I am usually nervous about first impressions: job interviews, meeting new people, first day at a new studio, going to networking events. And sometimes that nervousness, that anxiety, doesn't leave-- instead it transforms into needing to prove myself all the time. The first impression truly does turn into a lasting impression.
When this happens, I lose myself to an idea of me. I begin to be that trusty, dependable ol' Kathleen who will bend over backwards for anyone. That version of myself isn't bad (being dependable and responsible to commitments is great!), but it's not fantastic when I'm that person for everyone, when I turn into a "yes (wo)man" or feed into my chronic people pleaser. When I am that version all the time, I don't let myself relax, I take on extra work and jobs which makes me resentful, I am an unfocused, frazzled person being pulled in 15 different directions at all times worrying about failing other people all the time. Over all, I become exhausted, limited, and resentful. I am someone else's version of me, living by someone else's rule book and expectations, fulfilling someone else's desires of what I need to do and be to be "productive".
Any of this sound like you?
-No? Awesome! No need to keep reading.
-Yes? Keep going.
What to do: Friends, boundaries are one of the greatest gifts of life. Did you know that you can say "no."? That "no" is a complete sentence. And if someone gets offended that you're saying no to them, then they are probably a person who doesn't have boundaries as well. They're not wrong for wanting what they want, and neither are you! "Just say no" (the Nanciest of Nancy Reagan phrases) can be applied here. Do you want to do this extra project/meeting/2nd shift/"cool" once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? No? Then don't do it!
How to: Surround yourself with people who love, appreciate, and understand you. Who aren't draining or using you. I also have several accountabil-a-buddies: Friends who I text or call whenever I feel guilty for saying no. Friends who struggle with the same issues (hard on themselves, easy on others), who will bolster me up and validate my need for space.
Most importantly, I take space and time for myself. I meditate daily, allowing myself to heal and create space. Quieting the mind and allowing your intuition (connection to that clear inner-voice) to thrive is so freaking important. You know what you and your body need, you know how to focus on your true passions and dreams. All the rest is just noise and chatter. And if meditation isn't your jam, there are a million other ways to get your space and thrive. Find yours!
What you get to have: Look at all the energy you have now!!! You said "no." and now you get more space and time for yourself! What are you going to do with that time and energy? Nothing? Cool. Piano lessons? Great. Art projects? Sweet. Self-care? Awesome. Walking by the beach? Perfect. Grabbing coffee with a friend? Wonderful. Starting that project that's been on the back burner for 5 years? Yay!
You get to express yourself in the truest version of you! You get to leave the print you want on this earth, and thrive in the way you want to. And if you struggle, that's ok! If you slip and say "yes" when you wanted to say "no", that's ok too! You'll learn, you'll get better, and you will thrive.
You deserve to be happy. You are worthwhile. Your time is sacred. No one, I repeat, no one is more worthy of your time and energy than you.