Life requires us to play multiple roles in our lives – these roles may vary depending on age, personal circumstances and cultures; but all of us have more than one responsibility.
We are not just an individual; we are also family members. Within our families alone, we play multiple roles! Not only are we someone’s child, we are also a grandchild, a niece, a nephew, a sibling, an aunt, an uncle, a parent, a grandparent, the list is nearly endless!
In society, we are neighbors to people, friends, acquaintances, strangers. We play roles in the workplace such as coworker, supervisor, employee, owner, CEO, CFO; and that’s not even taking into consideration the roles we play with the company’s customers.
The list of relationship labels that we have is nearly endless. In college, I had a professor that I think about often; he was one of the most interactive professors I ever had and we did more hands-on projects in the class than I ever did in kindergarten. One of the requirements of the course was to learn how to juggle. The reasoning behind this was based on research showing that juggling increased grey matter in the brain (it was a neuropsychology course).
At any given moment, we are juggling at least a dozen hats (typically more). Even the greatest jugglers of the world sometimes drop the ball (or bowling pin, or fire-blazing stick).
We are destined to let someone down – one of our hats is going to fly off of our heads at some point.
We don’t want to acknowledge this, of course. We want to be seen as super-people, we can handle anything that life may throw at us! We want to be the best friend, the closest confidant of others; we want to feel close to them, and inherently know that this means sacrificing our own wants/needs at times. That’s part of relationship building 101 – it can’t be all about you.
Women, in particular, often tell me that they have no expectations of other people. Of course we have expectations of people; we just never expect them to be as capable as we are ourselves. We are far more understanding of other people dropping their hats than we are of ourselves. We expect other people to let us down at some point.
Self-love, self-acceptance and self-care have been token words within recent years; our society is slowly starting to recognize the importance of taking care of our wellbeing. Accepting that you are a fallible human being is part of self-acceptance – you are going to let someone down and guess what…
They expect you to.
Anxiety has become so pronounced in today’s society, and it’s really not that surprising when one considers how many responsibilities and activities we are cramming into our days. Late nights are the norm, trying to catch up – even if what we are catching up on is relaxation. Sometimes, it becomes hard to breathe as the realization that there simply isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done settles in on us. But it’s okay.
Today, I was spinning at work – multitasking like the super-human I am and a coworker suggested to me that I write a to-do list – which made me laugh a genuine laugh as I pulled out my 5 “to-do” lists because there simply isn’t enough space on the paper for the multitude of “to-dos” running through my brain.
Yes, I have 5 “to-do” lists – a priority list, an important list, a monthly list, a catch up list and a whenever the hell I get to it list. They are color coordinated. This may sound overwhelming in itself, but it works for me.
But I’d be outright lying if I told you that I never drop the ball. I do.
And the world has never caved in on itself.
No one has ever seemed even remotely surprised when balls are dropped; and I’m starting to really realize it’s because we all expect other people to mess up.
We don’t get upset when other people mess up – we get upset when we dislike the way they handle their mistake. We get upset when people deny that they made a mistake.
The next time that you’re juggling and lose control on all the pieces up in the air – it’s okay. Point to the ball on the floor and acknowledge it. Perhaps someone will pick it up for you.