Spongy Saturation Points
I am an absorber. I absorb. This, perhaps, more than anything else, is how I deal with life. I seem to have this innate ability to just take things on and in and do not feel overwhelmed. I get antsy and agitated but that doesn’t seem to stop the absorption.
However, like any good sponge, I get to a point where I can only take on so much and then it is just a free flow of liquid everywhere. Sometimes my liquid is anger.
I realized this past weekend, after working almost an 80 week that spilled over and into the weekend, that I may absorb but perhaps that was not a good thing. I realized that I too have limits and perhaps they are much drier than I thought previously.
I had a moment where I was unable to proceed. I couldn’t take any more in or on. And I got angry. I was not able to deal with the emotional demands of my life and I became angry. And I learned something new about myself. I learned that anger is the best trigger for me to see that I am at a saturation point or nearing one. I, in fact, get mad to obtain space. Admittedly not the best strategy, but until Saturday I didn’t even see that it was a strategy!
I do now and I can see that this is not limited to work and it is not limited to now. I can review my life and see all the times that I got emotionally soaked, and how that caused me to lash out or shut down or explode. And most ashamedly, in my home.
Uncharacteristically, I got mad on Saturday with work. A place where I am often overwhelmed but seldom show it. I talk about it and usually bleed off my irritation and over absorption. My anger on Saturday was super helpful, helping me see that I am out of balance and in need of something at a time where everyone else needs something. A place where I typically bury any need of my own, and stand and deliver for everyone else.
Further discussion with my inner sanctum of people, revealed that perhaps my innate ability to take on a great deal isn’t really a skill...perhaps it is instead a trauma reaction. I can take on a lot because in the past I had to. Wow. Really?
It doesn’t matter what the truth is, just having a new perspective is enough to get me to look at something I thought was a strength differently. And how my refusal to set better boundaries for myself, actually just perpetuates a cycle that I do not really enjoy or find life affirming. Taking on too much results in me having less of me to give, even though I am pretty good at spreading myself ridiculously thin.
I can see now that my refusal to better meter my own absorption, makes me angrier and harder and isolated. I can see if I would stop sooner, perhaps I could deal with things better and stop at a point before I got angry and lashed out and became saturated.
Food for thought, for sure.
And I can also see how, perhaps, this dynamic has resulted in self absorption. I take on so much from others that shutting down and going inward to their exclusion becomes necessary. I would say that I am not sure where I acquired this dubious skill, but I know.
It is eye opening when you can see yourself and your long standing absorption rate in a new way. Something that you always assumed and actually touted as a skill, in a day, can now be seen from the character defect vista. Which is news I can use.
Something I have learned along the way is that it matters not whether I think it is an asset or a liability, both show up in dysfunctional ways in my life and seeing that has really been the key to allowing either to morph into something more whole and useful to myself and those around me.
Absorption is great...until it isn’t. Honestly until Saturday, I never really thought about it before. I just had it firmly over in the asset column and thought that it would remain there forever. Now I can see that it has also always existed in the defect column, I just couldn’t see it. Now I do.
I am not sure what to do about it, so for now, I will just notice its presence and allow an awareness to permeate my life...absorption being more of a thing that I do rather than a good thing or bad thing.
Now that I see it, I can examine how it shows up in my life and begin to ask myself whether or not I like it, how I can change it and whether or not I would like to stop absorbing before I am leaking all over the place.
I am so incredibly grateful to news ways to look at old behaviors. And to trust that any new idea about a historic pattern of behavior is always life altering, if I let it be. So I ponder how absorption serves me and others and how it doesn’t. Realizing that there is always a cost associated that sometimes I fail to notice. Today, I notice and that, I know, is the beginning of being able to make changes that allow me to be more present, stable and less reactive. While also being less soggy.
A sopping wet sponge takes on no more liquid, rendering its skill set negligible to void. Who knew?