I seem to be getting lots of reminders to not overdo things and to take time to care for and nurture myself as well as others. I can tend to be a bit of an ‘overdoer’ when it comes to giving, pleasing others and fulfilling requests made of me. I often tend to overcompensate by ‘overdoing’ to avoid the fear of being seen as selfish, lazy or stingy or to feel the discomfort of feeling that way. It’s like a continuum with selfish/stingy/lazy at one end and self-sacrificing/overgiving/overdoing at the other. Finding the middle where we are looking after our own needs and those of others, looks after us all.
I often stretch myself too thin and forget that I need to take good care of myself too. The truth is we need to remember to look after ourselves too and this is certainly not selfish, stingy or lazy. What good are we when we are depleted, running on empty or feeling resentful? When we do take the time to look after ourselves too, we have lots in reserve to be available for others. I often need reminding of some self-compassion boundaries to resist the tendency to overdo. Always say ‘yes’ or extending myself beyond what is reasonable is not helpful.
I am seeing this in others too who appear to me depleted, overworked and overwhelmed. While we all know it is important to do our best and to be kind to everyone, but as I said I can forget to include myself and have unrealistic expectations and lack self-compassion boundaries. This often leaves me exhausted, stressed and resentful.
I find it helpful to remember when I receive a request for help or feel the need to ‘overcompensate’ to check in with my wise self to be reminded to pause and consider am I acting from genuine kindness or am I at tipping point and heading toward overcompensating or self sacrifice. I am reminded to do a little stocktake of my resources and take time to decide what to do.
Overcompensating, overgiving, and overdoing are often my kneejerk reactions whether someone requests something of me or not. Taking the time to pause, reflect and consider before jumping in with a response or action is helpful. Awareness is key.
When I am aware that I am tempted to overcompensate to my own detriment, I have found it really useful to ask myself is “Am I tipping into self-sacrifice and subsequent resentment?” I have been journaling to increase my awareness of when I am doing this. Some examples from my journal include….
I can recommend taking the time to be aware of that tipping point and to tune in to your wise self for a reminder to put those self-compassion boundaries in place to look after yourself, so you have lots in reserve to be available for others. We’ll look at some more ways to make sure we include wise self-care in our caring, including saying ‘no’, over the next blogs.
With love, appreciation and very best well wishes to us all