Are you a flogger of dead horses? Of course not actual horses in real life – that would be quite icky and cruel. But I think most people know the phrase “flogging a dead horse” and get the gist of it.
According to the nifty website The Phrase Finder (I am a secret nerd and lover of quirky phrases) the meaning of this phrase is “Attempting to revive an interest which has died out; engaging in fruitless effort.”
Hmm, fruitless effort – that strikes a chord in me. For I am most definitely a flogger of dead horses. I was in denial for quite a few years, then I kind of got an inkling that this was something I did, so I’d make jokes about how I’m a flogger of dead horses – but then keep right on doing just that, never addressing the issue fully.
As I’ve gone through some major life changes in the last few years and now find myself 3/4 the way through my also very life changing yoga teacher training course, it would seem my little habit of flogging dead horses finally needs to be addressed.
I’m not sure if this is something that all people do from time to time in their lives or if there are some very clever people out there who know exactly when to cut something (or someone) loose and move on, never flogging a dead horse or even getting remotely close to it dying to begin with! I have proven time and time again that I am generally not one of these people. But there is a serve and limit to all this.
On the plus side, it means that I’ve got some guts and don’t give up easily. I stick projects out to the end and most often achieve the results I was hoping for. I make goals and reach them. I make to do lists and tick things off the list (very satisfying). I can ride out the hard times and make it to the good times. I don’t get scared if it all goes pear shaped and everyone has a wobbly. I’m incredibly loyal and not just in it for the good times, skipping through meadows surrounded by rainbows! I can stand by and stick it out when there are tears, eruptions and confusion. I love with a big heart and don’t like to let people down.
But… the flip side of all this gutsy enthusiasm is that sometimes (okay, quite often) I don’t know when to quit. When I’m exhausted, broken, tired and should really say “hey lets call it a day” I keep on going. I forgo sleep, self care, meals, fitness, me time – all just to reach a deadline. I’ve stuck it out in jobs, relationships, friendships and even hobbies well past the time I should have upped and left. Flogging dead horses is not nice to do and I’m pretty sure often not very nice to watch for those around me that care.
So it is finally time. I’m taking stock of how many things I have on the go. How many pies I have my fingers in. What is working for me and what is not. What energises me, makes me want to bounce out of bed in the morning and what makes me flat, dull, tired and robotic.
I’m realising that I need to get very clear about what I do and don’t want in my life. I need to set boundaries for myself so that work and study don’t crowd out time for myself and my loved ones. Its a work in progress that’s for sure and fascinating to observe just how much I have managed to keep things going for no other reason than that is just what I do.
Some things to ponder:
Can you identify with this? Are you a flogger of dead horses too?
How can you start to change this pattern and evolve?
Miss City Down x
Image from here