I was chatting with a friend today, explaining that I’ve been dirt nap kind of tired lately. I wrote, “I’m becoming who I want to be, but it’s exhausting and I keep falling asleep early.” So he asks the next logical questions, “who do you want to be?” I thought about it for a few minutes and realized it’s not as complex as I once thought. I want to be someone who shows my kids boundaries. I want to be someone who never lies to them. I want to be someone who gracefully handles her kid being whiney and upset because her hair looks crappy, rather than becoming upset as well. I want to be a person who doesn’t take my kids’ anger, pain, frustration, etc. personally and allows them to feels those things without trying to fix them all the time. I’ve been doing that lately (obviously not perfectly) and I find it exhausting!
For a lifelong people pleaser, sitting with someone else who’s frustrated/angry is almost unbearable. The personal burden I feel to take that frustration or anger away is crushing. But I am finding that every time I white knuckle through, without offering advice, the situation seems to rectify itself more often than not. So I’m getting to see firsthand that I don’t need to do the thing I always have done. There are times that people want help and there are times people want advice, but not always. I’m still learning how to shield myself from those who do want me to “magically” fix things and get upset with me when I don’t. I’m getting better about setting boundaries for how much complaining I can listen to. I have a pretty high tolerance, but I’m noticing as my desire to be a people pleaser diminishes, my tolerance for listening to complaining goes down as well. It’s funny because I talk with my kids all the time about “tools” for handling different situations and emotions. I was looking for a tool for me on this, and I realize that the tool is just the knowledge that I am not required to alleviate someone else’s pain. That a person feeling sad, angry or frustrated is ok and it’s not my responsibility.
Now I just need a daily reminder for a while. 😉 Talk later, K