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Trying to Prove Myself – Where it Gets Me and What I Can Do About It

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The big discovery I’ve made during my time off this summer is in regard to the amount of time and energy I spend trying to prove myself to those around me. While in the throes of life/motherhood-overwhelm, time and time again I lament versions of, “It’s too much, I can’t keep up.” It truly falls on deaf ears. 

It was brought to my attention that a large factor in emotional exhaustion is when someone’s in a position where they constantly feel like they have to prove themselves to others. That drain didn’t even occur to me. But it’s completely true. If I don’t feel seen or heard in my attempts to explain how depleted I am, that is incredibly draining.

Having learned this, in the later part of the summer I stopped investing all of that energy into proving myself. Instead, I invested it into saying “no” and getting more help. For example, I passed on long-term commitments, I started asking the neighbor to grab my kid more often when I was juggling too much in one afternoon. Seems easy enough, right? Well, wouldn’t you know it…That people-pleasing/feeling-bad-asking-for-favors issue popped right the heck back up on me. It kindly reminded me exactly why I’m always in this too-much-all-the-time position.

Disappointing people is such a trigger for me. So much so, I’m willing to sacrifice my own sanity and health rather than face it. But now I’m facing it, people. I’m declining things left and right and it feels awful. Change almost always feels uncomfortable to me in the beginning. Knowing that, I’m going to feel the discomfort and do it anyway. It’s the only way to stick to my mission for this fall: Do less. Get more help.

Get ready to be disappointed, World!

And (if you haven’t already)…

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  1. Thank you for this Mags. Until recently , I always felt that I needed to “ do it all” . I almost took some sort of weird pride in it , but it’s not sustainable, it’s exhausting, and something always slips through the cracks ., and tasks , favors , commitments , no matter how small, are executed begrudgingly, and with resentment. The stress of this pursuit weighs heavy on our shoulders, feeling that there is this expectation from others and in reality, it comes from within. When I finally started asking others for help and saying no to adding more to my plate , the pressure came off, It is life changing .

    • Thanks so much for your share Paula.
      You should check out that “Essentialism” book I wrote about in last week’s post.
      I went and listened to Greg McKeown’s other book “Enough”, and I can see a complete shift in how I approach everything in our family.
      If you listen to it, we can chat about it the next time we’re on the sidelines together 😉

  2. First of all – welcome back – so good to see this little reminder in my inbox again! Second of all – SO TRUE!!! I will try to keep this in mind as I go through my day to day – unfortunately I’ve got 52 years of habit to break – ugh! Thanks Mags!

    • Thank you—so happy to be back.
      I’ve been doing a good job with this…I’m looking at all of the ways we habitually create more work and more stress in our family and I’m just rewriting the script page by page—feels good!
      Thanks so much for checking in~

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