Emotional Rest Series – part 1

I enter my apartment; it’s after 9:00pm. I have been up since 6:00am and haven’t stopped. I pour myself a full glass of wine, put a bag of popcorn in the microwave because I can’t be bothered cooking, and turn on the TV. My phone is still buzzing with emails and to do lists. I think, “I’m not getting paid enough to put up with this!” Frustration sets in. I’m disappointed with myself that I haven’t gone to the gym in a month or called back my best friend or even had the energy to clean my house. Gradually the wine and the TV begin to numb out the nagging thoughts. Then 6am rolls around again and I am hurled into another day of people demanding my attention. I would sleep but I wouldn’t rest. I would check out but I wouldn’t fill up.

Hard worker

I have always had a high value for working hard. I had my own car washing business when I was 10 and worked in my Aunty’s take away shop when I was 13. Working hard is something I find purpose in and thrive on. I was really good at working hard for other people but would sacrifice myself over and over again to meet the needs of someone else.

If I did take a break, like a long weekend, I would get extremely sick! My body was screaming at me to stop. Survival mode told me I didn’t have a choice. I had bills to pay, and I was determined to be seen as responsible. I wanted to live up to other people’s expectations of me. I had become a victim of work, a slave to what people think. I subconsciously thought performing to everyone’s expectations of me would give me acceptance and love.

I was constantly running in circles trying to figure out how to do life well. How do I serve my community, love people, show up for them, be generous and take care of me? Is taking care of me selfish? How do I work hard, but not burn out? Can I say no to my leader or boss? Is sacrifice as a lifestyle the most commendable life?

 Love is the key

The game changer for me was learning how to love myself. Our culture might say the problem is we love ourselves too much, meaning self love is selfish. But I don’t agree. In the Bible it says, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” The hidden wisdom is you will be a good lover of others when you know how to love yourself. I lived my life mostly frustrated at other people’s incompetency, but then I realized my frustration was holding a mirror up to my frustration at myself in areas I felt incompetent.

September 2014 was when everything changed. My life was turned upside down and inside out. I took a risk in moving to another country and became a student. I was literally forced to not work. This was not easy for me, a recovering workaholic. Subconsciously all my worth was wrapped up in how I performed and what people thought of me. These past couple of years I’ve been unwrapping the beliefs that have kept me locked in a prison of hustling for self worth. I have been navigating the tension of when to work and when to rest. Does rest mean doing nothing? Or is it an emotional state? What is excellence? How can I be excellent at what I do without sacrificing myself, and those around me? What am I actually good at? How do I respect someone’s opinion but not sacrifice my own? Is it ok to disappoint people? What makes me come alive? Is it ok to do the thing I love? What do I love? Life is full of tension, come join me as I navigate the tricky tensions of life!

This post is the start of a series about my journey on living a life of emotional rest. I want to unpack further what loving yourself looks like. To get regular updates in your inbox feel free to subscribe!

Questions to ponder…

When was the first time you felt like you needed to perform for love?

What parts of your life do you feel robbed of choice?

Ella is a Life Coach, Speaker and Writer with a passion for story telling, wholeness and living the life you always imagined! Learn more about Ella here and connect via email, instagram or facebook!

4 Comments

  1. Love you babe and love this — so proud of you and this is SO SO good and powerful.

  2. Pingback:Self Awareness - Ella Hooper

  3. Lauren Griffin

    Just read this and it really struck a chord! Been thinking about how this constant need to ‘deliver’ to prove yourself without really thinking or taking a moment to really connect with yourself and what you really want from life. At the moment, I’m taking a bit of a break and just allowing myself to ignore my to-do lists until it feels right to me to chose to do it rather than manically trying to get to that magic point just beyond the horizon of what I ‘should’ do each day. Thank you for sharing – enjoying your blog!

    • Wow Lauren, thank you so much for taking the time to read my blogs and I’m so glad it struck a chord with you! You are full of depth and wisdom 🙂 I hope you are doing well!! xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Instagram

  • R E S T 💗
  • The sun is out people! 🙌🏼 📸 @christine.l.sullivan
  • I loved being a part of this photo shoot. Check out a cool video of the Narnia series on @lucassankey Instagram TV ✌🏼😝
Hair: @brb_hair 
Make up: @lesliehernandez.mua 
@ecschramm
  • It’s been nearly a week since we got back from Beijing and all I can think about is the people! I am deeply impacted by this team! Why? Because we don’t remember what people say but we remember how they make us feel. And what I felt on this team was a whole lot of love, joy/comedy, purpose beyond ourselves and unity I have never felt before. I loved the late night/ early morning chats, the permission to put the head phones in to be an introvert and the delight in sharing in the hilarity of “we have no idea what we are doing”. It wasn’t just the team that impacted me but the students who left a mark - we got to teach English and Creativity to 16- 18 year olds. Seeing the transformation in the student from day 1 to day 5 was the most rewarding gift. China you have my heart. ❤️
  • I don’t think I have ever - EVER dressed up like this, not even when I was in drama school! There’s something about my friend  @lucassankey he sees people differently! Check out his Narnia series on his page! Thank you for capturing my bad ass side! And shout out to the very talented @lesliehernandez.mua and @brb_hair for hair and make up! Thank you for pushing me to go bigger and bolder! ❤️❤️
  • @hunt.odom you are one of the funniest & kindest people I know! This trip to China has been hysterical with you on our team! I don’t think I have laughed this hard in a long time 😂
  • A bunch of public transport posers in China 🇨🇳
  • Home from a life enriching trip to Beijing, China.
  • Exciting projects in the works! Stay tuned... 😉
  • Christmas Family FaceTime 🇺🇸🇦🇺🎄
  • Walking in a winter wonderland ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️
  • One of the things I get to do at @bethelconservatoryofthearts is teach a class called the Whole Hearted Artist. In the class we talk about the things that stop us from living brave and showing up as fully ourselves! To all my brave hearted actors I love you and love seeing you step into being comfortable in your own skin ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️