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The Value of Being Overwhelmed

Image of toddler sitting on grass holding a large ball. Raleigh Psychotherapy, counseling, Overwhelmed, Broadway

Lost in Space was a popular and campy television show that aired from 1965-1968. It told the story of a family that is struggling to survive in an alien and hostile land. After making careful calculations to arrive at their destination, their ship was thrown off course by the weight of an intruder who was attempting to sabotage their mission.

Dr. Smith, a spy working for another country, was reprogramming the Robot on board the ship when it took off. He intended to leave the ship before it launched but miscalculated his time. He was incompetent, and caused much of the troubles the family faced.

Will Robinson the brilliant nine year old son of the family was the only person who would befriend Dr. Smith. He was involved in many of Dr. Smith’s misadventures.

The Robot had no given name and although he was a machine, he showed many human characteristics such as laughter, sadness, and anger. He was given the job of protecting Will Robinson.

Where am I going with this? The characters and stories from Lost in Space are a great tool to remind you of the positive things that feeling overwhelmed can do for us.

Six Values That Come From Being Overwhelmed

1. It is there to warn us:

When Will was in danger, The Robot would swinging his arms wildly, turn on flashing lights, and say over and over, “Danger, danger, danger, Will Robinson!” Being overwhelmed is like the Robot’s warning, it is trying to get us to pay attention to what we are doing.

At times, we can be oblivious to the emotional dangers around us. When this happens, it takes emotional arm-swinging, flashing lights, and repeated messages for us to hear and see what is going on.

2. It directs us to pay attention to our thoughts:

Dr. Smith was constantly engaged in magical thinking. He was planning and plotting to make the impossible happen. When we get ourselves into situations where we are trying to do more than is possible or even what is impossible, we are engaged in magical thinking. We tell ourselves that we can do it all...right now! We tell ourselves we have to do it all, because no one else can. We believe our own story.

3. It reveals our hidden motivations:

Dr. Smith was trying to sabotage the mission. On an unconscious level, our Harsh Inner Critic is trying to keep us from being successful and accomplishing our goals. It does this from a misguided benevolence. It believes that to be successful is to be seen, and to be seen will lead to being hurt. The Harsh Inner Critic tries to get you to hide under a veil of overwhelm and helplessness.

4. It encourages us to stop what we are doing and take a break:

The Robot was trying to get Will to stop the action he was taking and to take the time to stop and think about what he was doing.

Being overwhelmed is an invitation to take time to be mindful. Ask yourself, “What are you doing and why are you doing it?” Are you living in the present moment?

5. It wants to be our friend and help us:

Will was the only person who would be Dr. Smith's friend. He worked to help him. Dr. Smith would hide behind the boy when he was afraid, he would push him forward in dangerous situations. Will and the Robot worked together to help Dr. Smith rethink what he was doing and worked to get him to find some levity in this dangerous life.

6. It comes to help us recognize the goodness of life:

There are times when we are overwhelmed in good and positive ways. The overwhelming beauty of a sunset, the overwhelming joy of a happy event, the overwhelming feeling of love for a person, place or pet. These moments give us memories to revisit on difficult days.

Dr Smith reprogrammed the Robot to take the ship into overdrive, which caused it to go off course. There are times when we go into overdrive believing that we have to do things we cannot do, do everything at once or do it all alone. We forget that we can only do what we can do - no more - and that we have a limited time to get

things done. We get thrown into distorted thinking about having to get things perfect and to do it quickly. This leads us into feeling overwhelmed.

Being overwhelmed is like the Robot, it is our friend that comes to warn us to slow down, rethink and reconsider what we are thinking and doing. At times, it comes to show us how great life can be.

Feeling overwhelmed and unable to get a handle on it? Call me I can help (919)881-2001.


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