I am a recovering martyr, as well as a former perfectionistic and past work alcoholic. I grew up believing that giving was a virtue. Although it certainly is, I received a warped definition of giving that included sacrifice, depletion, and the never-ending mental loop, “Am I enough?” Like the “old me” me are you giving too much?

I know I am not alone.

Essential to my recovery process was honoring my body and its wisdom, specifically, tuning into my nervous system. Your nervous system is the interface between the outside world and your internal environment. It is a communication system that alerts safety or threat – real or perceived – to the rest of the body and its’ systems. When it does not have a chance to restore, the constant “on” button becomes chronic stress, which can result in a cascade of unhealthy results.

I happen to be among the 20-30% with a highly sensitive nervous system, a challenge in this overstimulating world as well as a gift in empowerment. I have learned, and continue to practice, that I MUST stay on pace with how much I give energetically in order to feel like my better self and not run the risk of burnout and disease. Been there, done that.

In addition, respecting my capacity for how much I give has let me off the crazy cultural hook of being “selfish.” I no longer need to apologize, justify, or convince anybody of my choices. It’s my wellness or them. I’m going to choose me.

Regardless of whether you have a highly nervous system or not, as a human being, you are naturally designed to work and play, give and receive, effort and restore.

Are You Giving Too Much? Here are some signs to watch for.
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Exhaustion
  • Digestive issues
  • Cranky
  • Resentment
  • Forgetful
  • Anxiety
  • “Everybody wants a piece of me.”

 

You can absolutely shift the over-giving balance, one step at a time. Begin with giving more to YOU. How can you fill your well? What restores you? What brings you Joy? As you become more centered, you will also gain more clarity in your values, priorities, yes’s and no’s, and what is truly meaningful to you.

The reality is that you only have so much energy to go around, and you need to do what is exquisitely aligned for your wellness. Your body’s communication is always guiding you home to your best self. Give yourself the gift of compassion for how much you can give of yourself. The ripple effect of your vitality is priceless.

Learn more about being highly sensitive at http://www.hsperson.com with Dr. Elaine Aron and feel free to share your thoughts or questions with me at lisa@soulisticarts.com and visit my website at http://www.soulisticarts.com