Mr. Busy strode into the Crossfit gym with his bluetooth zinging in his ear.
Late for class. Still talking — loudly — to the person on the other end of the line.
“Uh huh… right… no, Thursday won’t work… sure… get back to me, asap.”
Stepping onto the workout floor, he started explaining himself to no one in particular.
“MAN! I am so busy. Booked like crazy. 6am to 10pm, today.”
A few of his fellow Crossfitters grunted in commiseration, amidst back squats and dead lifts. Uh huh. Me too. So busy. Crazy.
I could empathize with Mr. Busy. I used to be that guy, sleeping with my cell phone tucked under my pillow, packing my days with a stupefying number of commitments, worshipping at the shrine of busyness.
But I didn’t commiserate or congratulate him.
Instead, I found myself wondering,
“Huh. I wonder what he is afraid of feeling?”
Because that’s the thing about busyness. It’s a shield. A protective layer of clutter. An avoidance technique.
People who live in a state of chronic busyness are usually running from a particular emotion that they don’t wanna deal with.
Like feeling unworthy. (“I’m not actually that valuable. I’m totally expendable at my office. That’s why I’ve got to stay busy.”)
Feeling lonely. (“I haven’t had a real friend since elementary school. Gotta keep moving. Don’t want to think about THAT.”)
Feeling unloved. (“I want a relationship but I’m too scared to start dating. Making myself vulnerable to rejection? No thanks. But boy, being busy sure helps!”)
We don’t always “think” these exact sentences full out.
But deep down, in the unconscious layer of our psyche, those stories and beliefs are playing out.
So I’m asking you, Oh Busy One:
What are you running from?
What are you afraid of feeling?
What would it be like to actually stop, pause, and feel that scary feeling?
I guarantee you can handle it. You were designed to handle challenges and difficult emotions. It will suck. You might hate it. Still: you can handle it.
A BIG part of progressing and growing — as a human being — is learning to tolerate discomfort. Including: uncomfortable feelings.
Whip off your bluetooth, clear your schedule, cancel your 5pm appointment and try it.
Feel that? That uncomfortable feeling?
That’s you: growing stronger.