I woke up this morning stressed about everything that I have to do. I was stressed about getting my child ready for school — am I sending her to the right school since questions continue to go unanswered that I desperately need the answers to? About getting my house clean, getting to work and finding a little time for me. I don’t know about you, but I am an addict for a five minute break just to do something for myself. It does not always happen, but I do like to think about the possibility of having that time just for myself. Just a moment when my brain does not feel that it is dedicated to everyone and everything accept for the person that it resides in.
Are you the type of person that feels like you need to do everything for everyone? I am that type of person. I am the type of person that is always worried that if I don’t do this or that, I will not be as well liked, loved, appreciated, accepted, or whatever else I can think of in my little head at the time. I guess the end result is that I am always trying to buy my way in with a good deed.
If you tell me that you cannot do something I am the first to volunteer to help you. As I write this article, I find myself asking how does that make me feel? Most of the time, I just feel stressed out, unappreciated, and a distaste for the things that I feel that I need to do. So, the question one must ask, is why do you do the stuff that you do if you get no pleasure out of it? I am passed my twenties so I know that I am not going to get what I want out of the situation. I rarely have. Why do I keep doing it? I can give you the rose colored version of it — I am an optimist. One day someone will prove me wrong or do something nice for me. The truth is that it’s crazy talk because people like you and I never choose healthy people to do these things for. Instead we choose people that we know that are going to disappoint us. I call it the need to be a victim of some sort.
Think about over the last twelve months the things that you have done for others and what did you get back from it? What were you expecting to get from it? Okay ladies don’t sit there and lie to yourself, when we do something, we all want something back. It could be as simple as a thank you or as complex as I need to feel loved and appreciated. The point is, we all want something. For me, I have to admit my deep little dirty secret; I just want to be accepted. I don’t feel like I have had a lot of that in my life so I will spend my last dime, borrow time for my child, or jump off a building to feel accepted. I wanted a family and kind of family. I did not care what I had to do to get it.
Let’s think about this. This is something that we need to give some thought to. How many of you out there will go into debt just to be accepted by a mother, a friend, a long lost relative? If you are reluctantly raising your hand in the corner and looking around to make sure that no one is looking at you, don’t be ashamed. I have been there and got the tee shirt for it. I could share some things with you, but I don’t want to so that I can protect the “innocent.”
Ladies, we have to ask ourselves, what is the cure to the seemingly terminal need to be everyone’s everything?
For me, I have decided that I cannot be everything to everyone. In fact, I needed the year hating myself for some of the choices that I have made over the last couple of years and vowed to be the extreme opposite. I am very grateful that I have been able to experience some of the things that I have done over the last year. It has made me a better mother, spouse, friend, and relative to the people who should be in my life verses the ones who I thought that I needed.
I have made some changes in my life. I am in my later years so I have realized that the things I crave will probably not make that much of a difference. If you want to be in my life I don’t have to provide you with thousands of dollars, buy you trips, purchase for your kids, or beg you to call me back. In fact, if I have to do any of those things more than once, I have to cut you out of my life lately. If you don’t call me on the phone, I won’t reach out to you anymore. In fact, if I don’t hear from you for more than a month, I have now deleted your number and address. For some of you this might seem extreme but I just need more from the people that are in my life. I don’t want money, just respect. I don’t want calls when you need something, I just want an occasional hey, and how are you doing? It could make my day.
I have stopped worrying about why, how and who I need to be for other people. When people ask me about you (the other people), I have started to tell them the truth. That is, “I have not heard from you since I did this for you.” I tell them that it was amazing, when I was making plans to do this with you. I heard from you every day and then one day after you got my money, my advice or no longer needed my help, I cease to exist. I no longer lie and tell people what a good person you are and how you compliment my life.
Now when someone tells me something is going on in their lives that I can help with, I stop and ask myself if I volunteer to help this person will I get what I need from him/her or will I end up feeling used and unappreciated. If the answer is NO, I sincerely tell them that I am sorry things are not working out as they would have liked and I keep stepping. The end results have been, my credit cards are no longer maxed out. I have money in my pocket. And I am now accepting that most people in my life are not there to build me up. The most important thing that I have discovered is that I am good enough for me and the people who really love me. I don’t have to be validated by doing for others. I can be validated by not destroying myself in the name of others.