You have spent much of your life taking care of others. So when do you get around to taking care of yourself?
Maybe you are the
- “Giving Tree” parent who burns out looking after the family day in and day out and your health goes to hell in a hand basket.
- Manager who has difficulty saying “no” to a highly demanding boss. As a result you do the job of several people.
- Leader who has difficulty delegating and does the work that reports should be doing themselves
So, at the end of your rope, you want things to change.
However, you also believe “servant leadership”.
Where do you find balance between self and other care? Here are some scripts you might find helpful.
“ I am not a doormat”
People pleasers are often exploited.
If you fall into that category, have you ever stopped to think that you may be reinforcing this behavior? What about saying, “I am not a doormat” and then shut the door to unreasonable requests? You might be surprised to see that your levels of resentment, anger, and frustration with the “users” in life goes way down. That’s because you finally took care of yourself.
The next message is for those who have become overly dependent on your help.
“You need to take care of yourself”
While it is a good thing to take care of others, that caring should not be at the expense of your own health and relationships. The boundary you set here does not have to be all or nothing. Maybe a reduction of care for the other by 20% would be in order. A person I know, who feels that her role in life is to fix everyone who comes to her with a broken situation, now asks herself, “Do I want a friend or a caseload?”
Now, try this next boundary-setting script.
“Which part of no don’t you understand?”
The world is full of users who spit us out if we set boundaries with them by refusing to be available 24/7.
A good solid no, delivered firmly and repeatedly, comes as a shock to them. When we decline their requests they may squawk and wine and declare us public enemy #1. However, it is important for us to stand our ground.
If it requires saying no to your boss you might want to do it carefully. See my article “How to Succeed in Saying No To Your Boss”
Take the above steps and you will have found a comfortable way of being selfish.
What is your story about setting limits with others?