The other day as I was wrapping presents for my 7 year old’s birthday, I was consciously aware that I (or I should say we, because my husband is going to have to take part of the blame for this) had gone overboard with the gifts for her.
Sadly, I think that the “going overboard” phenomenon has exploded in recent years. We are exposed to more, expected to do more and we have more. I don’t think that there’s a single person who can honestly claim they they do not go overboard in at least one area of their life if not more.
There are endless ways and opportunities to go overboard. (The list below is of course me talking to myself but do feel free to agree with me…about yourselves.)
We work too much at the expense of time with the people we are working to support.
We spend too much money on purchases we don’t really need or that we could do without.
We cook too much and end up being wasteful.
We spend too much time cleaning, or at least too much time obsessing about cleaning and organization, instead of enjoying the important people or events in our lives. (Yes, as you can tell this one has been annoying me lately so I have been going overboard with pushing off the cleaning.)
We go overboard with our reactions and responses. (While going underboard with our apologies and patience.)
We go overboard with dieting until we crack or we go overboard with eating until we explode.
We go overboard with exercise until we go cold turkey, or we go overboard on denial until we kick ourselves in the behind.
We go overboard trying to
control guide our kids’ lives.
We go overboard doing too much for our kids and other people in our lives.
We go overboard on the interpersonal drama and turn little things into mountains.
We go overboard on the amount of time we are connected virtually, while we spend way too little time being connected in person.
We go overboard on thinking things through instead of going with our gut.
We go overboard on our demands of others and ourselves.
We go overboard in the amount of things we add onto our daily ever growing list.
We go overboard trying to please others while thinking this will make us happier about ourselves.
There are lots of reasons we go overboard. Guilt, fear, wanting to help, wanting to please, wanting to make others happy, wanting to be liked, feeling like we have no other choice, not knowing any better or in other words expectations. We go overboard because of the things we expect from ourselves, from others and what we think others expect from us. The problem is that because we have a tendency to go overboard we end up in a vicious cycle of even higher expectations.
I’m not saying that when we go overboard for positive things that our efforts are not appreciated. The question is what price we ourselves have paid either mentally, emotionally, financially or physically in doing so.
I don’t know the origin of the term going overboard, but in the true nautical sense of the word, anything that goes overboard is in danger of being lost, not found or of course drowning. I think that’s a pretty good metaphor for what happens when we go overboard in our day to day life.
When we go overboard we are losing ourselves and we risk drowning in the unimportant. Life is a boat that sometimes sails on calm seas and sometimes through a storm. Don’t let yourself drown in the futility of unmet expectations.
Just something to think about the next time you find yourself overdoing things.
In what areas do you find yourself going overboard?
Are there any areas where you think going overboard is good?
*Happy 7th Birthday to my littlest baby who is not a baby anymore. *sigh* Time flies.