“I can do anything I want, but I can’t do everything I want.” First I want to thank Gretchen Rubin for putting it so frankly. This quote came from the first book of hers I read, “The Happiness Project”. If you haven’t read it, give it a try. I say, a try mainly because it is a challenge. By that I mean a challenge to think about where you are in your life and where you want to be and begin to plan for it.
Here are some of things I learned from just thinking about this quote (and this is only one of many quotable quotes in this book):
I know I am not where I want to be right now in my career field but I am learning that you can’t just fast forward to the future you have to live in the present and learn from it to be more confident about your future. Right now, my confidence waivers almost daily and I think that comes from working in the human services field. It is very easy to get overwhelmed by your clients. In fact, it happened today. I know that I am doing what I have been called to do but the courage to face others stories every day and act as an expert who can help guide them out of their darkest hour is overwhelming. I say their darkest hour because just like me, I don’t ask for help until I finally realize that I can’t do it alone anymore and this is where most of my clients are. Very few are proactive. Have you ever met someone who said, “I think I need to go to counseling before I can’t figure out how to do this myself?” (If you have send them my way, it will be refreshing.) Instead I get individuals, families, and couples who have tried all they can and I am the last resort. Kind of a desperation move! And guess what, I get to fix things! Not really, but they think I will. So no pressure there!!
This is one place the above quote comes into play: I can do anything I want, but I can’t do everything I want. I want to help them but I can’t take their problems away. I want to be there for them but I need to draw some professional boundaries where I don’t take on their problems as my own. I can provide information for them, but I can’t make them take it to heart or really try it. I can only be a resource! So I have to come to that peace. Believe me this is hard!
Another area I struggle as a human/mom with this quote is my family. I want to be there for them all the time. I want to be the one who can “bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan” but that is hard! So I try to find balance. What a crazy word balance is. To me I visualize myself on a balance beam and always struggling to stay on that small beam and sometimes I am just screaming “Woooooo” and my arms are flailing. And at other times I’m like look at me, “I can do a somersault on this tiny beam”. So this is where I get to choose to do “anything I want, but not everything I want”. I am finding balance.
I am sure there are others of us that struggle with this!
Today I used running to get my balance back! (This is a common theme for me!) I am so glad I have it! Today I came home after seeing my three clients who agreed to meet with me the day after thanksgiving and I felt wiped! I didn’t want to do much, was feeling like I had worked a full day instead of just three hours. The problem, I was identifying too much with a client. I started to think about her problems and remember my own issues. So I went for a run. I was just gonna go for a short distance because I didn’t feel up to it but 10.4 miles later, I felt reborn. (Okay that may sound a little hokey, but it’s true.) I felt glad that I had the ability to run and knew that I had gotten out of my issues, let my client take her problems back and knew that in the end I could help her but it was gonna be her working on these issues harder than me because I had already done my work!
Now back to the quote: “I can do anything I want, but I can’t do everything I want.” I find this an effective reminder of my boundaries. What does it mean to you? How can you use this quote to grow? Me, I’m still challenged by it. I hear it on repeat in my head right now as a reminder, “You are only one person!”