Being honest is sometimes the hardest thing to do.
Being honest with yourself – realizing your limits and not trying so hard to be what you aren’t.
And being honest with others – letting them know that you have limits and asking them to respect them.
I have a hard time with both these concepts.
I aspire to be “superwoman”. Not really, but in the sense that I want to be one of these people that has everything under control – that works 8 hours a day, comes home and cooks dinner, cleans the house, calls up friends and family and invites them over, catches up on emails and then still has time for a glass of wine in the evening and a good book. I want everything to be scheduled and planned out for me and for everything to go like clockwork. I always try to be punctual and on time, I try to always finish projects way before the deadline, always be available and never let anyone down.
Sound impossible – it is!
But that doesn’t stop me from trying my hardest to achieve it even if it pushes me to breaking point.
One thing I’ve realized is that the one thing stronger than my desire to have everything together is my desire for everyone to think I have everything together . Even if I’m absolutely stressed out, freaking out and about to keel over and pass out I will STILL take on new projects and more work if I am asked to. Why? Because I don’t want to let anyone down, I hate disappointing anyone so I feel that I can never say “no”, even if it’s the wisest thing to do.
After some serious thinking I’m discovering that self-sacrificial often crosses the line into self-destructive for me. I can go for days on too little sleep, too little food and work like a horse, only to absolutely collapse sooner or later. The worst thing is I only rest as much as is absolutely necessary before I’m back on my feet, trying to please everyone again. No matter how much I want rest and to take a break – I don’t let myself because some part of me still feels like I don’t “deserve” it.
This was highlighted to me this morning, when after eating a small breakfast I was anxiously cleaning the kitchen. I KNEW I had eaten too little, but I also knew that eating more meant I would have to take a solid hours break to rest and allow the pain to subside and the food to digest. I was frustrated because I knew what I should do for my health’s sake, yet I felt the compelling urge to work, work, work. My mom asked me what was wrong and I blurted out :” I’m just frustrated that I have to choose between walking around hungry all day or doing what I need to”. Of course, she immediately started thinking of ways to lighten my work load – but whenever she came up with a suggestion I would respond with “No, no it’s fine. I can handle it”.
Could I handle it while still taking proper care of myself – no I couldn’t. Yet somewhere in the back of my mind there is an instinctive impulse to put myself and my needs last – almost to the point of neglect. I already feel like such a waste of space when I HAVE to take time off to rest because of the pain I’m in, that I will actually restrict in order to be able to work. Is this wrong? Absolutely! But I justify it as being self-sacrificial; although the truth is that it’s much closer to self destructive.
I know I am needed and there is always work to be done, and if I don’t learn to respect my limits I’m going to keel over and die one of these days. But some part of me believes I don’t deserve rest or proper care like everyon e else,. Somewhere deep down I feel like I need to work myself to death while others can relax because I need to prove my worth. I’m trying so hard to be perfect, but I need to learn that no matter how much I do or don’t do – I can’t earn other’s love.
Those that matter in my life love me who I am, not for what I do. And if I can’t learn to take care of myself now, how will I be able to take care of others in the long run.
As a side note – I did exceptionally well with my eating today after letting someone else take over some of my responsibilities. Even my usual pain was lessened a significant degree. So I think a big step in my recovery will be letting go of the things I don’t have to do for others in favor of things I NEED to do for myself. A hard concept to grasp, but practice makes perfect.
Are you the type of person that thinks of everyone else first and yourself last?
Where do you think is the balance between being self sacrifical and when does it cross the line into being self-destructive?