Planning my move to Portugal will take time. Unlike some people, I can’t just drop everything and go. I wish I could, but a planned approach, undertaking all the necessary steps is crucial. So far, I’ve been in the planning phase for the last nine months, and I’ve achieved a lot.
Specifically, over the last six months, I have learnt a lot about myself. Realistically, it’s a short period of time to understand the last 49 years, but it’s a start. But, in the last six months, I have achieved so much. Both physically and mentally.
Since being diagnosed as dyslexic, I’ve had my challenges. Just knowing is a significant step to understanding. But knowing raises more questions. I’m learning more day by day.
Every day there are occasions when I do something and now realise why I do it. These things are ‘normal’ to me, because I don’t know any different. For example, why do I never spell February with two r’s? I know it has two r’s, I know where they are, but why do I never spell it with two r’s? Trust me, it’s frustrating.
I’ve put many mechanisms in place to overcome my challenges. Maybe overcompensate. But I believe that many of the things I’ve put in place assist not only me but also others. Well, I would say that, wouldn’t I?
As an example, I prefer information in bullet points and concise statements. Just think of the time it saves other people giving me information in bullet points than it does to write a story. I now understand why I don’t like pointless emails. You know, those emails that don’t really say anything or take forever to get to the point! But it takes a lot of my time to read and understand.
I have also become more aware of how I react to things and what frustrates me. I still need to work on dealing with my frustrations in a more positive way.
The single biggest thing that frustrates me is when people keep prodding me and, through my eyes, take joy in seeing me struggle. Actually, taking pleasure is not helping me.
Keep prodding me. You’ll get a response. Trust me. It’s not the one you’re looking for – but you’ll get a response. In this instance, I’m stubborn and unforgiving.
Reflecting, I recognise that many years ago, I prepared a report which wasn’t to the level it needed to be. Fully accept that. After discussion, I re-present the report. Still not good enough. And we go through the cycle again. And again. I recall probably eight or nine reiterations later that no matter what I was being asked, I just couldn’t deliver.
I see this in some current activity where I simply can’t see past what I’ve done and struggle without clarity. I can clearly see people responding in a way that makes me feel I am being difficult. Trust me, I’m not. I’m just trying to get the work done. No matter how many times it is explained, I just don’t get it. And it makes me feel worthless.
At least I now know why, I just need to get better at overcoming it. But, please stop prodding me. There is a kinder way we can work together to get the best result and outcome.
In my quest to understand more, I have had lots of conversations and undertaken quite a bit of reading and research about over-functioning.
I’m an over-functioner
Over the last few months, I have been learning about over-functioning. Am I an over-functioner? Absolutely! And in every part of my life.
I want to do things bigger and better. I constantly do too much. I have high standards for myself. I over-function for other people and do everything for them. I push things too far, too fast. I am an extreme go-getter.
Being an over-functioner means I put immense pressure on myself; I am overly judgemental about myself, and I am a champion at self-criticism. Other characteristics of an over-functioner include:
- Always being exhausted and not achieving. This means I am always disappointed in myself
- I compare myself to other people, to be as good as them and try to meet their expectations
- I anxiously try to get lots of things done, and then feel a failure when I don’t achieve as much as I think I should
- I rarely stop. I feel guilty that I should always be working to prove my worth.
- I always pick up the slack and feel responsible for outcomes. I also let people default to me to pick up the slack.
- I see my role is to take things on and take the slack. Therefore, becoming stressed, overwhelmed and busier – but I still take everything on.
- I never ask for help
- I always say yes too often
- I always apologise
These characteristics don’t make me a bad person, but they do make me exhausted, resentful, overwhelmed and frustrated. Therefore, I become even more of an over-functioner to compensate.
I believe that I am an over-functioner because I have overcompensated to prove my worth.
I’m working on rebalancing. But this doesn’t come easy or naturally. But I’m working on it. There are so many things to rebalance.
In my personal life, I have made massive steps. I don’t recall the last time that I’ve felt so content and relaxed. I’ve stopped racing around. I give myself time. I switch off – and do nothing. I do a bit of meditation. I’m don’t beat myself up for not completing a long list of tasks or activities. I’m not disappointed if I haven’t achieved anything. I undertake household duties at my pace. I’m not worried about cutting the grass or trimming the hedge. Maybe because now I don’t have a lawn or 200ft hedge – but you know what I mean.
I guess I’m trying to be kind to myself.
There is more to do on a work front though. I’ve put disciplines in place to create a clear divide between work and home during the lockdown. I’d been doing incredibly well, but in the last week I’ve felt the need, and pressure, to work as many hours as I can – early mornings till late at night and throughout the weekend. I also know that my over-functioning characteristics cause an issue.
Stop. Pause. Regroup. Start again.
Relating to Portugal
I guess you’re questioning what’s this got to do with Our Farm Portugal?
Well, moving to Portugal means that I’m going to spend a lot more time with only myself as company. So, the more I know about myself, the less frustrated I’m going to get about the things I do. I don’t want to start having arguments with myself now do I?
Another reason is to move myself from an over-functioner to an optimal-functioner. That takes time. And there is no need to delay.
I also believe that by adjusting how I approach and do things now, I will be prepared and ready for change. Many people claim one of the biggest challenges when moving to Portugal is the change in the pace of life. Focusing on reducing the pace of life now will, I’m sure, help my transition to Portuguese time!
Thanks for getting this far!
Hourglass picture by kind permission of Paula Guerreiro
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