Limits. It’s an ugly word in 2021. Whether we are flying into space, creating a vaccine or running a marathon, we are increasingly taught to ignore our limits. Limits are for losers. True grit. Man up. Brace. Never give up. Keep on smiling. It’s the soundtrack of success. Until it’s not.
Recognising our limits is often a hard skill in recovery. Because we are hardwired from school to ignore illness and – at the other end – we are locked away in care homes if we show signs of frailty. ‘No limits’ is now our slogan from cradle to grave. But limits teach us an important lesson and that lesson is – Enough.
Can you ever have enough money or stuff or sex or booze or friends? Is your best life really limitless? Freedom costs. It’s not without sacrifice. Even freedom has its limits. To gain your freedom, someone else has to pay. Life isn’t all about choice. Illness may well limit our lives in all sorts of ways and the choices we are able to make. Age may limit our once boundless energy.
It is time to embrace our limits and respect them. To live authentically we need to tell others about them – safely. No more pretending. You have mental health issues? Practise saying no. You are feeling drained in that relationship? Call time. Too tired to go out for a friend’s birthday? Rest instead. Your hangovers are getting worse? Try a period of sobriety. Everyone’s limits are different – we must unlearn what we hear at school and in jobs. We are more than machines to make money. Find your limits. Respect them. Live authentically alongside them.
Life is not limitless. Make your life real.
Alice Smith 2021
Alice us the founder of 361 Recovery and a transformational expert. She keeps it real.