“Remember, if you’re going to disappoint people the right way, the idea is to tell the truth with respect and care, not manage their emotions. While you can’t control how someone feels or how they react, you can control how you feel and how you choose to make your point. Don’t measure your success by the response you receive. Measure it by how you feel once your anxiety disappears.”
Work over the past nine months has been extremely stressful for me. I’ve started therapy again to deal with it. Even though the logical, objective side of me knows I cannot do it all on my own and that no one is expecting me to do so, it is quite frustrating when, at the end of a very long day, or week or month, I feel overwhelmed with too much to do and too little to show for all of the long hours. I’ve read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and, while I enjoyed parts of it, that’s not me! I give a fuck! In fact, I give a bunch of them everyday! And, no matter how hard I’ve tried, I can’t just stop caring. However, I can gradually let go of things that I do not give as much of a fuck about. And giving a fuck about my job is essential to, well, continuing my life as it is today. I think my first real cry for help was going back and rereading this book.
A therapist recommended this book to me over a decade ago and there are a few key points I have found very helpful in the following years.
- Learn to say no. And practice it.
- Remove things instead of just piling on more responsibilities.
- Learn to let go and ask for help, even if the person doing it doesn’t do it in the exact “right way.”
- That always being the “good girl” is robbing me of my life.
- Coming up with my “absolute no” list
Things have gotten easier for me in the past couple of months and, newsflash, this is a result of things beyond my control. I’m still going through a period of grief with my employment. My job today is not the one I loved a year ago. I have not yet decided what I am going to do, but I have a plan, and the energy, to move forward even if it doesn’t always feel like progress. I’m taking back my time and my energy by trying to follow a few rules for myself, as well as allowing myself to lean on a select group of people for support.
I am extremely fortunate that I have a supportive network and I have choices, even if I do not see them at first glance. I acknowledge that for many many MANY people, there is no possible way to “opt out” of responsibilities, especially if you are struggling to survive from one moment to the next. So perhaps I should rephrase this from “say no and see how good it feels” to “for the less critical things to which you can say no, try it out a couple of times and see what happens.”
I recommend this book for anyone who feels burned out and overwhelmed. If I had to distill it down to one major theme, this would be:
- Saying yes out of obligation or fear of making others uncomfortable hurts you in the long run. Practice saying no. People will deal with it. You may feel uncomfortable but it will get easier the more you practice.
This book is not perfect, and that’s okay! I am giving it four stars because the author recommends Dr Oz and checking for health advice on webmd (!!!!). This book was published in 2009. I guess it kind of comes with the territory of being endorsed by Oprah. While these references gave me a full-body cringe, I chose to skip past them and try to get as much as I could from the relevant parts of the book.
I read this as part of Cannonball Passport – book I already own.