I get a funny reaction when I see or hear that word.
I can’t remember the last time I said I was stressed.
I usually say: “I have a lot on or there’s a lot happening right now”, or “I feel disconnected from myself and I need time out to think things through.”
I do my best to take responsibility for whatever I seem to be reacting or responding to. Not always because I’m always learning and growing.
The word “stress” has been misused and become externalised and generalised, so much so, that it never quite taps into what a person really means when they say “I’m stressed”.
It doesn’t actually tell anyone what is really going on.
And maybe this is the very reason why it’s evolved into such a frequently used word:
It hides our true feelings but is safe enough to use because it’s accepted by society and generally free from stigma.
It’s the same with words such as “I’m busy”, or “Same-old-same old”, “I’m tired”…etc.
The truth is, this language keeps the comfort zone undisturbed.
My main concern with using this language is that it strips us of our personal agency and responsibility for how we choose to respond to whatever we perceive to be happening to us.
When we use this disempowering language in our every day life what we are saying is that I choose to stay in the non-specific. I choose to not grow. I choose to stay small. I choose to focus on things that are purposeless and meaningless to me. And the cycle keeps on repeating.
So what can we do to change that?
Be honest with ourselves about why are we really busy, stressed or tired.
In most cases, it’s something which hasn’t been made conscious.
To me, stress is a cover up for what lies beneath. A cover up for anxiety, nervousness, grief, shame, anger, frustration, resentment…etc. Same with tiredness and other words.
And what lies beneath all of these emotions?
When reduced down to the common denominator, it’s fear.
So, acknowledge what you’re really afraid of?
Some of our worst fears are: I won’t make it, I haven’t got what it takes, I won’t have enough money, I’ll end up on the street, I have to keep busy to survive, etc…FILL IN THE GAPS.
Whatever it is, name it. Take time to meditate on it so you can bring it out of your subconscious mind and into your consciousness. Only then are you in a position to take responsibility and create change to create a life in which you feel fulfilled, energised, on purpose, and grateful for.
Whatever it is, however bad it is, call it, name it, own it.
Our emotions and language have the power to transform us and shift us to another level of thinking, seeing and feeling.
If we don’t make our fears conscious we send mixed message into the world.
So, if you are someone who often feels frustrated, stressed, resentful, pissed off with the world, tired, anxious then it may be time to take inventory of what you are not owning up to yourself. You truly owe it to yourself to take the time to be honest with yourself. It’s the most liberating thing you can do for yourself.