Question: Though I have a loving husband and child, most of the people and life situations that surround me seem to drain me of energy and joy — always something to deal with or fix. Why could this be? Is this “just life,” and I am expecting too much?
Answer: No, you are definitely not asking too much, in fact, you are probably “giving” too much. You are not expecting too much you are expecting too little, probably from others.
Often, we take over and give until we have nothing more to offer. The good thing is that your body is giving you warning signs. The lack of joy and the exhaustion is a signal that needs to be listened to. I would say this is going to take a little courage.
I see two areas where you can practice
1. Setting boundaries
2. Asking for what you want
(By the way, asking and setting boundaries are two of the LABOR principles.)
Asking for what you want, means risking rejection when others don’t want to help out or do their fair share.
What will be required of you to do this is to face feelings of guilt, fear of rejection etc. Others may not understand the new you and if they are used to you being so available to their needs and wishes they may feel some resentment. You have to become more committed to yourself than to their approval.
My challenge to you is to practice for a week just asking for little things. Be OK if you do not get your request met. Just ask. All you have to do is be willing.
Have an authentic conversation with your family and tell them you love them but you feel exhausted and you want to get your joy back. Tell them you realize you have not been letting others contribute and you are turning over a new leaf. Ask for their support. Let them know it is difficult for you to say “no” and difficult to ask. This will set the foundation for you to move forward with less resistance from them.
Marlene Chism is a consultant, national speaker and author of Stop Workplace Drama (Wiley 2011). Marlene’s passion is developing wise leaders and helping people to discover, develop and deliver their gifts to the world.
Marlene’s message is spreading across the country at association meetings, corporate retreats, universities and other venues. If interested in exploring speaking or training opportunities please call 1.888.434.9085