Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Do you take entirely too much on, because you struggle to say no to those you love, those you barely know, and even complete strangers, sometimes?
This is me. Chronic people pleaser, always afraid to say no, because I don’t want to disappoint others, or worse- cause conflict. I feel like I’m less than perfect if I don’t help anyone and everyone. I feel like I have this amazing reputation of being such a good person. I worry I will lose that if I start to define boundaries. This isn’t healthy. I can’t continuously put anyone and everyone above my own self.
I had a very enlightening session at therapy today. I learned that I’m going to have to put my foot down or people in all different areas of my life can and will take advantage of me. Either by full intent or by complacency, simply because I allow it.
I’m the only one that can control how others treat me. If I never say enough is enough, or no, how will they know where the boundaries are?
My therapist said that I need to think of life and my commitments/favors/helpfulness in boxes. I need to put myself, my husband, and my girls into the smallest, and most important, box. No matter what I do, their health and happiness need to come first. What I do for others should never strain my relationship with them.
In the past, I’ve neglected my family. I’ve bailed on family night to help “friends” I’ve chosen to hang out with others when I could have been comfortably at home in my pajamas with my husband. I’ve taken on more than I should, which has vastly affected Charles and even the girls. I have to get my priorities straight. I have to quit bending over backwards for people that wouldn’t even duck for me.
In the second box, surrounding the first, I’m to put extended family and my closest of close friends- those that are no different than my blood family. Those I love and I know equally love me. This will be the hardest box to do. I have to have a real moment with myself. I have to accept that some people don’t deserve to be in this box. Some people wouldn’t put me or my family in their second box, and as much as I wish I was in their second box, I’m not.
I’m not saying I’m going to be petty and treat people how they treat me, just that I’m going to start establishing clearly defined boundaries with those in my life. I have to take away the power I have unknowingly given so many people over me, my emotions and my priorities.
I’m the third box will be the rest of my family and friends.
Finally, those I barely know go in the 4th- coworker’s, acquaintances, Facebook only friends, neighbors, etc.
This has been some of the best “prioritizing” advice I’ve been given. I have some heavy homework this week- to establish an awfully important boundary with someone I love very much, but it’s time and greatly needs to be done. I have to remind myself that I’m doing what’s best for me, my family, and our sanity and happiness.
At the end of the day- that’s what has to come first, my own family.