Are you the kind of person who feels the weight of the world on your back? Or that accomplishing everything on a to do list is your responsibility? Do you find yourself taking on things that you wish someone else could do? Pushing yourself past the point of exhaustion? Cramming more into a 12 hour period than others take on in an entire week?

If so, trust me, you are not alone. I have been there for much of my life. And for years, I wore this as a badge of honor: I am so capable, I can do everything.

As I’ve gotten older and wise, I’ve peeked below the surface and have recognized the amount of overwhelm and burnout that’s lurking there. I’ve begun the reckoning process around the absurd expectations that I have of myself.

Knowing your limits doesn’t make you weak, lazy, unsuccessful, or a failure. In fact, knowing your limits makes you strong! In the long term, knowing your limitations will keep you more capable and able to move at a pace that truly works for you, instead of being in this vicious cycle of push > deplete > recover.

Knowing Your Limitations

Acknowledging that you have a limit that needs to be understood is a great place to start. Some people avoid even recognizing what their limit might be for a few reasons:

  • Fear of conflict
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of letting others down

These are all very valid fears, so I want to reassure you that the process of knowing and even setting limits doesn’t have to be a scary one. You don’t have to run around setting boundaries, or having conflict conversations. You can simply tune in to your own needs, reset your own expectations of yourself, and offer yourself a lot of grace along the way.

Setting limits is a necessary part of living an ever changing life. What once worked well for you, will not always work as you change or life changes around you. I share this example in the companion podcast episode to this post, but when I first started doing wedding photography it couldn’t have been a better fit for me and where I was at in my life. 10 years later, I’m starting to feel as though working weddings takes every bit of my social bandwidth, leaving me with nothing for other areas of my life. Thus, I realized it’s time to set new limits around how many weddings I’m taking on each season.

The example above is one that represents a BIG limit revelation, and thus the impact of it is a big one too. However, there are many smaller limits you may face from week to week, that may not always need a big plan put in place to face them.

For example, if you like to mop your floors once a week, but once in a while you have a grueling schedule that takes up all your energy, rearranges your days, and leaves you operating at empty, then perhaps you skip that week!. Will it drive you a little crazy? Sure. But is it the end of the world? No.

I used to push myself past my own limits each and every day with small things like this; trying to keep everything in order, holding myself to rigid expectations, even if it meant staying up late into the night to find order.

Now, I give myself a lot more grace and I choose to operate with the perspective that it will all get done eventually. I’ve let go of micromanaging the constant plan of how and when.

This also applies to asking for help. Hopefully you have others in your life who are willing to either help you or share in the workload of running a household- but asking for help also means surrendering to others being able to do things their way and not your way.

This is hard for many of us who have spent years painstakingly coming up with our own way of doing things to let someone else do it in their own way. But truly, a bed made is a bed made. A bathroom cleaned in a different order than you would do it, or trash cans put out in the morning instead of the evening prior, these are battles you can surrender in- AND be better for it.

What’s most important is that we learn to let go of perfectionism by understanding our limitations. The more you practice this, the better it feels.

Try knowing your limitations and seeing if you can do something about it. And if you want some more ideas or encouragement on this matter, check out our podcast episode on the same topic of knowing your limitations. You can listen in the browser here below, or you can listen on Apple Podcasts or whichever platform you prefer.

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