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Setting Priorities and Slowing Down

There is a weariness that we feel when the feelings keep coming back and of how you don’t have the energy or the time to ‘stay’ with them. Many of us can relate very well to this weariness. The weariness can have to do with much more than one single event or experience, but actually it is a feeling of being bone-tired when we spend so much of our time and energy distracting ourselves from feelings that we’d rather not experience. It’s so easy to structure our lives in ways that we are consumed with activities, commitments, obligations, and responsibilities.

When we hear ourselves or others say things like “I’d like to but I’m busy” or “I wish I wasn’t so busy” or “I don’t have any free time”, there is an implied assertion that the schedule (that is, my life) isn’t our own and we are a victim of people, circumstances or obligations that we have no control over. As if someone else is in charge of the appointments and activities on our calendar. As we gradually began to take responsibility for everything that we feel we “have to do” and recognized that we are the one who puts those things in our appointment book, we get to look at WHY we spend so much time filling our schedule to the point where we would so frequently feel rushed, overly busy, weary, at times exhausted, and resentful.

If we spend some time really looking inward at that incredibly important question that we can’t even see until we have accepted that we are the one who has chosen everything that we do, plan to do, or feel obliged to do, we will discover a number of competing commitments. The main competing commitment is a desire to occupy ourselves with so much stuff that there is no space, time, or energy to stay, for any length of time with feelings, thoughts, emotions, memories or unpleasant or uncomfortable experiences of any kind. If we find ourselves telling ourselves things like “I’d like to” and “I know that I should”, and “I would if I had the time, but I don’t, so I can’t.” That is a good enough justification to stay incomplete with things then we could be excused and let off the hook from having to experience the consequences of staying incomplete.

We can also take advantage of any opportunity that came our way to let others know just how busy (that is, ‘important’) we are so that they can support our insistence that we’d really like to accept their offer or request, but we can’t. “I would, of course if I could, but I can’t. You understand don’t you?” And of course they do and they know that we will give them the same courtesy whenever they need some extra validation for their justification to avoid whatever it is that they would rather not do, whether that be going out on a date or staying present with an uncomfortable feeling. The system works really well, but there is a catch to it. There’s a small price that we pay for ‘proving’ that we can’t when the real truth is that we don’t want to and we won’t do it. And that is that we validate on an experiential level, a sense of powerlessness, inadequacy, scarcity, insufficiency, and unworthiness. And we lose a bit more trust in ourselves every time we do this. Other than that, it works fine.

Here’s a thought you might want to consider: If you can relate to or identify with any of this, consider how or why you set your life up the way you do and what if anything you’re trying to accomplish, prove, or avoid by reinforcing the notion that you’re a victim of forces beyond your control. You could also tell yourself the truth about what it costs you to accumulate evidence that you ‘can”, when the truth might be closer to you don’t want to. Consider what risks you might have to take should you ever decide that the cost of avoidance is greater that the benefit it provides. You might want to think about it, that is, if you have time.


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Setting Priorities and Slowing Down


Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at:

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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2019). Setting Priorities and Slowing Down. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 Jul 2019
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.