We all claim to think that burnout is a bad thing. But internally, some of us are lying to ourselve
Claiming outwardly that burnout is a bad thing, but internally, still feeling like we need to subscribe to a belief that we need to be (and stay) burnt out.
Because some of us still think that experiencing burnout is some kind of badge of honor.
I experienced this first hand. For years, working in the international development sector as a Gender Specialist traveling constantly and with a never ending list of things I told myself I had to do had me plummeting head first towards burnout. Except I didn’t see the signs until I had no other choice to. I was trying to be there for everyone and everything – but the one person I failed to show up for was myself.
Many of us walk around like our experience of feeling burnt out is a good thing. I know I was guilty of it. I thought burnout just came with the territory – collateral damage associated with working hard and wanting to excel as quickly as possible. Plus, I cared deeply about the work that I did, so the level to which I cared far exceeded the fact that I was tired all the time.
Here’s the lie we tell ourselves: Many of us believe (like me) that the more we care, the more we suffer; and that it’s acceptable and more so, normal.
The only thing these insanely high levels of care and suffering are going to lead to is right into a state of chronic burnout that has your nervous system in a vice grip.
It’s almost like the more distressed and burnt out we feel about the things we care about in our world, the better about ourselves we feel.
Because we have proof of HOW MUCH we care.
What we fail to understand in this lie we are telling ourselves is that driving yourself into burnout is actually NOT correlated to how much you care about anything.
Because when you’re burnt out with stress and worry (and overwhelm, HELLO!) you can’t help anyone else. You can’t even help yourself.
And this is why I’m so passionate about helping women realize that burnout is not a badge of honor.
As women, we have been socialized to believe that our purpose in life is to care for other people. The more selfless we are, the more valuable she is – at least that’s what we’re taught.
So we care ourselves into the ground, thinking that proves that AT LEAST we are worthy.
But it doesn’t prove anything. It just burns us out.
Imagine caring about everyone and everything you care about, and actually feeling empowered to be present and not stuck in fear, doubt and overwhelm that you’re not doing enough.
It’s all possible. It’s a reality for me, and the women who have worked with me already.
And it’s all available once you give that burnout merit badge up.