Dig Deep

By Dr. Patricia L. Bay, Psy.D.
Published in W Magazine, November 2010

Life is tough. Some times are tougher than others. Have you ever been so dog tired that you feel as though you cannot put one foot in front of the other? That is when we have to dig deep — deep into the depths of our souls to keep going.

I remember when I first heard the phrase "dig deep." I was sitting in the bleachers at my daughter's eighth grade softball game. The pitcher of her team was a dynamo named Ashley Boek. She had a pitch that shot off her arm like the flame from a blow torch. You could almost see the ball smoking as it crossed home plate. Her mom, Diana, was sitting next to me and every once in awhile would holler, "dig deep, Ash, dig deep." The simplicity of the encouragement stuck in my mind.

I think all women feel exhausted at some point. I often tell my husband, "I want your job." I want to go to work and come home without a ton of stuff hanging over my head. That is not totally fair as I am blessed to have a husband who shares the household load far more than many other mates. However, it seems that as women we often feel the responsibility of it all more than our partners. So how exactly does one dig deep?

When I am most exhausted, I think I dig deep in two ways. The first is that I get as silent as possible and the second is that I simplify as best as I am able. I try to say "no" to invitations or requests for my time and attention. This is often difficult. I love my family and friends and feel good about being there for them. I have to remind myself that taking care of me is an integral part of loving those people well. This is often harder than I am making it sound.

The whole idea about digging deep is that there is always a little more inside than meets our eye. It is that sprint across the finish line. The knowledge that if we can give just a little more, we will live to survive this day to face another. We are stronger than we know. It feels good each time we prove that to ourselves.