BLOG POST: How I Completely Changed Overgiving Once and For All!
Have you ever had a child who was nearly impossible to wake up and get out of bed in the morning to go to school?
It’s especially frustrating when you want to start your day, stay on schedule, be at work on time, or just not want to have your kid home when they should be in school. Another reason to feel pulled in different directions!
So I’d like to share with you what was the straw that broke the camel’s back. How I completely changed overgiving once and for all!
Honoring your boundaries can be so hard for women, who are taught from a young age to be nurturing and giving.
You put yourself last, give everything to everyone, and don't have enough time to yourself, not to mention energy.
But in the name of preserving my energy and my sanity (and also stop allowing my good intentions to enable my child) I decided to do this:
I decided, once and for all, to stop driving her to the bus stop.
(Mind you, the bus stop is a five-minute walk.)
Yes, you read that correctly.
If you’re wondering, I’ll talk about my sanity in a bit.
So have you ever heard the quote: “Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine.” (Attributed to Bob Carter)
Well, that wasn’t a quote I actually used. Obviously.
So I would often check into my sanity and in the end I realized that no, I was not insane. I was just a perpetual over-giver.
So I needed to have a system in place to make sure that I’m not giving too much away.
One of those systems is very simple. It’s the word “no”
So one morning when my child was getting ready for school, I made sure to remind her (read: I was psyching myself up),
“Remember, I am not giving you a ride.”
I saw her packing her bag. Time slowed down.
The clock ticked. I held my breath.
I mustered all my energy to hold myself back from grabbing the car keys and running out the door yelling, “Follow me!”
So I said, “Shouldn’t you leave now?” I quivered.
In my mind’s eye I saw myself racing to the car. I dug my feet into my shoes, I dug harder and harder.
I held myself in the chair.
She said, “Are you sure you don’t want to drive me?”
“No.” I winced. Such a harsh word! It was so painful.
Finally, she walked out the door.
A sigh of relief.
I wiped my brow.
And I realized it’s OK to let go.
It’s OK she misses the bus.
It’s OK if she has to figure out another way.
It’s OK if she learns.
And it’s OK and even preferable, that in high school(!) she finally learns how to be on time for the bus!
There. I said it.
I know. It sounds pathetic.
Maybe you wouldn’t understand.
Or maybe this hits home.
In any case, when I completely changed overgiving once and for all, I gave myself a super big high-five for my ability to say “no” to the one person in my life that it had always been hard to say “no” to.
Since then, do I feel tempted to give in? Yes.
Do I? Not yet.
Each time I don’t give in, each time I put myself first, I feel more energized to know I’m taking better care of myself, and it gets easier.
What’s your most challenging “no”? And what are you willing to commit to doing about it?