…I made a commitment.
…They’re counting on me.
…I always do it.
…Consistency is important.
…I told them I’d do it/be there/help out.
These are all super valid – all things I’ve said and continue to say to myself, and many folks I know do as well. Keeping your word is important. It’s how you build trust and it’s a key component of integrity.
It’s also one of the ways we drive ourselves into burnout. Not necessarily the keeping your word part, but all of the commitments you make to others; and if you’re anything like me, the rigidity you impose upon yourself.
What if you relaxed that rigidity a bit? What if on the days when you’ve been running around between work, family and everything else, you could honor yourself for a moment? I’m not suggesting that you bail out on everything or ghost your friends. I’m offering the potential of a middle ground. A place where when you’re feeling run down, exhausted and cranky, you offer yourself a little flexibility to gracefully decline something every once in a while. This, too, can be done with integrity.
Those of use who are so good at doing for others and always keeping our word tend to tell ourselves a story that goes something like this, “If I don’t show up, they’ll hate me…or never invite me again…or will think less of me…or will think I’m flaky, etc.” You get the gist.
What I know to be true is that story is one of the ways we stay stuck in that rigid, exhausted, cranky, burnt out space.
What I also know to be true is that you’ve established a pattern of trustworthiness and have proven your integrity; and the only person who isn’t cutting you a break…is you.
If you look at things through that lens, what do you notice? When I started to realize that, it offered me the opportunity to put myself on my list of commitments. It was one of the early things that helped me start to cut myself a break, be less rigid and feel a heck of a lot less burnt out. Give it a try – I’d love to hear what you notice.