Do you ever feel like you are pushing people to get things done? I mean it is almost as if you are a huge GIANT among little people and they are all waiting on you to make a move, waiting on you to give direction, and if you are not there…well, nothing gets done! You ask yourself, what is wrong with this picture? What am I doing wrong? Possibly, you judge them as being lazy, having a poor work ethic, or just plain s….l….o…w! If you experience these emotions in everything that you do (your job, your family, your friendships, your marriage, etc), then the problem might be with you!
For the majority of my life, I was that person! I was that individual who believed the issue was with everyone else. In my head, I blamed everyone around me for being less able than I. No, really, I did! It was not until I began to notice a pattern, (regardless of my environment: professional or personal, with family or friends), I heard statements such as: you are such an over achiever, you are doing too much, you are doing the most, you need to slow down! As embarrassing as it may be, I thought those were compliments and, in some cases, maybe they were. Regardless, I wore them as a badge of honor! Are you kidding me?! They, I believed, identify me as an EXCEPTIONAL person! I mean, I truly saw my name in lights! I am being very honest, here!
I WAS OUT OF BALANCE
However, after much headache, frustration, and much rejection, I realized that whether or not those statements were meant as a compliment, I needed help! I was out of balance! My scorecard was not so balanced! Moreover, there was obviously something much deeper that required my attention. Danger was lurking all around and this girl could not see it! I had to do some gardening; I had to go digging to discover what my problem was.
Well, I found more than I desired, but for this blog, my root cause, my culprit, the very foundation of my misery was deeply rooted in a need for acceptance! I foolishly believed that if I worked harder, if I was more perfect, and was what they wanted THEN ‘they‘ will accept me, they will love me, and they will treat me right! My foolish sub-conscious would say, “Just be whatever they need you to be and they will see that you are a GREAT person, Marlo”! You know who they are; it is them, those people, them over there! THEY are those individuals who place conditions on their love and support of you.
I GAVE THEM PERMISSION?
As if that was overwhelming enough, I began to notice the pattern of attractions in my life. I was attracted to jobs, people, and situations that could use my help! Dr. Marlo to the rescue! I call this the god-complex. I, sub-consciously, believed that there was something so magnificent about me that I could get people to do and become what they needed if I just accepted them for who they were. Do you see? I was giving people what I needed! Giv
ing out of need often results in doing the right thing with the wrong person! Of course, I did not realize that I had this complex or this issue because I was PERFECT! I did everything right! As bad as it sounds, my actions were deeply woven in a sincere desire to help people and to make a difference! There was just one thing….I needed to help myself first! As the airline stewardess instructs her passengers, “….secure your OWN mask before helping others with their mask...” Hmm, it is simple when you don’t have that need! My change was imminent!
I could see it! I could taste it! I could grasp it! However, making the necessary changes was no easy feat and neither did they come without cost! My behavior had established precedents with all who knew me well. I mean, there was court case documentation of the many verdicts declaring me as one who did not value herself so you should not either. My actions told people that they could place their weights, their ineptness, their guilt, their baggage, and their ‘whatevers’ on me and that I would accept their luggage as does an airport conveyor belt for its traveling guests! I proudly gave great service with a smile while I was dying internally! I was emotionally imploding while physically exploding! My conveyor belt was in need of an upgrade! Better yet, my conveyor belt needed to be shut down!
NO NEED FOR MARTYRS
While shooting for the grand prize of ACCEPTANCE, I was killing myself and digging an early grave! How could I expect people to accept me when I did not accept myself? Yeah, it all sounds so simple now! And for you, it may have always been simple, but it was not so simple for me! Oh, and making the change; that was even less simple. I mean, I could not just walk in the house and say to my spouse______________ (fill in the blank) or go on my job and say, listen here, I refuse to_____________(fill in the blank) any longer! I had to rebuild while operating! I had to learn what was reasonable and fair; because those two words were foreign in my world. I had to be BOLD enough to communicate when I felt unreasonable expectations were being placed on me; I had to do this in spite of the fear. I was not afraid of the consequences for being bold so much as I was afraid of being perceived as irresponsible. Yeah, I was pretty messed up! The good news is that I began the journey of change!
My change began with accepting myself just as God accepts me! I ACCEPTED that He loves me regardless of my imperfections. I treated myself as He treats me: I began to be patient with me, supportive of me, and encouraging myself; all of the things that I did for others! I mean, given that He loves me AS I AM, I have no reason not to accept myself in the same manner! He only created heaven and earth; which is pretty big in my book! I began to embrace my imperfections and not as a penalty worthy of death, but as an opportunity for growth. Acceptance does not mean that you condone another’s behavior, or that you accept their beliefs as yours. Rather, it means that you are not requiring a person to EARN your acceptance of them for who they are. I realized that it is not about being perfect, but being perfected. The difference is enormous. Perfection is about never making a mistake; being perfected is about growing from your mistakes. If you have ever struggled with perfectionism, then you understand!
HELP IS ON THE WAY!
If you are like I WAS ( I am happy to say), you have taught people that treating you less than great is acceptable; it does not matter what your root or culprit is. Experience is the best teacher, but it does not have to be your experience. If you can learn from my pitfalls, please do; expedite your journey to a life of bliss! In LoLo fashion, I would like to provide you with six strategies that helped me:
- I encourage you to do a self-check, (evaluate why you do what you do, ask yourself those hard questions, and have the courage to deal with the answers);
- Dependent on the outcome of your self-evaluation, adjust your behavior accordingly;
- Seek help for areas that you don’t understand;
- Accept your imperfections and use them as opportunities for growth;
- Live your life to the fullest; and lastly,
- Realize that others may not quickly adapt to your healthier behavior; they have a choice!
Remember, we teach people how to treat us by what we tolerate! It is never easy to do the right thing until you have settled on doing the right thing! Be courageous and teach the the thems, the theys, and the those people how to treat you by loving and accepting you first! You will not be disappointed!