Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When You Know Your Plate is Full

I have a friend for whom I have great respect.  In the last year, she was dealt a devastating blow in her life, one that I don’t know whether I would ever be able to handle.  Regardless, she had to deal with it.

I have always known her to be strong; but, in this instance, I truly am in awe of her.

In talking to her, she taught me a huge lesson.

We were discussing the goals she had set for herself about six months ago and she said she had accomplished those goals and now she was setting others.  I asked her if she would be going back to work at this time and she said in an amazingly confident and calm way, “No, I do not have room on my plate for that right now.  I have enough to handle”.

She wasn’t rude.  She was just sure about what she was saying and exactly how she was going to handle her situation.  It wasn’t that she said she was not going back to work that hit me.  It was the fact that she knew her plate was full.  She didn’t feel guilty about not adding to her plate. She didn’t feel she needed to defend her stance.  She just knew what she could handle and what she couldn’t.

By listening to her instincts and following her self-knowledge, she was exactly where she needed to be.

I had such respect for her and, how in such a difficult time, she seemed to have found peace because she knew exactly where she was going.

There are times when I feel like I should be going in so many directions. I feel like there are so many parts of my life where I should be moving forward, but then I think of her words and her focus.

After that conversation, I find myself hearing her comment in my head and I say to myself, “I don’t have room on my plate for that right now and that’s it”.  No ifs, ands, or buts. I learned something from my friend that it is OK to know when you are handling enough and you will know the time when it’s right to add more to your plate.

By being gentle with ourselves and allowing ourselves to deal completely with just a few issues, we can then move on to others and know in confidence we have handled things well.  In addition, we won’t feel the need to explain to anyone or even ourselves why we aren’t tackling a few more items.

I believe when you reach that point where you stop questioning yourself or demanding too much of yourself, there is a certain peace that you achieve.  That must be the time that people refer to when they say, It just all fell into place”.