Nourish relationships and self-care

Empathy works. It always does.

Doing less, being more

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Doing lessMy sister had great advice for me the last time I visited the Netherlands: do even less.

I immediately implement it. At the Nonviolent Communication retreat,  I continuously stop myself in my tracks, in my well-developed habit of speaking or doing if no one else does, and ask myself ‘Why do I want to say this?’ ‘Why do I want to do that?’

It takes a while, before I can answer those questions. I have such a strong habit of being helpful, I am so used to making sure everyone is happy, that I only can say that doing much is a strong pattern.

The why behind the doing

After a day or so, I connect to the ‘why’. I just want to belong, be accepted, and be seen. And I have learned that being helpful, kind, funny are great ways to get a sense of acceptance. I can not imagine I will matter, belong and be appreciated, unless I actively work on getting them.

‘I don’t get anything, unless I work hard for it.’

So here I am at the retreat, asking myself non-stop ‘Why?’ And then stop, focus on my breath, feel into my experience. And leave it at that. Only talk and act if I have a wildly enthusiastic impulse to speak or act.

The relief in the not-doing

That what I fear, is not happening. People don’t fall apart, the world doesn’t collide into catastrophe, I am not blamed for all the suffering in the room. Nothing terrible happens if I don’t speak or do something. The world does perfectly fine with me just sitting on my spot, enjoying my breath and the life in and around me.

The acceptance and appreciation for being you

A burden is taken of my shoulders. I am not responsible for everyone’s well-being. People can take care of themselves, of each other, yes, even of me. I can relax, lay back, and see everyone doing their own thing. And be part of the gang. Just by being me. Laughing wholeheartedly when I feel amused, showing my vulnerability, being present when someone cries. Just being me brings me everything I want.

I never received as much appreciation as at that retreat.

I did less, and was more. That was enough.

Try it for yourself: do less and be more. You’ll love it.

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If you want help letting go of your habit of having-to-do: Nonviolent Communication is a perfect tool to work on that. I am happy to coach you in those skills. Contact me 512-589-0482.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping professionals schedule time for relationships and self-care. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

3 thoughts on “Doing less, being more

  1. Pingback: Triggers tell us what’s truly important to us | Elly van Laar, Compassion Coach

  2. Ah, Elly, what a great insight. While not new, it is so valuable. It parallels Jesus’ words, “…. by being anxious, who can add one day to their life?” (paraphrase). And I’m delighted that your sister gave this advice – she knows from experience.

    Peace to you always, Elly.

    Loren

    Loren and Lorrie Van Oort 1198 Shasta Trail Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931 Mobile: 574.339.2541

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    • Hi Loren, I feel so honored that you read my post, and happy with your response. Yes, it is an old message in a new coat. Who can add anything to the immense wisdom we have around us? I can only rephrase and personalize messages that touch my heart. Peace to you too! God’s love is abundantly available in each moment.

      Like

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