I just apologized to a friend for being late on getting back to her on something I had promised her. She told me not to worry she understood her plate was very full too. That got me thinking about Full Plates. “Why are we all walking around with such full plates? Why is my plate full? Just who is loading up the plate?”
No surprise, the simple answer is I load up my own plate. Everything that is on it is a choice–even if it doesn’t feel that way. I choose to say I’ll write an article for a new website because I think it will give me exposure to new markets for my book or my practice or because I like sharing with others. No one forced me to say yes to that opportunity. We choose to go to work because we like the paycheck it brings and whatever other benefits we get out of work. When the boss hands us a project right before quitting time, we choose to do it because we want the boss to know we are a team player or because we fear losing the job. We are choosing to say yes to everything on our plate.
The problem is our plates often get loaded up with all the obligations before the stuff that would nourish our soul and our connection with others. Once the plate is all loaded with our should’s and have-to’s there is little room for these very important things. What is on the plate that is keeping us from feeling happy and fulfilled?
Before you load your plate with all the “shoulds” and “have to’s,” think about what would nurture you–body, mind and soul. Make room for THAT on your plate. I had a friend who would walk through the whole food buffet before she made her choice about what she was going to put on her plate. At the time, I thought it rather odd. Now I see the wisdom. She chose only to put on her plate the things she most wanted to experience. I often end up with a mishmash of food that isn’t appetizing and is more than I need.
Our society rewards busy and there can be a sort of “I can top that!” mentality about proving how busy you are. But what if we all just stopped loading the plates so full? Just like a food buffet line, we get to choose what we put on our plate. I often fill my life plate with things that don’t nurture me and aren’t my highest priorities. If we spend a little time examining why we have such full plates and what is on them, we might just find that a few of the things we put on the plate aren’t necessary at all.
What do you think? Are you a member of the “My plate is full” club? Are there things you put on your plate that you would like to change?