I went through a uncomfortbale–and much too long–phase of being the “Yes” woman. Some people took advantage of the temporary role I played as “that person”. I could be all things to all people at all times (or so I thought). Yes, I’ll be room mom, library volunteer, preschool helper, class auction project go-to-girl, help tutor kids during school hours, bake whatever dessert you please for whatever event you want, watch your kids, and do whatever else you want me to do… No problem. Sure, I’ll set my own personal needs aside to make my house look perfect, cook delicious meals, and attend every social function I’m invited to (even if I don’t want to). And yes, I’ll agree with you to make you happy, tell you what you want to hear so that you’re not upset, or just keep quiet so things stay calm. I’ll keep my own thoughts to myself and internalize my feelings. How healthy does that sound? Not very…
One day, I just couldn’t do it anymore; I had enough. I was tired and feeling taken advantage of. People knew I would say yes because that’s what I did, but what I had loved doing (helping) became a chore and expected of me–I wasn’t having fun anymore. It was my own fault, of course. I let it go too far, and I didn’t set boundaries. Also, I wasn’t feeling like I was being authentic by holding back my true feelings, thoughts, and opinions. Is that really the example I want to set for our girls—to be an un-opinionated martyr. NO! I am a smart woman with thoughts and opinions that are worth saying aloud.
I needed to reorganize my life in a hurry, and I did. I was done with that old way, which was actually not the way I had been growing up. It was time to go back to my spunky, energetic, respectfully opinionated self that I was before I had lost my sparkle.
At first, I felt like a bad mom for not helping at my kids’ school 24/7, but that didn’t last for very long. I still volunteer at school. I’m still head of the Sunshine Committee, chaperone field trips, help with class parties, and bake occasionally, but that’s significantly less than I was doing. It feels GREAT!
I’ve changed in other areas of my life too.
I don’t agree with everyone’s opinions all the time, I don’t stay quiet when I feel strongly about something, and I will say no if I’m not comfortable with something. I respect my own thoughts and needs. I feel so much better!
A great (but sometimes difficult) side effect of being uniquely you is that you will weed out people in your life who don’t have your best interests at heart. If they show that they don’t like that you are honestly trying to be yourself—if they try to hold you back from evolving–they are not on your “team”. It’s good to take that inventory every once in a while. It’s good for other people too, because if you are being honest and don’t play along, they also are forced to be more honest with themselves.
This isn’t me being difficult, this is me realizing that I was going downhill personally and would be of no use to anyone (including myself and my family) if I keep giving, giving, and giving some more without setting boundaries. Also, by not letting my true light shine through in terms of sharing my thoughts and feelings, I was putting myself in danger of losing my sparkle for good. No way—I’m not going to let that happen! Well, it did happen for a time, but I fought my way back to the light. It was a bumpy ride, but I’ve done it and it’s liberating! I would recommend it to anyone!
I think it’s really important to not allow ourselves to be swallowed whole by servicing others. Don’t get me wrong, I think helping people is a great, powerful, and an important thing to do—in healthy doses. Most importantly, I think it’s important to let ourselves shine and service others by being our authentic selves with our unique voice. Life would be bland if we all followed someone else’s queue instead of learning to hear our own true voice, and using it.
It may take time or it may be like a quick switch being turned on; either way, I promise you that you will feel a thousand times better if you let yourself be who you are truly meant to be. It may be a rough road to get to a healthy place, but so worth it! Either way, you are going to piss someone off at some point, so you may as well be authentic and feel good about the way you are living your life. After all, it is YOUR life!
Carpe Diem–Seize the Day!
Picture by The Notebook Doodles