February 20, 2011
Have you noticed the changes that are related to fatigue?
There are physical changes, of course—decreased attention span, decreased speed of response, inattention to detail, gradual decreases in strength and agility, for example. There are emotional changes as well—decreased patience, increased irritability, greater self-absorption often coupled with a dangerous loss of self-control, lessened awareness of the fragility and vulnerability of others, and steady erosion of the energy required to translate love and respect into action.
One of the dangers of functioning as a workaholic, I think, lies in this steady subtle erosion of the energy to act lovingly.
This last month I was surprised by a series of events that made an unexpectedly severe drain on my energy. One evening as I was preparing to leave my office I remembered two client-related phone calls I had failed to make. Although it was “after hours” I made both calls before I closed up shop for the day.
Later, recalling an important friend with whom I had not communicated for several weeks, I thought, “She knows I love her. I am just too tired to call tonight. I’ll do that tomorrow.”
By living that day too close to the margin, I had out of old habits placed a priority on work responses at cost to this relationship that I value highly. My affection for my friend had not changed, but my capacity to express that affection in ways that could be seen and sensed had been seriously compromised.
When I fail to embrace the limits of my human vulnerability (translate concretely: schedule more hours that I can appropriately handle), I am rarely the only person who suffers from the changes that occur. Failure in appropriate personal self-care produces community loss in love and relationship. No matter how good my intentions, that is a bad bargain.
What good things are you doing too much of? Who loses from your loss of energy to love?
Seeking with you the honesty to do only what I am empowered to do.
See you next week.