Are You Over-Functioning?
There’s a fine line between being helpful and over-functioning. Once you slip into over-functioning mode, you relinquish your ability to choose your response in any given moment. Your craving to take charge and ensure that all goes smoothly becomes an “action urge” and an obligation.
Life is happening at such an accelerated speed that many people report feeling disoriented. Some say they can’t remember what they are doing or what time it is. If you are unconscious to your over-functioning habit, you may also be unaware of how today’s extreme speed of life is triggering you to push even more.
When in the over-functioning gear, it is common to try to keep up and work harder, think faster, and do more because you are vigilant about what might go wrong. You come up with a plan to solve whatever problem is staring you in the face or the next one you are anticipating, not realizing that what you are reacting to are your uncomfortable feelings about the situation, not the actual situation itself.
As soon as you sense a problem, an action urge to take charge arises and you feel compelled to do something—to react—activating the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) roles!
Feeling like a Victim to your uncomfortable feelings narrows your perspective so you resort to controlling the situation which aligns with the Persecutor role in the DDT. Or you may slip into the Rescuer role that acquiesces to others’ needs.
An unintended consequence of over-functioning is that you teach people to count on you because they know you will take care of things. If this pattern continues, you may be encouraging others to disengage and not take responsibility for themselves, perpetuating a cycle of Victim mentality in them. Your desire to be overly helpful blocks others from functioning as their best self!
Your capacity to choose your response to life’s challenges continues to narrow, while reducing your ability to respond as a Creator, the central role in TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)®.
Over-functioning may happen in one part of your life and not in others. You may over-function as a parent, doing things for some family members that are really theirs to do. At work, though, you may have appropriate boundaries and respect others’ roles and responsibilities. Notice in which parts of your life you over-function and ponder the beliefs you have that may drive over-functioning in one area, but not another.
Pay attention to your urge to act. It can be so strong that you go on “automatic” and do things the same way over and over, sleepwalking through life. Notice the next time this happens and pause for a moment. Most likely you will feel the action urge compulsion arise in your body. You may notice that your jaw is clenched, shoulders scrunched, shallow breathing, and/or a knot in your stomach. If you pause, breathe deeply, and calm your body your innate Creator essence will guide you toward a more coherent state where you can trust yourself to allow life to unfold.
Here are a few suggestions for loosening the obsessive grip of over-functioning:
- See it and admit to yourself when you get caught in the over-doing urge.
- In the moment, say to yourself: “I have a choice to not respond to the action urge. I can be still and not react.”
- Focus on what you are grateful for. Gratitude is one of the fastest ways to feel content and accept what is happening in the moment.
The key to shifting out of the over-functioning mode is to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Sometimes the best thing you can do as a Creator is to simply pause, take a few deep breaths, and do nothing in the moment!