Do you feel like you are doing all the right things, yet you feel overwhelmed, burned out and exhausted? Strangely, the more you do the less happy you become, which is a direct contradiction to the message we are sold in society. If we meet the expectations set out for us we will be happy, healthy and blissful. In the process of this pursuit, we can lose ourselves.
The truth is, these feelings don’t come from not working hard enough but from being too selfless.
There are a lot of societal expectations placed on us with very little support. We receive messages every day (and then communicate these messages to those around us in subtle ways) to be thin, eat healthy, age gracefully, perform academically, be a patient parent, work hard but not too hard, find a work life balance. We are expected to show up as good mothers, fathers, partners, bosses, co workers, friends, neighbors with little support to do so. We're drowning in a hustle culture that glorifies pushing through even when we're falling apart
Society teaches that if we meet the expectations set out for us we will be happy, healthy and blissful. In the process of this pursuit, we can lose ourselves.
It's time we changed things for the generations to come. It's okay to say "no," to prioritize your own desires, and to go against the flow of society's expectations. Many of my clients struggle with letting other people feel upset. They believe their role is to make others happy. Its self neglect and it leads to exhaustion and resentment. It harms relationships.
After the resentment, then what often happens is people feel ashamed of how they feel. Let's think about this for a moment, what happens when we continuously shut down our own needs, always overgiving and under-receiving? It blows up, falls apart. Feelings are hurt, people are let down. Relationships end. But it doesn't need to be this way.
If you want to be part of the change for your kids and grandkids and a healthier society, teach them to say no often by modelling it. Show good boundary setting even when it's hard. For the record, it's almost never easy to set limits and almost always requires a trade off of something good. Help them to understand and acknowledge their own needs by doing this yourself. There is not a nobel prize for self neglect.
Prioritize what you want for your life. It's ok to not want to go along with what other people expect of you. It’s ok to advocate for your own needs. We are not trained to be compassionate towards ourselves, in fact this is taught to be selfish, narcissistic even. If you need help recognizing your own needs and setting limits without anxiety, reach out to us, we can help.
~Laura, Clinical Therapist