When I was training to become a life design coach, one of the phrases we heard over and over was “unmet needs drive behavior”. In other words if someone keeps saying they want one thing but continue to make choices that take them farther away from that goal, then look for what is behind the behavior.
I hear over and over from very busy, stressed out women how much they want to take some time just for themselves. And yet, they just can’t seem to make it happen. The next time I talk to them they are even more stressed out and express their frustrations even more vehemently. There are always excuses…’if I don’t do it, no one else will’, ‘I just know how guilty I will feel if I take some time off’, ‘it isn’t worth the catch up I will have to do if I ignore what has to be done and rest for a while’, ‘maybe when the kids are gone or I get a new job or win the lottery, blah, blah, blah…. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
At one time they were part of my vocabulary and I could go to them easily because they were my default mode of thinking. And what did I get for all my ‘self-less’ reasons why I couldn’t take time for myself? An ulcer, a near nervous breakdown and an inability to be productive because I was so exhausted. Now, I am a slow learner. You don’t have to let things get that bad but if you are experiencing a lot of physical ailments like constant back and neck ache, headaches, colds, or upset stomach/heartburn, sleeplessness, not eating or overeating, then PAY ATTENTION to my experience. These are all signs of stress and result from not taking care of yourself.
And they are all brought on by our behaviors. What causes this behavior that robs us of our health and well-being? Well, go back and look at the excuses you give for not caring for yourself. What is the pay off for you to keep pushing to the point of illness or exhaustion? Do you have the need for constant approval and praise? Do you want people to see you as Super Woman/Mom/CEO/Employee/Pastor/Teacher/Nurse? Do you think if you do this one more thing for someone, they will love you or love you more?
These are serious questions that require serious thought and serious answers. If they are your motivator, then to borrow a phrase from Dr. Phil, “how’s that working for you?”
Now let’s turn that statement that unmet needs drive behavior a bit and look at it from another perspective. If you are run down, exhausted and ill or getting ill, then the unmet need is nurturing and caring for your body. How can that unmet need drive your behavior in a positive direction? And furthermore, what will be the positive benefits of engaging in new behavior such as rest, eating right, exercising, pleasure, fun, joy, laughter, relaxation?
Unless all the scientific studies are wrong and the testimonies of the many women who have changed to these positive behaviors are lies, the results will be a more productive, more successful, more relaxed and more content you.
If you are driving yourself to exhaustion to please others, just how pleased will they be when you are out of commission and unable to function due to stress?
Take good care of yourselves,