out right now

Can I share something that felt liberating (and made me cry)?

During a session with my therapist, I openly and very light-heartedly shared a list of critical decisions I just had to make about major next steps in my life. 

While I was smiling and speaking, she sat quietly on the other side of the screen, waiting for a chance to finally interject.

I finished and smiled at her even wider, all while cleverly avoiding eye contact. There was nothing she could ask me that I wouldn't have already thought about. I waited....

She breathed out and said, "well, all this can explain why you're experiencing insomnia... Joy, you are asking yourself some very hard questions."

I stared at my screen where our eyes finally met. After being in therapy on and off for 7 years, this was only the second time I cried in front of my therapist. Hearing those words felt like a heavy weight was lifted off my shoulders. It felt like acceptance. It felt like understanding. It felt like I could finally see myself, and give myself grace for both the internal and external work I'd been doing for the last year.

Do you know how good that felt? Whew. The tears suddenly flowed as I let myself be embraced by understanding. I felt like I finally received the permission to be stressed.

Often, our bodies will inform us that something is too heavy for us to shoulder before our minds even dare to recognize it. We externalize this in either fight, flight or freeze mode. We may take flight from our "hard questions" or burdens by escaping into long boughts of sleep (and calling it a daily nap) or extended vacations; in our freeze we might experience physical symptoms of anxiety where our heart rate increases, we feel butterflies or get analysis paralysis, or we may go into fight mode. At the time, my body elected to fight which manifested in the form of sleepless nights. Have ever you experienced any of these responses? 

I thought deeply about my therapist's words --- I was asking myself some pretty hard questions. I demanded of myself critical answers. And I was unrelenting in placing immense pressure on myself to perform well in this next stage of my life.

I often remind you that you don't need permission. But in case you needed to hear it right now:  you can take the pressure off of yourself to have it all figured out right now. You have full permission to listen to your body -- what is it trying to communicate with you? Can you rest? Can you breathe? Can you hold a little more loosely to the idea that you have to make the perfect decisions right now?

In moments of unrest, too much rest, or futile rest, affirm this:
  • You have what it takes to see yourself win.
  • Everything you desire is well within your reach.
  • All your needs are supplied in overflow.
  • You are divinely connected and the right doors will open for you.


P.S. I've finally begun taking new clients for 1:1 coaching (yess! the site is live!). If you are eager to use your voice, grow in confidence, and get radically clear on your next steps in your career, journey with self, or relationships, let's chat. I have just a few slots open for August and September, so if you want to grab a seat with me, click here.


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