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Are you over giving?

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I’ve always been a social butterfly.  A true extrovert, being around people is my fuel.  The highlights of my youth were slumber parties and sleepaway camp.  My favorite hobby is throwing dinner parties, and I can talk on the phone for hours.

I’m also the go-to girl to organize birthday outings for my friends, to plan the baby shower, to choose the restaurant for dinner, to be the shoulder to cry on after a breakup.

I love it… most of the time.

You see, the social butterfly/nurturer/giver has a shadow side: the over-responsible, over-committed, over-giver girl.  Have you met her?

You know her by feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, like no one is appreciating you, that if you don’t plan her birthday – no one else will, like you can’t stop at just 3 cookies – it’s the only thing that feels good!

When I walked into my therapist’s office last week I was in a state of complete overwhelm.  Though Paris was a great break from my life, the weeks before had been jam packed with parties, work stuff and social obligations, and I was looking at a calendar that only had one weekend free until my due date.

My therapist asked me to tell her what things I had on my calendar that were at a “5-Most Important” and what things were at “1-Least Important”.

I paused, panicked and looked at her stumped.  Everything felt like a 5.  There was my problem.  Every social, personal and work related event I had felt like it was the most important thing in the world because I was operating on two beliefs:

1. I need to show up to matter.
2. I am responsible for someone else being happy.

I realized in that moment that I had a choice, I could continue doing things because I felt like I “had to” / “should be able to handle it” or I could ask my Whole Higher Soul Self what I really needed.  When I asked her, that wise, all-knowing part of me, she told me loud and clear “we need space, you need to remember your pregnancy.”  Ouch, she was right.  I was missing my pregnancy.

I knew what I needed to do.  Over the course of 2 days I…

  • Stopped working with two clients
  • Canceled three lunch dates
  • Called a very close friend and told her I couldn’t come to her wedding
  • RSVP’d no to a bachelorette weekend
  • Said no to a business opportunity that left $100,000 on the table
  • Canceled a ski weekend

Just a week ago, all of these things felt like I had to do them.  Now I realize that they weren’t in service to what I really want my life to feel like right now.

Here’s what I discovered in the canceling process:

1. Picking up the phone to tell someone you can’t do something is really hard.
2. Most people are completely understanding.
3. Some people are not, but I realized that me having space in my life was worth pissing some people off.
4. I could never “get enough done” in order to have space, I just had to stop, today.
5. Creating the life you want takes guts, and it’s totally worth it.

And the biggest thing I’ve been facing is: If I’m not the social butterfly/nurturer/giver who am I?  At this point, I have no idea.  But I do know that not only am I birthing a baby, I’m birthing a new me, and now I have the space for that person to come in.

I can’t wait to meet her.

Now I want to ask you: what does your Whole Higher Soul Self need?  Are you suffering from over responsibility and overcommitting?  I want to challenge you to cancel at least one thing, but I encourage you to cancel and say no to more.

The less you have on your plate, the more joy, magic and happiness you can actually take in from your life.  Tweet it.

In the comments below I want to know if you have any tips on how to say no to people and obligations, and what things specifically are you committed to canceling so you can create space in your life?

Can’t wait to hear from you,

Sarah


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