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I’m someone who becomes the leader of every group I am a part of by default.
I’m someone who holds space for others as they lament about the overwhelm of their lives, and offers to take on their burden for them, even though I’m drowning in responsibilities of my own.
I’m the one who every person in my sphere calls when they need support.
When I’m part of a group undertaking, I end up taking on most of the work.
When there’s an issue in any group that I’m a part of, I’m the one who people turn to to solve it.
“Just let me do it,” is my go-to response when others aren’t acting efficiently or effectively enough for my liking.
I give of my time and myself constantly. And happily, too—but let me tell you: I. Am. Exhausted.
And lately, I’ve been hyperaware of a pattern I have. I make myself available to fix everything for everyone, and then I resent being so overused.
I create the circumstances in my life where I’m over-utilized, and then I blame those circumstances for my depletion.
As a transformational coach who constantly coaches others out of self-sabotaging such as this, this has raised some red flags.
So I’ve been reflecting deeply on this pattern, and I’ve realized that the part of me who constantly exclaims, “Just let me do it,” is my inner child whose world was so chaotic that she only felt safe when she was in control. She witnessed bad things happening around her and felt that she was the only one who could help.
This little girl had to become really smart and really powerful really quickly, and she felt that her survival depended upon being a highly effective communicator and a high-functioning person.
This little girl did not have time to waste. She was carefully managing so many people’s emotions and knew that a slipup would have disastrous consequences.
So this little girl learned to do everything herself.
But this little girl is also so sad and so fed up and frustrated. She feels that she missed out on being a kid because she had to grow up so quickly. She was always having to strategize and manage intense family politics, and she missed out on the carefree childhood that so many of her peers got to experience.
So it is the same little girl in me who says “Just let me do it,” “I’ll handle it,” “I’ll take care of it,” who also complains “But why do I always have to do it?” “Why is it always my job to fix things?” “Why do I always have to lead?” “Why do I always have to be the responsible one?”
This little girl in me has always had to bear more than her share of responsibility, so that is what feels comfortable and safe to her; she doesn’t know how to let it be any other way.
The very part of me who only feels safe when she’s in control is the same part of me who is completely and totally fed up with always having to be in control.
Do you witness a pattern like this in yourself?
I watch myself take the reins over and over again, in situation after situation, and then witness as the resentment sets in that once again, I’m the one feeling the weight of responsibility, while those around me seem to be leading more carefree lives.
This self-sabotaging pattern has nauseatingly been on repeat for the entirety of my life. After all, the past repeats itself until it completes itself, and to this day I have still not fully let this little girl off the hook for having to fix everything for every living creature.
So here’s what I’m choosing: I’m choosing to finally let her off the hook.
Rather than judging myself for this form of “self-sabotage,” I am choosing to be copiously compassionate and understanding with this little girl in me who so badly yearns to be carefree but is terrified that others won’t do it right, that people will get hurt, and there will be a bigger mess for her to clean up later. I am choosing to fully love and embrace this confused little girl who has such a huge heart.
She feels alone, like the weight of the world is on her shoulders and it’s up to her to right every wrong.
So now, I am saying to this little girl: the burdens of the world and of those around you are not yours to carry. You have done such a good job of making things right for everyone for so long.
You’re so tired, precious one. It is time for you to rest.
It’s okay if others mess it up. Let them. Let them learn.
It’s okay to allow others to be with their own pain. Their pain is not yours to take on.
Rest now, little one. You’ve done enough.
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