"Sure." "Yes." "Hey, no problem, I'll be glad to."
Do these words sound familiar? How many times have you agreed to do something, to take on one more task, to tackle a really unappealing job when your instincts told you to refuse? I think as women, we're particularly vulnerable to taking on more than we can handle and I caution my female clients against this.
Maybe it's because women have been taught to be nurturers. Maybe it's because women think they're never "doing enough," and set impossible standards for themselves.
Maybe it's because women easily are "guilted" into taking on more than anyone could reasonably handle. Often their internal dialogue runs along the lines of "If I don't do it, who will?" (When my clients tell me this, I often say, "If you were run over by a bus tomorrow, who would do it?")
Every situation is different, but for some reason, I see a lot of my female friends, colleagues and clients going to superhuman lengths to try to accommodate everyone. Everyone but themselves, that is! There's a wonderful quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that sums it up.
Even though it's tempting to think we can push ourselves to the limit and put a tremendous strain on our physical and mental well-being to "get the job done," we have to learn to say no. The weight of the world really *doesn't* rest on your shoulders (you just think it does. Or maybe you've been taught to think it does.)
Maybe it's because people expect too much of us. Maybe we expect too much of ourselves.
In the end, we all need to take a step back, take a deep breath and separate the "needs to be done," from the "should be done," and the "maybe it can wait till tomorrows." Every job we take on isn't earth-shatteringly important. Trust me, the sun will still rise in the east and set in the west, whether you do this *crucial* task or not.
At first it will seem awkward, but the next time you're asked to do something, the right course might be to stop, think, and just say no. Try it. You can learn to love it, and you can gain back a big chunk of your health, happiness and well-being. It's not being selfish, it's taking care of yourself. Good luck and give it a try. Be sure to let me know how you're doing with this new approach and I'll cheer you on!
By Mary Kennedy