Most of us have an inner super-hero, lurking in the shadows just waiting to save the day.
It’s a job we do well–one that began with us trying to fit into our family system as kids.
We learned that in order to be of value to those around us, we needed to provide a service or give assistance of some kind.
Solving the problems of other people often kept the peace. If we could help make it better somehow, life at home went more smoothly.
For some of us, it was about behaving a certain way in order to stay safe–to avoid getting yelled at, or picked-on, or hurt.
We learned to say yes when we really meant no.
We left our own wants and needs behind and assumed the roles of people pleaser, rescuer, and caretaker.
The problem is, now that we’re adults, this pattern of taking care of other people in order to have value has persisted. We don’t know how to stop doing it.
It’s kind of a your problem is my problem situation.
We mind the business of others instead of minding our own.
It’s like we just can’t relax when there’s a problem going on for someone else.
We can’t face the dilemma of upsetting someone by saying no. So the answer is usually yes.
We can’t help it. We are simply compelled.
For so long, we’ve anticipated the needs of others and ignored our own. It has become a way of life.
The thing is, it’s a vicious circle.
When you’re trying to be helpful in order to be valuable, the help you’re giving isn’t usually appreciated or received.
Here’s the dilemma.
First, we try to fix the problem for the other person. Or, we people please: YES! I would LOVE to do that for you! When we really mean: Heck no, I don’t want to do that.
Next, one of us gets pissed. Whenever we ignore our authentic needs, there are problems.
Later, we feel sorry for ourselves. We say: In all that I do, and as hard as I try, I’m never appreciated.
This is a pattern that’s got to stop. You’re stuck in a cycle of care-taking, anger, and feeling sorry for yourself.
The truth is: Their problem is NOT your problem.
Yes, there was a time when you had to anticipate the problems of others. You had to stay two steps ahead in order to fit in. But that was then, this is now.
It’s time to recognize the pattern and learn to let go.
Let the people in your life do their own work. Let them learn how to ask you for help instead of you constantly offering it unbidden.
Let them learn how to live life without you hovering in helicopter mode. Yes, the shit may hit the fan once in a while, but you’ll be okay.
Let’s find out what will really happen if you say no.
Let’s practice this together: No to you means yes to me.
While you are minding the business of other people, there is nobody minding YOU.
You are here to live your very own life, fully out in the open, rocking it authentically as only you can do.
Practice listening to your own gut–the inner GPS that never lies. Find out what your own wants and needs are and start attending to them.
Dare to say NO once in a while, find out what will happen if you do.
Take pride in being responsible for yourself and your own journey. It’s the real way to help others 🙂
written originally 8/2012 all typos preserved 🙂