I have been living in the land of discomfort this past week, staring in the mirror at a recovering people pleaser, feeling tested at every turn. When I was much younger, I said yes to practically everyone and everything – but eventually got much better at setting boundaries, at saying no, at doing what made me happy. I thought I’d left Little Miss Perfect in the dust.
Lately, I’ve been wrestling with her big-time, realizing all the ways I’ve tried to plan (okay, maybe control) situations so that you, my readers and clients, never feel let down. My stomach flip-flops at the thought of you thinking I’m careless or don’t have my act together. I bend over backwards, stay up till all hours, over-commit – do whatever I can to keep everyone happy. It’s taking its toll – and I hadn’t even noticed.
Sometimes, the universe steps in to make me squirm – in hopes I grow. (click to tweet that)
All those best-laid plans have bit the dust. For starters, we lost our nanny a couple of weeks ago (ohhhh, holy tailspin!). I’d been avoiding the miserable task of moving on from an arrangement that was no longer working…but some stuff went down, red flags went up and, suddenly, we had no nanny – nor a backup plan. I won’t settle for just anyone; these boys of mine deserve a rock star, which will take time and care to find. And in the meantime, we’re doing lots of tap dancing and gap-filling. The squirm-worthy consequence? I’ve had to cancel some Star Mapping sessions, back out on other commitments, and I’m sure I’ve missed emails and deadlines. Ugh.
Then, during my trip to Maine, my computer CRASHED. Just faded to black the day before a presentation – with the presentation still inside it – and never came back. Awesome. Beyond the presentation, I had deadlines looming, clients booked, and documents to edit. The Limelight Letters were stuck inside and didn’t go out to subscribers this week. Squirm. Squirm. Squirm.
I arrived home Monday night and planned to rush the laptop to The Geek Squad the next day. Control the situation. Make it better, fast. But an hour after I sent Ryder on the bus to school, the nurse called: he’d injured his knee in gym and needed a doctor, stat. God sure knows how to get my attention and force me to prioritize.
More cancellations. More deadlines unmet. More squirming.
Ryder’s okay, just limping around with a bandaged knee and on strict orders to avoid unnecessary activity. As soon as I heard those orders, I knew they were meant for me, too: avoid unnecessary activity. I took a deep breath and released my grip on the panic button. I thought about professional peers I adore, mamas I admire, teachers I trust – and how much I treasure their transparency, boundaries, and compassion for themselves and others – all things I’d been sacrificing in a desperate attempt to keep everyone happy. So, I’ve squirmed plenty and grown a bunch.
And that’s led to a big decision.
I’m postponing the start of my blogging ecourse by a week, so it will start April 15th instead of April 8th. May not sound earth-shattering to you, but it’s a big move for me – to change plans and risk letting people down. My boys are at home for spring break through next week. I still don’t have a working computer (I’m borrowing the hubby’s to write this post). I’m behind on, well, everything. I want everyone already signed up for class to be cool with the new timing – but I have to be alright with the notion some might not.
This series of reality checks – the destruction of my best-laid plans – has certainly made me squirm, but also helped me grow. I’ve committed to being gentler with myself and honoring the things I can’t control, knowing that I can’t do my best if I’m tied up in knots. I deeply believe we are each responsible for our own happiness – so my trying to control how happy others are with me doesn’t match up. I hope you’ll understand. I hope you’ll still like me and my work. But I’ll be okay if you don’t.
Take that, Little Miss Perfect.