How many people do you know can wake up on New Year’s Day and say, “I hope this year is as good as the last one.” There might be a few people out there who can relate. But most people I know couldn’t wait to get on with the new year-a clean slate with hope for a better year. Some of my past resolutions included promises to quit smoking, quit eating, quit drinking, more exercise….blahblahblah.
My resolutions were often forgotten a few weeks into the new year. But last year I decided not to make any resolutions. And I have to say, it was the best year of my life.
It wasn’t great because I opt out on the whole resolution thing. It was because I started listening to myself. It wasn’t easy. My parents, my kids, my friends, my siblings….everyone’s voice echoed in my head, “Be this, do that.”
I don’t think they were doing it intentionally, but I found myself trying to be everything to everyone and it just wasn’t working. It was hard for me to say no and I often did things for people because I didn’t want to disappoint them. I ended up running myself ragged and the stress took a toll on me physically. This is something I have been working on for quite a while, but it was only last year when I was finally able to tell people, even those I love dearly, “No, I’m sorry, but it just won’t work for me.” (Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It wasn’t.)
I love helping people, but it’s a double-edge sword. I cared for others so well that I forget about me.
And then I started questioning my motives. Was I helping people because I want to or because I felt obligated? Was it a lack of self-esteem or over-commitment?
What I found out surprised me. It wasn’t all black and white. Sometimes I helped others because I wanted to. But there were a few times when I just didn’t want to let people down.
That’s when I realized I needed more balance in my life. I did some soul-searching and came up with the realization that it though it’s not my responsibility to make others happy, I really liked helping others when I could. But if I didn’t want to do something or if I just didn’t have the time, I could say no without feeling guilty.
I’m not perfect. I will have setbacks but at least I’m on the right track. I have a feeling a lot can come from this small action. As I have heard many times throughout my life, it all begins with one small step. You just have to know which direction to go.