The theme that I chose for my life this year was “freedom.” My goal was to stop doing things that make me feel repressed, muted, or drained so I can feel more in control of my time. I became obsessed with exploring ways to 1)infuse more fun into my life and 2)stop doing things that I know I don’t want to be doing just to keep other people comfortable. And, considering how difficult this year has been for me (coping with a miscarriage, the loss of my sister to cancer, and trying to survive the shitshow that is the U.S. socio-political landscape), I’d say I’m doing a not-so-bad job. More often than not I’m in a place where free self-expression is more important to me than other people’s approval. But every once in a while I find myself treading the line between considering other people’s opinions and trying to control their reactions. When the desire to prove my worth or love-ability creeps back up, I have to remind myself that the pressure to manage other people’s expectations is 100% self-inflicted.
If you’re happy in your exhaustion, then this post isn’t for you. But, just so we’re clear: There is no prize for burnout.
If you have ever been called a people-pleaser, approval addict, or self-sacrificer and don’t like how it feels, or if you often find yourself ignoring your own needs to take care of others, then read on. If you take on too many commitments because you feel like you have to be everybody’s “person” and the go-to for tasks, then you may get something out of this. If you are sick and tired of feeling spread thin and used, and if you are fed up with overworking yourself to prove that you’re irreplaceable–at work, in your romantic partnership, or otherwise–then here are 5 things to keep in mind. They aren’t tips so much as mental notes. Keep what works and leave the rest:
1-Your self-worth is NOT tied to your accomplishments. You are not what you get done. You are inherently worthy of love and respect because you are a human being, and your worth is NEVER on the line. But as long as you believe that you’re worthy because you’ve achieved something or because of what you’re good at, you will be treated as replaceable.
2-You have control over YOU and nobody else. Even if you are held responsible for other people,you can’t actually control anyone other than yourself. You can exercise that control by protecting your “Me Time.”
3-You are allowed to ask for help. It’s okay for you to delegate, outsource, ask for assistance, or take a break. You don’t owe it to ANYBODY to take on everything. More importantly, you can’t truly give to other people or perform at your best when you’re depleted.
4-When you establish yourself as the “go-to,” people are less likely to respect your boundaries. If you make a habit of dropping whatever you’re doing to tend to someone else, it’s easy for others to assume you have nothing better to do with your time.While it can feel good to be needed, you don’t want to give the impression that your agenda takes second place.If you don’t enjoy being a doormat, then it’s up to you to put up a fight (with your words, of course!) and be clear about what you will or won’t do.
5- If you keep trying to prove how hard you can push yourself, you’ll only end up resentful. You will burn yourself into the ground fighting for other people’s admiration, and there is no prize for burnout! So stop it.It’s one thing to be respected as a vital contributor, but you will drive yourself insane trying to win everyone’s approval.
What if you aimed to be valuable rather than indispensable? How would it feel to focus on actually adding value and not just looking like you can juggle it all (since you can’t)? You have a right to want a break, but you won’t get it if you don’t ask. Closed mouths don’t get fed. So stop hustling for acceptance. Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Do good work and make time for the things that matter to you. Set and maintain clear boundaries to protect your energy.Ask for help and be willing to receive it. Acknowledge that you have limits.(It’s okay, boo–We all do!) Say “no” to the things that sap your energy and say “Yes” to things that you want for your life. You don’t have to be everything for everyone. So let go of the struggle and get your life!
Tell me:Which of these reminders is most helpful? What insight have you gained and how will you act on it to make sure you’re not putting too much on your plate?