Stop Playing Hero and Save Yourself
I am the girl who always comes through. Call on me, and I will be there. I fix issues, solve problems, answer questions, calm concerns, fill in the blanks, pull it all together and deliver results, gift-wrapped with a ribbon on top. Believe me, I don’t say that to brag. Being the girl—or guy—who always comes through is not a good thing.
It means you try to be Superman. You say yes when you should say no. You push your body to the very boundaries of its limits. Your health—physical and mental—often teeter on the very edge of wellness. You are often tired, frustrated and at your wit's end. But you are good at smiling. You rarely ask for help. An S shines on your chest, a cape flaps around your shoulders, and your S-curl is flawless. You are super, and you are your own kryptonite. Because you always come through, but never for yourself.
I know this because I am the girl who always comes through. But I am also the girl who spent last night bouncing between despair, panic, and apathy. If I wasn’t staring blankly at my laptop or cell phone, I was crying. I could not sleep because I needed to work, but I could not work because my anxiety and depression were staging World War III on the battleground of my mind. It wasn’t until 5am that I pulled myself together enough to finish the work I needed to do. I went to sleep as the sun came over the horizon. I woke up with a pounding headache and still took two client calls and here I am writing this blog because I suppose someone out there needs to read this. This is my normal.
That is what people who always come through do and there is absolutely nothing super about that. People pleasing—because at the crux of it, that’s what this really is—is toxic. It is the poisonous belief that if you are not everything people ask you to be, you are not enough. By that token, you will never be. There will always be another problem to solve, another issue to fix, another question to answer, another job to be done. And when you’ve spread yourself so thin that you can no longer even try to be everything to everyone, there will be someone else to fill in the space you leave empty.
So come through for you. Not out of spite for anyone who asks things of you. No one has put you in this corner but yourself and getting out is a simple as saying no. So say no. Come through for you, because you will drain yourself if you don’t. You will empty out your heart and your soul and your health into everything and everyone else and have nothing left to give yourself. Come through for you so you can cry when you need to; so you can refill and refuel; so you can acknowledge your humanity.
Take off the cape and the shiny suit. No one is forcing you to wear it but yourself. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to have days when all you do is what feels good for you. It is okay—in fact, it is important—to be less than super. You are human and you deserve to feel tired and weak. Take off the mask. Let people know you have limits and let them know when you’ve reached them. Stand up for yourself. Fix you, solve you, answer you, calm you, and come through for yourself. You don’t need to save the world. You just need to save you.