Truth-time, dear friends: we are really, really good at fooling ourselves. We say that we’re so busy, but what we really mean is that we’re scared to look at what’s beneath the busy.

Our frantic activity functions like a drug; it gives us a high and helps us avoid feelings we’re afraid to face.

If that’s you, there’s no judgment here. We’re all on this journey together;  none of us have it all figured out.

What's beneath the busy, frantic

Busy as a Designated Issue

For example, recently I came to the end of a full week and realized that my body, mind, heart, and spirit were all deeply weary.

And when I sat with that feeling in meditation, it dawned on me that I’d been operating from a stressed-out, too-busy space in large part because I was scared to feel my own fatigue.

I’d been pushing myself to perform because I was afraid that if I didn’t, I might collapse with exhaustion. I didn’t want to worry about my health and energy levels, so I worried about my workload instead.

Of course, stressing out about work added to my fatigue in the long term, but in the short-term it gave me a convenient distraction.

beneath the busy, stress

What’s Beneath the Busy?

“Busy” was the problem I created for myself to avoid dealing with the bigger problem. It was my substitute problem, my designated issue.

As Martha Beck writes in her fabulous O Magazine article What’s Really Going On In Your Life?:

“A designated issue [dominates] our psyches so that other troubles can go unnoticed …. Designated issues aren’t just problems; they’re also solutions.”

Once I faced up to my real problem, the solution was obvious: take lots of time for deep rest at the next opportunity.

Sure, my brain resisted … right up until my head hit the pillow. Then I fell headlong into a weekend of downtime: frequent naps, nourishing food, solitude balanced with quality time with my nearest and dearest.

By Sunday night, I felt like a new person … and I wasn’t worried about my to-do list any longer.

One Surprising Reason You’re So Tired

From now on, when we start to feel “crazy busy”, let’s not use that not as a signal to kick into high gear.

Rather, let’s view it as an indicator that it’s time to take pause and ask, “Wait, what’s really going on here? What’s the deeper issue?”

Here’s one prevalent reason for fatigue: It’s really, really tiring to believe that you should be someone you’re not.

The good news is, you can regain enthusiasm for life once you take practical steps to accepting yourself as you are.

This video was inspired by last week’s new blog post, Is Your Fantasy Self Wearing You Down?

How to Stop Hiding and Start Showing Up for Life

Also, did you catch last week’s Facebook Live video, How to Stop Hiding and Start Showing Up for Life?

You can watch the video here.

The video was inspired by the original post For the Ones Who Hide Away When They’re Struggling.

Welcome, New Readers!

What's Beneath the Busy, Listen to Our Souls

“We cannot tell what’s really needed until we pull up the chair in our souls’ living room, sit down, & listen.”

Thanks to Maura from New Jersey for making this sign using a quote from a guest essay of mine at The Laundry Moms, When You Fall for the “Too Busy” Lie.

Maura is a new reader, and she wrote:

“I just want to thank you for your straight forward inspiration. It’s a breath of fresh air. I’m a fellow recoverer of ‘letting go of my fantasy-perfect-self ‘. And I appreciate your work!”

Isn’t it amazing that we can connect with kindred spirits all over the world?

Have a beautiful week, friends, and don’t forget to pull up a chair and listen to what your soul has to say.


Are you tired of pushing yourself to be someone you’re not? What’s beneath the busy for you?

Join the conversation in the comments section below!

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