It can be easy to toe the line between healthy action and unhealthy action. Healthy emotions/attachment and unhealthy emotional attachment. And it’s a lot easier these days to be doing a lot of things at once, or to do something every single day, multiple times a day. But perhaps this isn’t a good thing…
We need to be careful not to suffocate the things we’re doing.
For this post, I want to focus on three things: relationships, creativity, and self-development. Careful not to stifle your relationships, your creativity, or your self-development…
Let’s start with relationships. It can be easy when you like someone or you’re in love to cling to that person. To want to spend every waking moment with them. However, no matter the relationship (romantic, parent, sibling, friend, colleague) it can suffer if it’s put under too much pressure.
One person can’t be your everything…
It is a common phrase to say that your partner is “your everything”. I might be taking this too literally, but no one person should be everything to you. I believe it is important to have multiple relationships and people who fulfil different needs.
You and your partner should be independent enough to do things without each other, sometimes; to have different interests and hobbies.
It’s okay that your best friend doesn’t like anime like you do; perhaps a colleague from work does and you can discuss it with them.
This is important to avoid suffocating a relationship. Instead of expecting a person to do and be everything for you, take off the pressure and find others who fulfil other needs and wants you might have, while still loving and appreciating that person for all they do give.
Space away is important.
This is very important for creative projects, too, which I’m finding out for myself. You must be careful not to suffocate your creativity by demanding too much of it. Putting pressure on yourself with things like deadlines and wordcounts and beats and whatever else can hurt your creativity.
I see creativity as a flowing thing. When you take it by the neck and say “work, damn you!” it does not work. It needs to feel free.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe in discipline. You have to have the habit of sitting down to write in order to get anything done. Creativity can’t find you if you’re not where you’re supposed to be! But don’t milk it dry. Don’t force something to be creative genius. One day you’ll write an amazing chapter, another it will be your worst! That’s fine, you can fix it later.
Having a moment (or several) of lacked creativity does not mean you will never have it again. It doesn’t mean you’re not a creative person and are then doomed to fail. This is a form of perfectionism; expecting yourself and your work to be perfect will lead to paralysis and incompletion.
Creativity is like a pet bird that’s free to roam. It will fly away and visit other places, but it will always come back.
Allow it to be that way without fret or fear (the same goes for relationships).
Lastly, self-development. This has become a craze lately, people trying to better themselves. Of course, this is great. It’s admirable. But, perhaps some of us take it too far.
We set unrealistic goals and expectations on ourselves. We, again, try to be perfect. We go from zero to sixty in no time and end up crashing. The pressure is just too much. And a lot of people are doing all this without any real focus or personal motivation. They aim to run a marathon without any personal interest in sports or fitness goals of this sort. Why?!
Comparison, F.O.M.O., and social media make us think that there’s always something more. More to do, more to see, more to have, more to feel. We go endlessly searching, endlessly doing, endlessly fretting until we burn out.
Healthy, focused self-development is good. Doing things for the right reasons is good. Knowing your why is good.
But suffocating your self-development comes from trying to do too much too fast. Expecting to be an Olympian after six months at the gym. Cut yourself some slack. Be kind to yourself. Focus on what you want, what you actually want and need, and make a plan. Take small steps. Track those steps and praise yourself. And hold on to why you’re even doing it.
Be intentional about your self-development, not anal.
Holding on too tight to something comes from fear. Fear that a person will leave you; fear that you won’t finish the book you’re writing; fear that you’ll never be your best self. And so you force a person to tick every box; you force the book to be everything you want in the first draft; you force your self-development goals and habits to fit years of work into one.
No, no, no!
Let yourself breathe. Let your relationships breathe. Let your work breathe. Let your goals breathe. Trust me, loosening your grip won’t mean that they fly away…unless it wasn’t meant to be.