As Atlas held up the sky (aka celestial sphere), no doubt he started noticing how his upper back muscles started aching, his legs felt like buckling at the knees, and his spirit felt trodden on knee all the weight. Perhaps the thought passed through his mind, “Now – is this a healthy way to live? Is it worth the sacrifice? Zeus, get a life!” Zeus, by the way, is the one who punished Atlas with the task of holding the sky up on his shoulders.
People face this world everyday, trying to keep both health and life beating and vital amid a sea of challenges, rough patches, and the wheel of ups and downs. The hard part is, many of us also feel the additional responsibility to hold the world on our shoulders as we journey. It may ache, our feet may start shoveling into the ground, but we keep going this way regardless of the backlash we see – especially to our health.
A person can only take so much! That's a fact that does not need to be tested in a lab, each of us knows this in an innate way. Attempt to hold the sky (or world) up long enough, and your body will tell you blatantly that you're hurting it. “But do not I have to go to work?” Yes. “Do not I have to pay the bills?” Of course. “What about tax season coming up? Yikes!”
No doubt, these types of road signs pop up along the way, always reminding us of something we need to do. Pay a parking ticket. Visit the dentist. Update the planner. Buy juice. Renew car tabs. And of course – taxes. But there are also expectations we place on ourselves, almost willingly, above and beyond these everyday mundane responsibilities.
What are examples?
“I want to show everyone how great I'm doing and feeling, regardless of how I'm actually doing and feeling.”
“It is better for me to treat others better than I treat myself. Somehow I deserve this type of punishment … I do not know why.”
“When my body's showing me that I'm tired and beat up, it's time to start doing better.
“That person says there's something wrong with me. It must obviously be true.”
“I can never do enough, or be enough for anyone.
These are all examples of common human tendencies, those of piling more weight on the shoulders than can actually be physically or mental-emotionally handled by one person … at least not while they're trying to live their own life.
Sometimes it's worth asking, “Can I shred it?” or “What can I shred at the moment?” Not all of it is important, it just feels like it is because it's made out to be that way. Do you really believe it? Do you believe that you have to be everything for everyone, all while trying to reach your life's goals and stay healthy? Do you think it's possible to do it that way, or desirable to do it that way?
These are all questions we must ask ourselves. We go through schooling, but there comes a time when someone else can not tell you or show you how to do it. That's when you ask yourself what you're made of, and ask yourself what weight is worth shaving off.
What weight do you want to shrug off today, or this upcoming week, so you can continue to live your own life and stay healthy while doing it?