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I am afraid… June 17, 2008

Posted by Raul in personal life.

I am a very strong guy. Physically, I may not look like it since my physique tends to be slim (although lately, I’ve gained some weight so I don’t look as slim as usual). But this post does not refer to physical weakness or strength. I am very well trained in martial arts, so engaging in a fight is not something I fear. But I do fear that I have been pushing my own boundaries and limits too much.

A few weeks ago, you’ll recall that I blacked out for a period of 1.5 hours. Earlier this year, I was sick (the expression being ‘sick as a dog’) for three weeks and I had a really tough time recovering. This past weekend, I managed to quadruple-book myself and ended up having to juggle commitments, I stood up a friend of mine (inadvertently) and had a really rough Sunday despite having enjoyed the Car Free Festival. I can’t keep doing this to myself.

I have acknowledged in previous posts that I see myself as sort of an agent of change. Someone who can bring happiness and joy to people. Someone on whom you can rely. Someone you can trust with secrets. Some sort of super-hero. Someone who can comfort you when you feel down. Someone who can write and publish three journal articles, two book chapters and three conference papers in a year. But in order for me to do that, I *need* to take care of myself.

It’s hard for me to say no, both professionally and personally. I am excited by too much. I love working hard, and I am in love with what I do. And in recent years, I have started to learn (and train myself) to say “No, I can’t” to stuff. But I still over-commit. I manage (99.5% of the time) to fulfill my commitments, comply with deadlines. But there’s always *that little thing* that I end up missing, or I end up sick as a dog, or feeling entirely drained and empty.

Saying no is not a sign of weakness. I need to drill that idea into my brain. And when I say that I am afraid, I am not someone who is hindered by fear. Fear does not overtake me. I actually tend to be pretty fearless. The title of my post referred to the fact that I am afraid that one day, I won’t be able to say “no” and I will over-commit and that will be detrimental to my health. I can’t do that. I fear that I won’t be able to fulfill my potential if I keep pushing myself to the limit. Therefore, I think that my fear will have to be (instead of a crippling, paralyzing feeling) a mechanism for my own survival.



1. Marina - June 17, 2008

I’m much the same – constantly on the run to do something else, not to mention I also have a problem saying “no” – but I’ve become better at it. At some point, you just have to step back and take a break for yourself. We should have a “Just say no!” support group.

2. Don - June 17, 2008

There is no need to fear pushing your personal boundaries/limits if you have invested in yourself by creating a foundation that contains emotional/social and physical fitness elements. Perhaps it’s time to focus on the latter and regain some balance in your life.

3. Keira-Anne - June 17, 2008

I have been learning the value in “self care” in recent months and I can tell you straight up that it’s not something you can put a price on. What is the point of committing to doing 101 things if you are exhausted, tired, agitated and worn out? You won’t be giving 100%; in fact, only a small portion of that. I say pick and choose – maybe set a weekly limit on how many engagements you can commit to. Also make sure you set aside a very particular day (or days if you need them) to take care of yourself and to do something that will rejuvenate you in more ways than one.

Love thyself, Raul 🙂 Because we do!

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