How I Finally Stopped Feeling Like I Had to Be Everything to Everyone

Relationships

How I Finally Stopped Feeling Like I Had to Be Everything to Everyone
Photo by Kate on Unsplash

I’ve always been a people pleaser. As an enneagram type two, I naturally strive toward being “everything to everyone.” While there are some upsides to this (like all the social plans!), the downside is I can fall into a spiral of doing everything to help everyone else, rather than putting my own needs first. And truthfully, I never realized this was an issue until I had a baby. 

After my daughter was born, I found myself spread thin. Not only was I running on little sleep, trying to breastfeed, etc., but I was also still trying to play my old role of the go-to planner, the best friend, the best daughter—it was exhausting! After one week of setting up plans nearly every night and running incredibly low on steam, I realized something had to give. This “everything to everyone” mentality was depleting me as a mom and leaving both my husband and daughter—two people who should’ve been first priority on the priority list—in its wake. So how did I change these character traits that were, to a core, who I was?

Changing who I was overnight wasn’t easy. In fact, I felt so much guilt for weeks for not being the do-it-all person anymore. But once I got through this initial struggle, putting myself first, for once, was worth the effort tenfold.

Changing who I was overnight wasn’t easy. In fact, I felt so much guilt for weeks for not being the do-it-all person anymore. But once I got through this initial struggle, putting myself first, for once, was worth the effort tenfold.

Here are a few ways I made the change:

Look at your relationships.

First things first, I needed to figure out who was worth investing time in, then focus on those relationships. As someone who likes to surround myself with a lot of people, I made a mental list of those individuals who filled up my cup every time we connected.

This doesn’t necessarily need to be the person you see the most or the one who lives closest. Rather, it’s the person you have meaningful conversations with, the one who lifts you up—no bad-talking when you’re not around!—and the one who makes an effort through all of life’s phases. Once I had this go-to list, these were the people I continued to make an effort with, and they were the ones who made me feel socially fulfilled.

Find peace in your decision.

With this change, I could already see the time returning to my schedule, which meant more moments to focus on my husband and child! All that being said, there certainly were days I felt bad not connecting with everyone or doing all the things.

To get through this hurdle, I made a conscious effort to feel more at peace with my life in other ways that felt meaningful to me, such as turning to prayer/meditation, journaling/writing, talking with a trusted companion, doing something active, and getting off social media. (Note: This last one was a BIG one! By limiting my time on social apps, I found a huge weight lifted off my shoulders when it came to the pressure to do it all!)

Explore new sources of happiness.

The last way I made my transformation was by focusing on the things that made me feel content. At the forefront of this was spending time with my daughter (there’s nothing like a sweet baby laugh to make you stop stressing!) and signing up for activities that made me genuinely happy (in my case, this was training for a race). The more I filled my time with the positive stuff and started living a life I loved, the more I stopped focusing on doing it solely for everyone else!

Sometimes, waking up and realizing you’re spread too thin is all you need to realize something has got to give.

I’d like to end by saying you don’t need a big life event (like having a baby) to begin to make this lifestyle change. Sometimes, waking up and realizing you’re spread too thin is all you need to realize something has got to give.

Whatever your incentive, I wish you peace and happiness on your journey to becoming everything to yourself, not everyone else. Trust me: Once you’re there, it’s the best feeling in the world.

BY Sarah Schuh - April 25, 2021

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