I had an unsettling conversation with a friend at lunch this week. At some point she stopped eating and said, “Tyra I am exhausted! I am tired of being tired.” When she did, I could actually feel her pain.
I sat silent remembering those words coming from my own mouth a few years ago.
She went on to say that she didn’t know why she was so miserable. She loved teaching at the community college, even though she no longer had time to write poetry, which was her passion. The kids were doing great in school, however she was having a hard time helping them with some of their advanced math homework. She shook her head as she said for some reason they had not figured out why they needed closets when the floor was so convenient for storing their things. And lately, they didn’t want to get up in the mornings. Maybe it was because of the daily after school activities. Maybe they were tired too.
She was proud that her husband had recently been promoted. The money was terrific although now he was traveling two weeks out of each month. Her presidency in her civic organization was exciting but challenging because the members were resisting the needed changes. Maybe she had made a mistake running for office the year her chapter was hosting the regional convention.
It seemed that Sunday was the only day she could get caught up. She had stopped going to church with the family.
Her mother had recently been diagnosed with advanced cancer and she was uncomfortable living so far away. Although she had a brother, it seemed that care giving was always her job.
I let her talk until I noticed her eyes tearing up and her lower lip trembling. I reached across the table and put my hand over hers. My gesture seemed to give her permission to be as fragile as she felt. She cried. I came around to give her the hug I hoped conveyed that she was not alone.
After she had calmed down I asked her what she had done for herself lately. She just looked at me. She did not realize that she had not once mentioned anything, any experience that had brought her pleasure. She was absent in her own life.
I tried to help her understand that owning up to her exhaustion may be the first step forward. Then I heard myself saying things like, “I am here for you. You can only give what you have… and that is more than enough Are you treating yourself like someone you love? Self-compassion is not a bad thing. Ask for help.” I don’t know if she was able to hear me. I will stay close.
What would you have done and said?
I invite you to join the conversation. Take your seat at the table. This is your place. Like and give the gift of your comments about this blog by sharing it with someone special.Until next time, remember,
You are not alone.
You are not your circumstances.
You have everything within you to live a purpose-filled life.