I’ve always known that I’m a bit of a “people pleaser”. I like those around me to be happy and to have what they want. Now this is all well and good, but when it comes at the cost of compromising my own needs or values, then it’s not such a good thing. When I’m saying “yes” to something that I would rather be saying “no” to, I’ve realised it can leave me feeling hard done by, when In fact I was always able to simply say “no” and have my needs better protected.
I’ve had a true deep-down realisation lately that I am not responsible for any other adult’s happiness other than my own. When I put my values and needs first, I give permission to those around me to do the same: I also bring my absolute best to every relationship that I am in, including the most important which are my relationships with God and my children. When I am more whole and fulfilled, emotionally and mentally healthy, I have more to give.
Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the next time my kid asks me to wipe their bum that it’s cool for me to reply “not today darling, mummy doesn’t feel like it” ha! If only! Or that if someone is in need, or someone asks me do something out of my comfort zone that I should always say “no”. Sometimes it is good to challenge and stretch ourselves to help us develop and grow as God has intended us to. We also need to challenge ourselves say “yes” to those in need simply because Jesus has called us to do so and it’s the humanitarian thing to do.
What I’m talking about are those times where I’ve said “yes” at the compromise of something more important. Now these important things will of course be different for everyone. Mine are that I don’t want to compromise my relationship with God or my children. I also place large value on my mental health and emotional wellbeing. I know that to keep healthy I need a certain amount of quality time on my own. So I can’t compromise too much of my kiddie-free time, I need to make sure I’ve left enough space in there for myself to breathe. This is where I can most often come unstuck! If someone asks me to do something, the people pleaser in me wants to say “yes” to everything and everyone, which of course is just not productive anyway!
Developing healthy boundaries and being aware of what mine are have been really instrumental in helping me work toward more healthy ways of living. Making sure my “yes” isn’t a “no” to something more important. I read that “healthy boundaries define expectations and show respect for others” which really resonated with me. It is imperative that I love, respect and value myself first. That I don’t compromise my values for others. Boundaries allow me to take responsibility for my own life and they help me to protect myself. Out of this comes the best most whole and healthy version of myself. I can give to my relationships from a place of wellness and am motivated to do things for the best reasons and not just because I feel I have to do something. I don’t always!
Being true to myself is so freeing, it models healthy behaviour to my children, something which I know motivates us as mums! So be free Mama, be free to to live as you were “fearfully and wonderfully made” (psalm 139:14) . All of us are individuals and the world is a more colourful place for it.