Sometimes people pleasing tendencies come out in full-force, all at once. This is one of those times. I share a personal story of how I learnt to make strong boundaries and say no, so that you can too.
It started at work when my boss sprung on me she’d decided she wanted me to be available to work online in the evening while I’m at home. After I’ve already left work.
At first when she was talking about all this I was just taking notes, trying not to give in to any knee-jerk reactions. (Even though I could very strongly sense my husband Jeff’s reactions as if he was pinching me).
It wasn’t until all this faff about whether we’d start tonight or not, that I began to think this wasn’t fair. And of course, I felt guilty in thinking that.
But it wasn’t in our contract. And I really didn’t want to bring work home.
During final year of University I was working four jobs, going to the gym at least four times a week, cycling around 8 miles to and from university everyday, oh and trying to get the highest grades possible.
I was running myself into the ground.
I’m not sure why I took on so much, maybe I felt the final year urge to do everything I thought I should have been doing the whole 3 years of my degree.
But whatever the reason it wasn’t good for me.
On top of all the stuff I was doing, I was also trying to figure out those big questions you feel pressured to know at 21.
Like: what you’ll do after graduation; who you want to be; and what the thing with that guy really means.
I wanted to be able to do everything.
I felt like I needed to prove I could do that. That I could manage all of these things and still get good grades. I wanted to do it all and do it smoothly.
And I did manage to graduate with a good grade and oomph up my cv with a load of experience from my jobs. Butttttt … I also had a breakdown. A pretty big one.
Last week I felt like a beached whale. It started when out of curiosity I wanted to weigh myself.
I know … my first mistake.
It was Wednesday and when I got to the gym I noticed they had a scale. So I asked if I could use it. They obliged of course. Just as I was about to step on they frantically pointed to my feet to tell me I needed to remove my shoes and socks.
I thought it was weird, but then I thought welllllll … I guess I could do without the extra weight. 😉
But it turned out this contraption wasn’t just a scale. It was some crazy machine which apparently could measure body fat, determine the age of your body, and know what you ate for dinner last Tuesday, all through electrical impulses … or something (shrug).
It printed out this chart full of figures and statistics. Even if it was in English I’d still have been overwhelmed.
There was one table though I could understand. It had pictures of body sizes and underneath each thumbnail was a space where the machine could tick to say which category you fell into.
I quickly scanned the chart, left to right. I couldn’t see a tick. It was blank underneath the “average” boxes i.e. where I assumed I’d be. I was confused.
Then I saw it. The machine had ticked a box further right than I had anticipated.
Recently I’ve been feeling like I need to “work on myself” more. Because there are so many things I want to be better at and feel more accomplished in.
I have a mental list, (as well as a physical one … somewhere … ) of all the skills I want to develop.
The list is mainly made up of things I want to spend more time doing. Like drawing and painting, maybe even trying to sell some of the things I create.
It includes languages that I want to learn and improve on. As well as a plethora of online courses I want to enroll in, (which practically cover everything from photography to the war in Afghanistan).
I have this urge to work towards something. To feel like I’m bettering myself, like I’m pushing myself to actually create the life I want to live and be the person I want to be too.
I think I miss the deadline driven nature of University. You get a task and you have a certain amount of time to complete it. I miss that feeling, (I know, geek alert). But it really does make you feel accomplished when you hit that deadline and succeed.
But the scary thing is that my list is looonngggggggggg. So long in fact that I want to simultaneously work on every. single. thing. all. at. onceand also do absolutely nothing because it’s too daunting.
I’m sitting on our couch underneath a very cosy blanket, with my swollen foot elevated on the coffee table, a big bump on my forehead and a uterus that wants to kill me from the inside out (better than outside in I suppose). This happened a couple of weeks ago and I’ve finally got around to sharing it with you.
Here goes …
Our first TaoBao order had arrived.
Basically, TaoBao is an online shop where you can buy ANYTHING you can think of. Literally anything. My friend once bought a gigantic turkey from it … and the oven to cook it in.
But because we weren’t in when the delivery guy came by, he dropped it off at some obscure little corner shop we’d never heard of. After asking my landlord where our beloved treasure was stowed, she offered to just take me and show me.
Two minutes after she messaged to suggest that she show me, she messaged to say she was already downstairs, waiting for me.
My Chinese friends do that a lot. They just turn up really quickly and then you feel bad because you’re still in pyjamas and haven’t even brushed your teeth yet — you thought you were just discussing the idea, not that it was already in motion…
Anyway, I went into stress-panic mode. And in my hurry to meet her and let her know I was on my way, (I hate keeping people waiting), I frantically texted her while going down the stairs.