Ending an Addiction to Finish Lines, Praise & Busy-ness

I used to be addicted to finish lines and meeting goals.  I am still recovering.  I spent life searching for the next thing to accomplish. I had no idea how to be present and enjoy the life right in front of me.  In school, I loved seeing those A's on my projects, test and report cards.  With high school, it really became more severe.  ACT scores, college acceptance, GPA, scholarships and more.  I lived life like a race car.  I worked constantly, was constantly in extracurricular activities, and was proud of being a "hard worker."  I fed off the praise I received and took great pride in being a hard worker, so I kept going.  

College meant more finish lines to cross as quickly as possible.  Graduate with a double major in 4 years, drive home every weekend to work 40+ hours managing a bar/restaurant, more A's, more praise.  I started getting tired, but felt so proud of myself. I pushed through. I needed another finish line to cross, so I got married a couple of weeks after graduating college.

My first year teaching was super tough., I taught students with emotional/behavioral disabilities who came to school half days and spent their entire time with me.  My husband worked out of town a lot.  I was lonely.  I decided I wanted to have a baby.  We headed toward another finish line. I really had no idea how much work was too much.  I pushed myself to the max constantly.  I decided to also start to pursue my master's degree.  I was honestly addicted to these finish lines.  I graduated with my master's in reading while 8 month pregnant with my 2nd child, and in my 3rd year teaching.  I was tired, but I still fed off of that external praise telling me I was doing a great job.  Now that I look back, my body was telling me to slow down, but I didn't know how to listen.    

I loved teaching reading.  I poured my heart and soul into it.  I loved the students, the parents, my fellow teachers and co-workers.  I gave too much of myself to it.  I didn't know how to do anything less.  I was used to doing things big and with everything I had.  I couldn't help but see the big picture, and wanted to impact everything.  I wanted to change the world.  Then, one day, I saw this quote by Mother Teresa, "If you want to change the world, go home and love your family." I repeated it to myself regularly.  I realized I couldn't teach full time and love my family the way I wanted.  I didn't know how to excel like I had been used to all of my life at both. I didn't want to be superwoman at everything anymore. I come from a family of workaholics.  I was really proud of that, until the day I realized I didn't want to be a workaholic anymore.  

So I stopped.  Well, I had some help.  I took a class with the amazing Michelle Anthony from BlissTonic Yoga and Movement arts.  We did yoga, journaling, meditation and mindfulness.  She helped guide me to the place I was meant to be right now.  This is what led me to teach yoga, mindfulness and meditation.  I always wanted to be my own boss, but never knew what I wanted to do.  Now, I know.  I want to help guide people to finding peace and living the life of their dreams. A life they love.  A life where they can enjoy the journey without worrying about crossing any finish lines.  

I don't regret any of these finish lines.  I have met amazing people along the way, and am so thankful for all I have learned.  I am grateful to be slowing down now.  I am learning to be present.  I am learning that life is a journey, and I no longer care about reaching the next finish line.  My only goal currently is to find joy in every day.  I take time for meditation and mindfulness each day.  I listen to my body and am being more true to myself.  I'm not saying everyday is amazing and easier, but things are a whole lot better.  I can handle stress that used to break me.  Consequently, I have a lot less stress in my life.  Truth is, I realized that I created a lot of the stress I endured.      

 

Source: www.christylangman.com