Just Be: Don't Argue, Just Do It

Yes, you do have time to just be.

Posted Aug 11, 2011

In this age of technology, it seems we are constantly attached to our iPhones, Blackberrys, iPads, laptops...anything that beeps, blinks, or chirps.  We have a difficult time telling our technology "No".  No, I'm not answering that email right now.  No, that phone call can wait.  No, I don't have to text back immediately.  It's almost as if we are inexplicably drawn to answering our phones.  Like we have all this pressure from this one piece of technology.  But no, we realize, we are putting the pressure on ourselves.

We are overscheduled, overbooked, overextended.  And some of us even wear it like a badge of honor.  You know the type.  "Oh, I'm soooo exhausted.  I have to finish a report by noon, meet so-and-so for lunch, then I have exactly 15 minutes to drive home, then take Johnny to soccer practice at 6, then go back to the office until 10...I'm sooo tired."  (Then adding a long yawn for emphasis.)  

Being that busy and stressed out is a choice.  No one is forcing you to take on all of these responsibilities and activities.  Sometimes it seems that being overscheduled is almost a status symbol - "Look at all of these things *I* do."

When I talk with chronically overscheduled people, my first question is, "What would you do if you just had a day with nothing to do?"  I inevitably get the answer, "That is impossible.  I have deadlines to meet, kids to take to practice, dinner to cook, phone calls to make....what are you talking about?" 

My response is usually, "You do have a choice.  You make a conscious decision to engage in all those activities.  What if you chose to give yourself a day of just being?" 

"What the hell is that - "just being"?  What, like I have to chant a mantra or something?"

"Well, that certainly is an option, but not necessary.  What if you could just have a day where you did nothing?"

It's amazing how the concept of this can really freak people out.  I think our identities have been so wrapped up in what we do that we have forgotten what it is like to just be.  It's a scary proposition to realize that the world still revolves and people can still function just fine when you take a break.

Put your phone down for the day.  Take a walk. See where the day takes you.  Take a "Mental Health Day".  Learn the word "No".  Use it judiciously.  Is what you are so worked up about really worth it?  Is what you are doing really contributing to your well-being?  Having time to just be allows you that space to find the answers to these questions - and more.  And maybe that is the scariest part of all.  You may find answers that you knew were there, but you kept putting off by staying busy.  You may realize, now that you've really paid attention to how you are feeling, that you need to see your doctor soon. 

These are all good realizations and answers to our questions - we just need to be quiet and be so we can hear them.