One of the “fine lines” I thought about the other day was the line between knowing when to protect and when to push the self.
When is it ok to say “I’ve had enough of this environment, I can leave now”, and when I should say “I’m starting to feel overstimulated, but I can stay a while longer”?
When is it ok to use my personality traits as a justifiable reason for why I won’t allow myself to do certain things, like attend a dinner gathering with ex-colleagues on a weekday night, or spend 4 hours helping out at a kids’ sports camp on a Saturday… And when am I being too soft with myself, overprotecting myself, using my personality as an excuse just because I don’t want to risk the side effects of being socially tired and stretched?
The comrade offered a sensible approach: Examine what are the factors that trigger each episode of overstimulation, reflect on it and think about what could have been done differently if the situation comes up again. And most importantly: DON’T FEEL GUILTY LISTENING TO YOURSELF. You owe it to yourself.
A few Sundays ago it was simply an overdose of social interaction (8am to 1pm!), and guilt about leaving the social setting when the volunteer meeting wasn’t over.
Faced with the same situation again, I’d probably tell whoever’s chairing the meeting that I have a commitment at a certain time, and I’d have to leave BY X:XXPM (Key word being “by”, so I can leave earlier if I have to).
Time and time again I am reminded that we can’t be of much help to others if we don’t take care of our state of being first, and one of the first steps in doing that is to listen to our body. When frazzled, on edge, and just feeling bombarded by everything (not forgetting PMS), how much use can we be? Take a step back, let the body get what it needs, and reenter the world, gently, one step at a time.
It will be ok.