Ah, time. We live in it, yet we never seem to have enough of it. Why do we often feel such a time shortage, and what can we do to stop feeling so pressed for it?
Time, like many things, is another one of those things I’ve found that we so easily give up our control over. But I’ve found that the truth is that we actually have so much more power over our time than we might think.
Yes, we have obligations. Yes, we have commitments. But during those obligations and commitments, does time fly, or does it drag?
It’s time for some real honesty here. And I’ll tell you a little secret about myself—if there’s one area in my life that has been the most difficult for me to be honest about and to make peace with, it’s definitely been time. Why? Because, like many of us, I don’t want to feel like my time is being taken away by doing things I don’t really want to do, or being interrupted when I’m doing something I really want to do! ;)
That’s why I’m going to share with you what I’ve found to be the biggest truth about time, and it may very well be the concept you most do not want to hear. ;) But stick with me anyway, because it may be one that you need to hear.
The truth about time is this: We have so much more control of our time than we often think we do. We simply have to accept that we do.
Now, like with many things, we may be able to think of and even rationalize a gazillion reasons for why this concept cannot be true. But, incidentally, in doing that, we are only wasting our own time. ;)
Here’s an example of a reason why we may think we have no control over our time:
“But I have kids. They’re demanding of my attention!”
Are you feeling constantly stressed and overwhelmed as a parent? Here’s the thing, and I say this in the most loving way possible. Your own energy matters. It really does. And in allowing yourself times to replenish your own energy, you’re truthfully not abandoning your kids. You’re actually modeling the example that replenishing our own energies is a necessity in life, and that example will definitely serve your kids as adults. You’re also teaching them to be more independent and naturally creative in the process.
Your kids will demand and demand and demand. I was one of those kinds of kids once. ;) But it is up to you to set loving but firm limits with them and to seek out help, or encourage them to have their own time if appropriate, when you need time for yourself.
If you have a newborn or a very young infant, yes, your sense of time may need a great adjustment period. I totally get that sleep deprivation is not fun. However, it is still possible that you may be able to seek out assistance for yourself when your energies are depleted. I sense that so many moms and dads these days, however, don’t believe they have that capability. I sense that some may feel afraid to trust their kids with others, or they may feel they should try to prove to everyone around them that they don’t need any support when it comes to raising their children. It seems to be harder and harder for all of us in our society to admit that we could use some help at times. Yet, I believe it’s totally necessary for our health and for the health of our families as a whole to admit this, and to gladly accept and to seek out help when we feel depleted.
Here’s another common example of why we may think we have no control over our time:
“But I have this job. It takes up most of my time! Isn’t it vacation YET?”
Okay—question. Do you generally love that job, and most days, does your work and your working environment make you happy? Or do you watch the clock every second you can, just waiting for the day to be over?
In recent years, layoffs and other difficulties finding work have created a huge sense of job scarcity in our society. But the truth is that we all have unique gifts that we can use in so many ways to provide for ourselves and our families. Yes, it may take some time for us to get back on our feet if we’ve experienced a career loss. But when we take time to tune into ourselves and really decide what it is we want out of a job, and we either create it ourselves or we search for it, our perception of time can change from “the daily grind” to “I can’t believe I’m getting paid for this!” It’s truly possible. We simply have to believe it is, and then take inspired action to make it happen.
Will it be scary at times? Absolutely. Might you have to work a “bridge job” for awhile, one that isn’t ideal, in order to pursue others that are? Possibly. But it’s all about keeping that end goal in sight and not giving up, even on those days when you want to. You are worth more than to give up on your biggest dreams.
Here’s a final example, one that so many of us seem to struggle with and really may not want to admit to. ;)
“I’m spending hours online and on social media, or watching TV shows. But I just don’t have time to....(go after that dream I’ve always imagined, take up that activity I’ve always wanted to try, make my health a priority, etc.)
Yep, I’m throwing this hard truth right at you today, and watching it come right back to me—because I’m just as guilty of this one myself! ;)
Lately I’ve really been making it a point to become more aware of just how much time I’m spending on other activities and not spending on those things which may really benefit my life but which I may feel afraid of doing. Like many of us, I can easily get sucked into social media, TV, or any other type of distraction. And like many of us, I can do this without realizing exactly how much more time I’d “have” to put towards those bigger goals of mine.
