Life Within Limits

So I’ve noticed something recently, a topic that seems to be making the rounds. I’d like to give you my piece.

Limitations are a forefront problem created through ill health. It seems like there’s a wave of agreement that paints accepting limitations in a negative light. Which personally I find baffling. Imagine knowing deep down you have physical limitations to your everyday life. Imagine knowing this at a young age. Then imagine trying to come to terms with that – acceptance doesn’t come easy let me tell you. Then imagine that you eventually manage it, you feel like you’ve cracked it, you’re self-aware and assured on where your limitations lie – and then someone comes along and tells you not to “give in” or “give up”. Since when is acceptance “giving up”? Personally I feel like there’s a strange sort of strength that comes from accepting current limitations. It’s brave. It’s brave to admit that you can’t do something.

There’s this thing that healthy people like to tell sick people – “keep going, you can do this”. But sometimes all you need to do to move forward, is be completely still. Sometimes that’s best, you know. I’m saying that right now, at this moment, on this day, I can’t do X. That is not me saying that I will never do X again. This is not me being negative, or holding myself back. This is just a limitation of the current moment that I intend to respect. Today I can’t have a shower, but tomorrow maybe I will. Who knows? I’ll wait and see. The point I’m trying to make here is keeping yourself within your limitations is not counterproductive. Personally I like to strike a balance between giving myself periods of complete rest (whether that be days/weeks etc) and then pushing myself up to my limit but never ever past it. Ideally. It’s not an entirely fool proof plan, sometimes you can’t know you’re overdoing it until it’s too late. But at least you’ve learnt something, and hopefully you take that away with you. This is where my best pal comes in, he’s often far better than me at recognising my limits and when I’m fast approaching them. Sometimes I get so determined that I’m going to manage X that I can’t see it for myself. But he’s there, and he’s watching, and he lets me down gently, reminding me to not be quite so headstrong. He's a good egg.

Limitations are tricky, especially when it feels like they’re forever moving and refuse to stay still long enough for you to wrap your head around them. If you’re struggling with your own limitations right now, remember:

Respecting limits is not a weakness.

You are brave for doing so.

It is perfectly okay to start something, realise it’s too much, and return to base. It could be something as small as stopping half way through a shower for a break (leaving your conditioner on for an hour totally counts as a hair mask. I’m just being really good at self-care, it has nothing to do with the fact my arms got tired and I had to go nap with a towel on my head. Nothing at all…)

Every time you realise you’re about to cross the line and stop yourself, give yourself a pat on the back.

Don’t be scared of getting up close to the line, it’s a good way of measuring progress, and keeps you feeling like you’re being productive. Who knows, maybe it’s moved from yesterday. Maybe it’s further out, just don’t push it too far.

If your limitations seem overwhelming at some points and it feels like they’re mounting – don’t panic. See what tomorrow brings. Maybe it’ll bring sunshine and ice cream, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

(Unless of course you’re a lactose intolerant winter baby, in which case I take that back.)