I have been counseled for many years that it’s not possible to be everything to everyone. I know that this is true, because I’ve been failing miserably at it most of my life. I’ve always been a “pleaser”, as I’ve shared previously, because I learned early in childhood that there was a lot less pain (physical and emotional) to be felt if one could do what was asked of them.
I realized recently that I’ve been trying to win my mother’s approval and acceptance by proxy, through relationships with other women like her.
I’ve been getting the advice of many people over the years, most of it unsolicited, as to what “adjustments” I should make to my personality, attitude, character, to be able to cope and get along better.
I’ve been told I’m too direct with people, but others have told me I’m too subtle in my approach.
I’ve been told I’m a good teacher because I explain everything, but others have complained that I explained too much and they felt as if I thought they were incompetent.
I’ve been told that I have good organizational skills, but others think I’m just a control freak.
I’ve been told I have a lot of experience to offer, but others think I’m just a know-it-all.
These are just a few examples of the contradictions I hear from people on a regular basis. In trying to be everything to everyone in the way they need me to be it, I’ve lost myself and no one around me feels they are getting what they need from me.
This has been very distressing to me, until a recent incident really drove home how confused I’ve become about who I am, what my role is and what I need to do to take care of myself.
In trying to be everything to everyone I’ve become nothing. (At least that’s how I feel.) It feels more and more like people just want what they can get from me, what they need from me, then they discard me. I’m left trying to figure out what I didn’t give, say, do, that I should have, how I could have been a better friend, co-worker, family member, etc. I’m left feeling empty, void.
I’ve not been true to or taken care of me. In trying to meet everyone else’s needs I’ve neglected myself, chasing the idea that I need to be everything to everyone, I’m in a state of chaos all the time, inside.
I recently had to say “No, enough is enough” and that act really helped me to see that I do need some clearly defined boundaries and I need to stop trying to be what everyone else wants me to be and focus on who I really am, figuring that out, or rediscovering myself.
I’m sorry if this seems disconnected, I’m writing it after midnight because these things came into my head and I needed to get them out.