Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Life lessons

Saying no... Yeah, I am not very good at that.  I have this image of myself as reliable and dependable and loyal.  I want people to see me in this way and I want to look good.  Which is a form of pathological self-centeredness couched in self-righteous martyrdom.  I get shit done and people respect that.  But then I get burned out and resentful.

Sometimes I say "yes" even before I think about the request.  Then I do, and then I experience regret about having done so.  This fits into the image that I am trying to put forth into the world.  A friend of mine, who struggles with the same deal, asked me if I say "yes" when I really want to say "no"because I am more interested in keeping up this image than in actually doing whatever I agreed to do.  Because that is what she does.  And I am indeed guilty of that.

When I say "yes" to something I need to make sure that I am not saying "no" to myself and my own needs.  I told a friend yesterday that I always follow through on my obligations, and generally do them very well, but I have a nasty little habit of sacrificing my sanity, health, and personal relationships to do so when I am over committed.  This serves absolutely no one.

Tonight I said "no" to a last minute request from my boss to cover for someone at work at 5:00am tomorrow morning.  Not because I had somewhere else to be (short of sleeping!) or because I was sick.  No, I said "no" because I just needed a break.  Although I am trying really hard not to feel guilty about that.

I think learning how to manage my obligations is a spiritual discipline that I need to cultivate RIGHT NOW.  I tend to operate out of this concept that things will slow down or become easier to manage when I am no longer in school.  That is not true, I will just be occupied with other obligations and commitments.  Not better, just different.

So here are the commitments that I will be making to myself:

1. Carefully consider my motives when agreeing to do something.
    -Is it for me to maintain my image?
    -Do I genuinely have something to offer or do I just think I could do it better than someone else?
    -Is there someone who is better suited to do it?
    -Is it my turn or should someone else have the opportunity?

2. Make time every single week that is for me (see the commitment made in this post) and then keep it sacrosanct.

3. Believe that I am worthy of taking a break and that the world won't fall apart if I check out every once in awhile.  Stop the guilt!

4. Draw better boundaries that protect my own personal time and energy
    -If someone is sapping my emotional energy, drawing a line there to protect my own health.  Had to do
     this a couple times already this week.
    -Stop doing the activities that are not life giving (working on this one), to make time for things that are.
5. Stop taking it personally if I disappoint someone because I cannot accomplish something.  Take it personally when I disappoint myself.

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