One of things to be aware of as a helpful person is how much you are helping, AND how much you are receiving. I notice that sometimes people want you to save them. Not intentionally, not all the time. But they want you to make it easier, make the hard work go away. For years I have noticed this, and that I have attracted people in my life to coach. It’s one of my gifts and I treasure it. People looking for help/support might not know it, but they sense your ability to help so they lean on you. This is makes sense in a professional setting. One person seeks guidance and the other provides it. The issue is when “helpers” don’t have an off button. They work in a helping field and because of their gifts and sensitivities, if they are not careful, they can find themselves helping ALL the time. It becomes an issue when you have a lot of people leaning on you all the time. It can make you feel squished. For example, your boss asks you to take a new project on, your kids need help with homework and baths, your volunteer responsibilities increase, your friends ask you for advice and your parents and society says ” you need to be responsible”.
As a helper, when I check in with myself about this, my need to RECEIVE has a lot to say. “I’m tired of being the responsible. I want a time out. To go to my room and paint for a week. I want to take the day off and go to the beach. I want people in my life that I can count on. Sure, there are people that love me and pitch in and I appreciate that truly. But sometimes it’s hard being an only child and a solo parent with three kids. I want my kids to go to their aunt’s for the week. I want people to step up and be proactive so I don’t have to organize everyone, ALL the time, it’s exhausting.”
When I hear myself speaking this way, I take a moment to listen. Years ago a helper friend asked me, “How do you respond when one of your children are sad and having a hard time?” I said, “I sit with them, comfort them, hold their hand, honor their wishes (as possible) and tell them that everything will be OK.” She said, “So why is it that you don’t treat yourself with that same loving kindness?” “Oh.”, I said.
Sometimes we can be our own worst critics. When mostly we should be our own best friends. I have practiced and practiced this over the years and now, when I hear myself needing something, I pause and listen (most of the time). I say to myself, “Oh honey, of course you are exhausted. You just completed an epic birthday for your son, you have worked long hours, your to-do list is long and you deserve a break. Let’s find a way to make that happen.” It might seem silly to coach yourself this way, but to me it is “walking the talk”. By honoring who I am, and just hearing myself, somehow it makes me feel more loved.
So, as a helper, parent, supervisor, human, make sure that you are listening to what YOU need and asking the people that love you to support that. You will become better at whatever it is that you do when you honor who you are and what you need.
I’m going to take a time out now. 🙂