University of North America

THIS IS MY EXODUS By Dr. LaKesha Legree

University of North America

Co-Founder & Medical Director Elev8 MD Wellness Center

Have you ever had to make a quick evacuation from a location?  Perhaps multiple withdrawals from your inner self and emotional tanks to be ever present for a best friend or family member in need?  How about personally withdrawing from those around you because of something you are going through, multiple life stressors or a traumatic experience that you have encountered?   I personally can answer yes to all three of these questions.  I had to learn to become more self-aware.  I had to learn how to be more protective of myself.  I had to learn what self-forgiveness meant.  Lastly but most importantly, I had to learn how to love myself again. 

I came to terms with the fact that I am not the superwoman I was striving to be. In fact, there is no such thing as superwoman. She is fake, only existing in our imaginations.  As a side note, her style is awful anyway:  star spangled banner bikini briefs with a red bustier, hot as hell hosiery and wrestling boots.  Oh wait, I think that was Wonder woman?  Either way she doesn’t exist either.  I realized that I cannot be everything to and for everyone. Have you been guilty of the same? For me I tried to be everything for my patients, hospital staff, husband, child, parents, brother, extended family and so on.   After all of this, no meals have been prepared, the house is not clean, the laundry is not done and self-care is a foreign concept.  Does this sound familiar? 

Almost half of all women surveyed by the American Psychological Association said their stress has increased over the past five years. Why? Most likely because we are overcommitted while trying to live up to new societal norms.

You may have the best of intentions but when you try to “do it all” something or someone will not be receiving your best and instead will be receiving less than 100% of you. It is simple math: you are only one person, one whole, like a pie.  You can not possibly give 100% of yourself (the entire damn pie) to multiple people, places and things.  It just doesn’t add up (unless you have figured out how to clone yourself and if so then call me please!).  It is perfectly ok and perfectly normal to allocate and prioritize who gets what, when and how much.

I personally had to learn how to prioritize. Learning how to choose the meaningful over the urgent takes some practice. Try this: with every decision you make, see if it falls into at least one of three categories:

1. Does it bring you peace? If going to the gym, the spa or even hiking brings you peace, prioritize it. Part of the battle of feeling overwhelmed starts in your mind. As the saying goes, put on your mask before helping others put on theirs.

2. Does it contribute to your purpose? We would have more time for the things that matter most if we release ourselves from the things that don’t contribute to our personal goals and values.

3. Does it contribute to your happiness or lack thereof? Maybe you are an optimistic overachiever who doesn’t know the word “no”.  Someone who thinks you can cram more into a single day than what is actually possible.  Now you are overcommitted and overwhelmed. Your schedule is packed to the millisecond and you have no time to actually enjoy the life you have created for yourself and your family.  This will ultimately result in guilt and disappointment.  Learn how to say “No”.  No is not just a word but rather an action item and can be one of the biggest protectors of your peace.

If no one else has told you, let me be the first to say this:  You do not have to have it all together all the time. That is just not possible. Life stressors are unpredictable and depression does not discriminate. Life is about ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys, good days and bad days. Recognize this as a fact, acknowledge this as a fact and appreciate this as a fact.  Recognize that Everyone goes through “stuff”.  Give yourself some time and flexibility to experience the “stuff”, process the “stuff”, learn the lesson hidden within the “stuff” and find the “opportunity” that always lies dormant within the “stuff”.

Over the next 3 months we will focus on concepts that will teach you how to prioritize and figure out how to make your mass Exodus.  What do I mean by Exodus?  I am referring to a mass departure of pre-conceived notions, ideologies, behaviors and cultural norms from your present, your past and your upbringing that DO NOT contribute to your current self-worth, self-peace, self-purpose and self-happiness within this lifetime.  You only get ONE lifetime.  Finances and tangible things are replaceable resources, TIME IS NOT.

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