Under Pressure? Exhale!


2 Corinthians 1:8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.

This is the way I feel, right now. Like I’m being squeezed from every direction, with a million and one commitments that are all urgent, demanding my attention. But here I am, posting to my blog (which in the scheme of things, most persons would believe to be the least important!).

So to all the lucid, sensible people who will read this post and think “Then why is she here?”, here’s my answer: I needed a break. Just like a balloon when pressure mounts, it pops, spilling its contents everywhere and finally, letting go of all that pressure. I needed that break, to release all the energy mounting up inside of me, before I lost it.

You see, many of us are under great pressure. We have various demands on our time and bodies, our physical and mental state and the pressure keeps mounting. We never take a break, because so many are depending on us to, well, PERFORM. Our managers, our fellow employees, our spouses, our children, extended circle of family and friends, our community. And in all of this, our somewhat justifiable though misguided, sense of responsibility has us spinning wheels, running in each and every direction trying to meet the needs of all these people in our lives. And they have NO CLUE AS TO WHAT WE (YOU) ARE GOING THROUGH.

And now, we’re out of breath.

Perhaps, that is a good thing. When we get so winded, just gasping for air, that’s the time to breathe. Sounds confusing? Here goes –

You’re at your wits end. You are mentally and physically exhausted, and you have to let go of all the things and people who are placing these demands on you, so that you can unwind. You are so tightly wound, that perhaps the simplest thing might trigger a response that may cause irreparable damage and which was all because you’re just darned tired! Here’s what you need to understand in order to restore your sanity (so to speak).

Nobody Cares

This may be the hardest thing to hear (or read) but I had to write it immediately because its one of the most important truths in all of this post. People love and need you in different ways but they don’t care. Your manager may have compassion on you as a human, but still wants that report, that sales projection, whatever, yesterday. Your husband/wife loves you. However, they really wish that you could ‘get over yourself already’ and do what needs to be done! Children want the best for mommy and daddy, but really needs YOU to take care of them. And so the list goes on. People love you, but unfortunately, we are inherently selfish and want our demands met, right now. No matter how much you do, and its not that its unappreciated, more will be required of you.

Its not your business what people believe about you

In this case, its the truth. If you keep worrying that people will be disappointed and are always trying to please them, you are going to only disappoint and hurt your closest friend: YOU. Nobody knows and can care for you like you can. No matter how great you are at articulating your feelings  and telling people exactly how you feel, no one will get it on the level that you will. That’s why you are, paradoxically, your best friend and your worst enemy. For though you know what’s best for you, only you are in the position to take advantage of it and make it happen. Yet very few of us take the time out to take care of ourselves, because we keep putting others first. You can’t help what they are going to think if their needs are not met by you. However, if they love and value you as they say they do, they’ll still be there when the dust settles.

Nobody knows the troubles you bear

In 2nd Corinthians 1:8, Paul writes to the Corinths  that he doesn’t want them to remain in the dark about what he and the brethren were going through [ “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself”]. They despaired of life itself. Things got so hard, pretty much Paul and the guys were very depressed and felt as though life was just too much to bear. The point that stands out is, NO ONE KNEW WHAT THEY WERE GOING THROUGH. They kept pressing on, like most of us will, despite the feeling. We turn up, in every way, for our daily lives, though we are slowly falling apart. Paul’s example is saying something important here: you have to talk to someone about it.

Talk to someone removed from the situation. I know, even if its an unqualified person, I always feel better when I talk about whatever I need to. It allows you to exhale, just let go. Perhaps, while speaking of the issue, you may find a new perspective, a way out that you hadn’t been able to see and appreciate before.

Find your garden

There’s an old song ‘I go off into the garden alone’, that reminds me of a place of peace and tranquility. Its that quiet place where I can relax, for a moment, and let go of all my troubles and concerns, let go of all the demands on my time. Jesus often went away for just a little bit, to rejuvenate when he became spent. Life will use you up and you’ll need to refuel. Sleep is a good thing, but perhaps like me, you have been falling asleep thinking, ‘What else did I have to do?’. That certainly is not good! So sleep cannot be the only thing you do to relax. Only you know what will work for you. Take the time out to find it. It’ll be your best investment yet.

It’ll be there when you get back 

So you think that if you exhale that you’ll use up all you have? Just like the air (trust me on this), your demands will still be there when you return. The difference is the perspective you have may be different and more effective; you would have rejuvenated and be better able to handle it. The world doesn’t stop turning because you stopped moving! We who have been called to varied responsibilities in our lives often feel like it can’t get done without us and the world can’t function the same if we’re not there. Really? We’re valuable and valued, yes, but let’s not over-inflate our egos! Disappear for a while and see how well they’d get on without you. Go ahead and schedule that time off, you deserve it. Pay yourself with some coffee, a good book, a silly comedy on TV , a mani-pedi, whatever rocks your boat. And then come back, fresh and ready to tackle the demands of your life.

Note Paul says ” We were….” It means that the trouble, this phase, will pass.  It won’t last. You just have to get through it.

So take a step back, once in a while. And just breathe.


5 thoughts on “Under Pressure? Exhale!

  1. Pingback: Under Pressure? Exhale! | The Resilient One

  2. Donna,

    You are so wise it is not funny you summed up my existence right this moment!
    It’s nice and sad to know it’s yours as well but like u said it will still be there.
    I hope you find some time to exhale as well.


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