Your own WORST enemy
...when "brow"time is threatened...
Long time no talk to "brow"nistas! I sincerely pray all is well. Alot has happened and I wish I could share it all but I urgently desire to get to today's topic.
What happens when "brow"time is threatened?
We've talked in the past about the importance of taking time for yourself. We've talked about how critical it is to pour back when you have emptied out in order to meet the never ending demands of your life and family. But I have discovered something over the past month.
I am my own worst enemy when it comes to taking advantage of my opportunities for "brow"time.
Now, I want to tread lightly, and prayerfully, I can hit my points and the heart of my message effectively and quickly. Sometimes, the best way to say a thing is to simply say it. (I am, however, a great story teller and can appreciate a great build up with an awesome climax...ahh, well, can't win them all.)
Women, we have a problem.
We have a "superwoman" complex.
Now, I understand we like to be there and do it all (and I honestly write to those who are REALLY extending themselves beyond measure. This blog is not for those who claim to be overwhelmed without the evidence of labor. I digress.)
We have a desire to "save" and "fix" everything. We complain about being needed but often times we take on matters well outside of our effective abilities. We "cripple" our families because we always step in to take over, complete, and insert our way of completing tasks. Now, we mean well and truly believe we are being efficient; however, I have had some recent life changing epiphanies that may help you to reflect and make some different decisions.
Are you ready?
I have always wanted to write a book about how we, as women, set people up to fail around us. We, not understanding how to really help and be "helpmeets" become some of the worst enablers! We hinder our partners, coddle our children, and become victim to bearing some of the most unrealistic expectations on our jobs, in church and in our communities. In some twisted misunderstanding of what it really looks like to help, be needed and important, we eagerly (and without thought or strategy) rake off onto our plates overwhelming loads of responsibilities and expectations. The end result? BURN OUT.
And that's not the worst part.
The worst part is we have no one to blame but ourselves.
"Brow"ch! (ok...ouch for those who missed the joke...sheesh!)
I have discovered we don't let the people around us help and do their part. Now, for each of us, the reasons may be different. For some, it may be a need to associate your worth with what you do. For others, it may be control and a lack of trust because people consistently drop the ball. Whatever the reason, we as women step in with a "oh, don't worry, I am glad to help, give everything to me, I am every woman, somebody pass me a cape, spatula, and tube of lipstick as I get everything done because Hilary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey have NOTHING on me" whole dramatic bit. Next thing you know, our entire life comes crashing down around us as we realize not only can we can NOT do it all, we should have NEVER tried to take it all on in the first place.
Unfortunately, as we attempt to de-program ourselves, and consequently our families and those around us who have become accustomed to our ways benefitting from our dysfunction, we discover it is not only challenging to let go but TERRIFYING!
Oh, what will happen if we actually allow the spouse, or others, to step in and do somethings and well...figure it out? OH, THE HORROR!
What happens when we let the kids help because, I have learned, the kids are actually WILLING to help but because they don't do it OUR way, we don't allow them to clean the room, or fold the laundry, and fix the cereal (yes, you will have milk everywhere and still find bits of Cheerios and Fruit Loops under the counters months from now...)
The truth is...we weren't honest.
Yes, we stepped in to help, but we believed, at some point, everyone around us would eventually rescue us because, well, that's why we took everything on in the first place. We thought if we helped and solved every problem that would give people around us more time to, well, think about and take care of us! (But we won't let them.)
HELLO, I solved everything so why are you not paying me any attention? I fixed everything, why are you spending your days away from home instead of being here to sing my praises? Now, I have created a monster I can no longer tame because to take time for myself means I have to stop being everything and then what does that do to my value as everything falls apart because no one around me either knows how to do it or do it as well as me? This is what we believe.
We make a devastating mistake to keep going at the cost of stopping to calm down and take the necessary "brow"time so we can gather sanity, strategy and wisdom. The sad news, "brow"nistas, is taking everything on doesn't mean you are being an effective wife, mom, or partner. You're hurting. Not helping. And you're killing yourself in the process. It's not a noble death either. It's quite unnecessary.
We have to learn how to help, love and be there for ourselves and our families.
In your "brow"time, you must take the time to...
walk away from some things.
reassign some responsibilities.
You have to say "no"...not because you can't but because you shouldn't or it's not the wise choice.
"teach" some people around you to do for themselves.
(Now, this isn't a punishment. Yes, you may be faced with a challenge because some people like that you burn yourself out on their behalf. I have learned mostly, not in all cases, that this is due to people not having the confidence to know what they can really achieve without you being there to carry their load.
Encourage them. There are times when I don't solve my kids' problems but I tell them "I will sit right here with you until you figure it out. Imagine how great you are going to feel once you accomplish this task. You are going to be awesome and I KNOW you can do it. Don't worry, I am right here. I won't do it for you but I won't leave you either.")
See, it's not so much that my life won't allow me "brow"time. I have discovered, most of the time, it is me.
I'm too busy to pray. I'm too busy to read my daily scriptures. I'm too busy to make myself look like something. I'm too busy...
Well, I have decided to not make the same mistakes of my past where my life has to come to a screaching halt before I make some critical changes.
I am learning how to help verses enabling.
I am learning how to be needed instead of taking on every rescue mission.
Most importantly, I am learning how to, each and every day, take the time I need because a healthy me is the best gift I can give to those around me.
So, go ahead...grant yourself permission to have some "brow"time. It's not others blocking you...sometimes, it's you.
Let it go...