As a type 6 on the Enneagram, security and stability are my foremost priorities in life.
Unfortunately, these have never quite been a lasting feature in my journey so far.
If I were to map out how my life looks in terms of stress levels, it would probably look far more like one of those insane roller coasters (that I would never ride in real life) than a gentle slope (that I constantly wish for).
Based on my calendar, here’s how 2023 looked like for me:
Starting the year at your maximum stress level is really, really not advisable. Probably bad for your health.
And yes, it is looking to be back up to 10 again this coming Q1 2024.
But I’ve come to the realization – that’s life.
More specifically, that’s the good life.
Sure, I could probably optimize my life to be a nice gentle slope hovering around a stress level of 3 to 4 throughout the year. And I’d be a lot more relaxed for it.
But what would life look like then?
I’d miss out on deep conversations and joyful moments with people, as well as meaningful and impactful work.
Because these things take time, energy, and yes, stress.
However, not all stress is bad.
Good stress is how we grow as people. It tests our limits with just the right amount of pressure – not enough to break and damage you for the long haul, but to build up muscle through resistance and resilience.
The key lies in discerning what is good stress, and how much of it can you (potentially) take at any point in your life.
There might be a season in your life where your base level is already at 8, and you can’t possibly take any more external stressors or you’ll break. That’s okay.
There might come a time when life is smooth and you find yourself with the capacity to take on more. Go for it.
What I’ve learned is that I should never use someone else’s stress barometer to judge and set my own. Everyone is made differently, at a different season of their life, and should be responsible for their selves.
I will never stop burning out. And that’s okay.
I will accept, adjust, and grow. Baby steps are still steps.
Tomorrow will see a better version of me than yesterday.