We all claim to think that burnout is a bad thing. But internally, some of us are lying to ourselves. Claiming outwardly that burnout is a bad thing, but internally, still feeling like we need to subscribe to a belief that we do need to be (and stay) burnt out.
Because some of us still think that being burnt out is some kind of badge of honor.
I saw this all the time in the years leading up to my breakdown in 2017. I had reached peak burnout working in the international development sector as a Gender Specialist trying to do all the things AND in my relationship, family and friendships, I was trying to be all the things.
I was guilty of wearing burnout like a Girl Scouts’ badge thinking it was a good thing. I thought burnout just came with as a result of my circumstances and my choices.
Here’s the thing: I assumed (like so many of us do) that the more I cared, the more I suffered. And this was acceptable. It was normal. Well, hun, that’s a lie.
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 actually 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 MF 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. It’s possible for you. And it’s all available once you give that burnout merit badge up.