The drug of choice for people with chronic exhaustion, Adrenal Fatigue and burnout is achievement, along with the accompanying temptations like control and perfection. In a nutshell it adds up to a whole lot of DOING with the purpose of feeling good enough and safe.
Alcohol, cocaine, heroine, cigarettes, gaming, shopping or insert coping mechanism of choice here ___________ all serve the purpose of helping one to avoid feeling unsafe and not good enough.
The dangerous thing about achievement and doing is that it is not so obviously bad for you. After all, doing is a part of every day life and these days EVERYONE is doing. My children learned to pretend they were busy working before they could talk properly. After ‘dada’ and ‘mama’ came “I’m busy” while performing a great imitation of sitting at the laptop, working.
Because being busy, doing and getting on top of things is such an accepted part of life we don’t stop for a second and look at it as being in any way a bad thing. Until you actually can’t do anything anymore because your body has objected in the only way a body can – it stops functioning fully. The normal amount of sleep doesn’t serve you anymore. Thinking is constantly foggy and a coffee or chocolate become a regular go-to to wake you up. Your body is telling you that there is imbalance and you need to face it.
The other difficult aspect of the achievement and doing is that it is likely something you’ve done your entire life and so why should it be a problem now? You know you get those people who are ‘lazy’ and then you get, well… you. You as the person who achieves, manages and is always on top of things. When it’s been like that your whole life why should it be a problem now?
What makes it even more difficult to see achievement and doing as a bad thing is that you have very likely received praise and affirmation for being so ‘efficient’, ‘responsible’, ‘capable’, ‘smart’ and all the other guises that doing shows up as. When something has been praised and makes you feel good, why would you possibly want to stop it?
Here’s why…. It’s not your truth and its actually not what you really want to do (Yes, I know you THINK you do but that’s your head brain that creates all the belief systems that help you to ‘survive’). Your heart actually wants to do something else and while you’re so busy achieving and doing your poor heart (which gives voice to your soul) is not able to fulfil its purpose and its passion.
So besides becoming ill because so much doing is just plain exhausting and energy-draining, you are also becoming ill because there is a part of you that is desperately trying to grab your attention (preferably while you’re lying flat on your back because you’re just too damn tired to do anything else and that’s the only way you’ll listen). That part of you wants to shake you up to see that you’re not living your truth.
Don’t get me wrong – doing and achievement is necessary. If there was no doing and achieving goals in my house no one would eat breakfast or get to school or get fetched from school and I wouldn’t be writing this blog post. However, A LOT of the doing we do, and I mean the majority of it, is based on needing to feel we are in control, that we are good at what we do, that we are super Mom, Star employee, King boss and all that jazz that helps us to not have to face the part that is saying “I’m actually not happy”.
Maybe you are meant to be doing exactly what you are doing but then it should be feeding you with energy and not draining you. It should be unfolding with what feels like excitement and ease (not always but a most of the time) because that is what flow is, and flow and ease happen when we tune in to our truth and our soul. Resistance and difficulty are what happen when we operate from a place of fear and survival.
If you are a big do’er and achiever then you likely learned from a young age to achieve and to be responsible and capable (as much as a little person can) so as to be seen, heard and acknowledged and to feel that everything was OK in the world. This could be due to reasons as simple as mom and dad just did not have the tools to handle emotions so there was a massive shut down whenever scary or sad or angry happened in the household.
Imagine being a little person feeling scared and confused and there is no one who seems to be able to manage it. What would you do? Well, distract yourself for one (which involves DOING so there is no FEELING) and then achieve a sense of competence and “I’m OK’ because I can manage myself and my world. That s%*t sticks around because it worked and served a very important purpose.
The fear of ever feeling so scared and alone and unsupported (as if you are that child again) is so big that the doing and achieving feel very necessary way past the point that they are necessary. They just become layers of you that hide your true self and you forget to take them off when you don’t need them anymore. And you really don’t need them now. Because you’re not a child anymore. You’re a grown adult who can reach out and receive support and learn tools and manage feelings. You don’t need drugs and coping mechanisms and excessive doing to manage anymore.
You know when you read those inspiring autobiographies by people who were addicted to drugs or alcohol and they talk about how when they were finally free from the addiction it felt like they emerged into a whole new world? Letting go of excessive doing and achieving does the same thing. You start to be fully present, to be spontaneous, to be connected and awake, to truly feel, and to realise that there is so much more to you and life.
Next time you once again compulsively fill that free time with more doing despite your best intentions to relax, or you cannot stop a task until it is completely finished even though you know it is not really necessary, or you become agitated or anxious because you are unable to do what you planned to do perhaps explore for yourself…could I be addicted to doing?
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