What a month! If you have been following my journey throughout the creation of my book, Happy Woman Happy World, you know how challenging and exciting it has been publishing my book. Well, I am now proud to report that my book was officially published this past week, and it was my birthday! In addition to that, I launched two new businesses, which makes me equally ecstatic.
As if that were not enough, my spirited daughter moved back home after graduating from college in only three years. While we love each other dearly, recently we have had our share of passionate disagreements as she is growing into her adult responsibilities.
Like many women who have a hard time balancing life, I am finding myself wondering how to keep myself happy by doing what I want, and give enough attention to those I love. To be honest, right now I want to run away and not deal with the enormous pressures of my personal and professional life. However, that is not an option at this moment because when I make commitments, I keep them. So, I need to figure out a way to get through this rough patch.
As wives, mothers, and caregivers, we often fall into the trap of thinking that we are here to nurture, advise, and repair. We end up giving much of ourselves to those we love. We warn them of danger lurking in the unknown and aim to prevent silly mistakes from happening, or permanent body alterations that we know can haunt a professional career. Many will and more often will not take our advice. Strangely, our good advice leaves us feeling depleted and exhausted, and they end up feeling misunderstood and unsupported.
Perhaps we do this because we once believed what we heard from our own mothers. Our mothers loved us enough to give us constructive criticism. Yes, it may have hurt, but not as much as having to learn from the lesson itself, where the consequences are much more severe.
Is that really true?
I think not. I believe the opposite is true. Our friends, kids, and partners do not want us to critique them. They want us to support and love them for who they are. If they do not hear those words from us, who will tell them?
When you do choose to offer advice or voice your opinion, here are a few great tips to consider before you do so.
This brings us back to the title of this post. We need to set boundaries for ourselves so we can find happiness in our day-to-day lives and achieve a good balance between giving and receiving support. (You can read more of my advice about boundaries here.) First, we avoid the danger of giving too much and feeling depleted by putting our needs first. We think about “Me.” How much am I willing to give? What is the best way I can help? Am I the right person for this? Second, we set personal boundaries and measure what we can and want to contribute. Finally, we remind ourselves that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes and learn from them. We are not here to fix the world.
The best teacher in life is a mistake made because it gives us opportunity for growth. Think about it. Everyone is entitled to his or her own experience, no matter if it is a positive or painful one.
Making ourselves happy, therefore, means knowing how much effort we can and want to put in to a situation. When our giving becomes too much, or we become resentful, we should rethink our strategy. After all, life is all about enjoying the journey, isn’t it? Let’s start today.
I’d love to know if this advice has helped you, and to hear from you with your tips on how you avoid giving too much.