I take the role of daughter, mother, girlfriend, office manager, student, family member, friend, therapist and countless other roles in life. Even when preparing for vacation I find myself not only packing and preparing for my personal needs, but the needs of others. Once we arrive I find myself grocery shopping and prepping meals and cleaning up. I like cooking occasionally on vacation and I like a clean and organized space because I can relax better. However, I do feel myself getting frustrated when no one is offering to help. What would happen if I just stopped? What if I didn’t get up on my vacation and cook breakfast for everyone and wash the dishes after? What if I didn’t pack all the snacks and the cooler for the boat? What if I did like everyone else and just looked out for #1?
The thing is, I have felt this way in a few areas of life. Sometimes we take on certain responsibilities and just do it out of habit, but after a bit of time maybe it becomes less appreciated as a special act of love and just expected as a duty or obligation. Basically, all we do starts to be taken for granted by those we do for. A little extra helping hand without asking is always appreciated. It is not my job, this is a family and everyone should participate in the process. If I cook and there are dishes in the sink after you eat, why isn’t it automatic that you offer to clean the kitchen? So I absolve myself of guilt. I will not feel guilty anymore if I don’t want to put out the extra effort. At one point the love and appreciation and reward of helping and making everyone happy was enjoyable but now I am just tired. I am taking a step back to ask myself what is a priority for me and all the extra little duties are not anymore. Love and effort should be give and take and true acts of love and kindness have not expectations of anything in return. So if you really do not want to do for pure love and kindness then don’t bother or you will end up resentful and hurt. Stop having expectations of others because expectations will leave you disappointed. Just live your life from the heart, with responsibility and understanding that life really isn’t fair.
I don’t mean to sound like a Debbie Downer or a Negative Nancy, I am just being realistic, life really isn’t fair. You may always be the one who loves more, gives more and has to work harder to get where you want to be. but that is not a reason to give up. Just reassess where you are putting your efforts and ask yourself if these people, places, things, or ideas are worth all the effort. Do you need to have a talk with loved ones about the balance of effort in some areas of life? Do not feel guilty if you slow down or completely put a stop to the effort in some areas and just relax and let life play out. Maybe people will step up without you saying a word and maybe some people who truly take you for granted will fade out of your life. It is okay to relax and not feel guilty for choosing not to constantly do for others. It is not selfish, in fact, self-love is necessary in order to continue to love others to the fullest. As always, balance is key. As I grow older and my daughter has become more independent after turning 18 and graduating high school I realize some of my priorities are changing. I am starting to shift my focus onto my schooling and career as my role as a mother slows down. As we transition in life sometimes it is hard to let ourselves relax a little without feeling guilty but as we mature and find success in certain areas we should naturally be able to slow down and relax a little, we have earned it….at least that is what I keep telling myself, but sometimes it is easier said than done.
With love, health, happiness and relaxing without guilt,