Why Challenging How You Think Is So Important
I was brought up believing that ‘only the weak get sick’ and as much as I knew my father said this in jest, it was a belief that ingrained itself in me. That if you’re strong enough you’ll just power through.
I’d like to think that as an adult I am able to form my own opinions and recognise which beliefs support my lifestyle and which don’t, but some beliefs are harder to shake than others.
Last week that became very apparent to me.
For three straight weeks I had been feeling ill. I just couldn’t seem to shake off this flu. I didn’t understand what was happening. Normally after 24hours I feel better, but this time I just couldn’t get rid of it. I felt like I was operating at 70% and it was extremely annoying.
And yet I celt I wasn’t sick enough to ‘justify’ taking a sick day, because in my mind, you have to be on your death bed to call in sick.
I just kept thinking, you can do this, push through, you’re so strong. Those were the words I kept on hearing in my head.
After three weeks I started to feel very depressed. I didn’t feel well enough to do anything apart from work and sleep. So I stopped doing all my other activities that bring me so much joy and create balance in my life.
My life very quickly became extremely monotonous.
It was only after three weeks that I sat down and tried to work out what was going on. I realised this belief ‘that only the weak get sick’ had crept back into my life and was running it for me. That voice had very subtly appeared again and it was pushing me to breaking point.
As soon as I realised this I cancelled everything in my calendar, took a few days off and totally disconnected from work.
I sat down and had a conversation with myself.
I asked myself; why are you so resistant to put yourself first, recognise you need to rest, cancel everything for the next few days and just relax?
These were the answers I received:
- I have too much to do, I can’t let down my clients.
- You’re not really that ill, you can just pull through for a few more days and I’m sure you’ll get better
- Be strong, prove that you’re strong and you don’t need time off.
Wow what an insight.
My response to those answers.
- There is never a ‘good time’ to be ill. Stop waiting to have a week when you have nothing planned to be ill. Life doesn’t work like. As a coach you advocate for self love. You have to lead by example. All your clients will understand, and if anything, it will inspire them to make sure they take time off when are sick.
- How ill do I need to be to ‘justify’ a sick day. When I dug beneath the surface on this one, I realised I have a fear that I’m lazy. So when I get sick, there is a part of me that thinks I’m not really sick, I’m just tricking myself into thinking I’m sick so I can take time off and ‘be lazy’. I reminded myself of everything I had achieved in life and who I am as a person,I am anything but lazy!
- Who am I proving this to and what does strong even mean? I redefined what strong meant to me. It means willing to see when I need help and I need to rest. It means putting my needs first. That is strength. It means leading by example for my children, so that they know they don’t need to be on their death-bed to rest.
I want to share this this because I know I am not alone. I know there are so many women out there who have the same beliefs that I do. Women who keep pushing and pushing and pushing, until there isn’t anything left to give.
Women who are still proving to themselves that they are strong that they can do it all.
And you know what, we are strong, and we can do it all, but taking rest does not take away from that. It isn’t one or the other. We can do and be both.
So take a moment to ask yourself: What stops me from resting? And then have a good conversation with yourself just like I did.