I’ve really found that when we are using these other activities as distractions more than we are really using them as ways to connect with others or to relax, it comes down to a very basic, normal, and human emotion—fear. And working through that fear requires us to do something that can really challenge us and which we may continue to use distractions to avoid doing—that is, asking ourselves what it is we are really afraid of and why.
The problem I’ve noticed is that many people, if they even find the courage to ask those questions at all, will stop at that point in the process and continue with the distractions. They may feel paralyzed, unable to move forward even if they know what their fear is and why they’re afraid. But I think they’re missing out on a very important step. And that step is understanding this:
Even if our worst fears come true, we will have survived.
Yes, that’s right—even if my worst fears come true, I will have survived.
And even if your worst fears come true, you will have survived.
Trust me. I say this as a person who’s had many, many of her worst fears come true in numerous situations. I’m still here. And now I’m talking to you! ;)
Now, if your worst fear is, “What if I die doing this?” –well, that’s a bit different. Hopefully if that’s your worst fear, you will have seriously thought through whatever it is that you’re attempting! But for most of us, our worst fears about doing something don’t involve death as an outcome. Yet, they are still crippling enough to keep us from living our lives the way we really want to live them, and in ways that could be the healthiest for us and for others around us.
So I’m giving you a big challenge today. It comes in two parts. ;)
The first part is to ask yourself what it is that you may keep saying that you “don’t have time” for, and then ask yourself why. I can almost guarantee that your why will involve a pretty deep fear that you may have.
The second part is to really challenge yourself. Do this. You have the courage. Take some time to really go here, and either imagine or to write down what your worst fears would be if you took the time to do something that might be scary to you. Remember, thinking about or writing them down will not make them automatically come true. ;)
So go there. Be brave. Get it all out. Picture it or write it down.
Example: “If I go after my dream to be a writer, maybe some people won’t like what I write about. Some people may disapprove. I know I can’t get everyone to love me, but some may even hate me. They may even write or speak publicly about how much they hate me! They may try to ruin my reputation. They may try to discredit me, to bully me, or to make fun of me. ...Or maybe I’ll do all this work, and no one will read it. My story won’t be heard. My work won’t matter. No one will think anything of it, or get anything from it. I’ll have invested all that time, and for what?!”
For what? Because I felt it was the right thing to do. Because it comes easily to me. Because my genuine intent is to help others through it. Because I want to put my voice into the world regardless of whether it is heard or not. And why do I really want everyone’s approval so badly anyway?! There are 7 billion people on this planet! No one person can be liked by everyone! So even if “everyone” (i.e., a few people) were to tear me down because of me sharing my work, I will still have survived. And if by chance I don’t survive because of my writing, it will have survived. It will live on always in this world, no matter if I am there or not.
Do you see what just happened? In showing you how I’ve confronted some of my worst fears about taking up writing as a career, I’ve been able to come through the darkest part of the tunnel! Many of us see that this tunnel is dark from the get-go and are scared to even go in there. But once we start walking through it and really naming our fears and considering them, we’re that much closer to the light at the end!
When we name our fears relating to what may be holding us back, we often see that they really aren’t as scary as we may think they are.
And we can always know that we will have survived, or that we will at least have been brave enough to try.
Once you do this exercise, if you’ve committed to taking some positive action in your life, whether that be going after a dream or simply allowing yourself some deserved “you time,” really let yourself become more aware if you’re using other things (or even people) in your life as a kind of distraction from moving forward and taking that action. The more aware you can become, the quicker you can change course and really take back control of your time.
Remember—we have so much more control of our time than we often think we do. We simply have to accept that we do. :)
Did you like this reflection? If you did, I’d be honored if you chose to share it with anyone else who you think might appreciate it too. And if you have any thoughts about any of these ideas or want to share anything, please feel free to get in touch through my Contact form or in the comments below.
No matter what, always remember this: You are deserving, you are worthy, and you are good enough. Keep being you, keep shining, and keep growing!
With great love,