Have you ever had the friend who often has this exciting thing happening and they really want you to join in on their excitement so they ask you to help or be a part of it and then when the time comes to follow through you’re super uncomfortable and asking why the heck you agreed to jump in and how do you bail?
Yes – that was meant to be a run-on sentence. And I hope you felt the excitement followed by the visceral dismay at the situation.
I used to do this often. I was the friend riding along on the wave. I’d get caught up in the enthusiasm. The idea of helping a friend and partaking in their joy was a bouy. A carrot dangling. A positive promise.
As the event day approached I’d find I wasn’t really thrilled about the expectations and assistance being asked. There were often other things I’d rather be doing and was sure I could put the time to better use.
The thing is, if I agree to do something I’m going to do my best to follow through. I’ll pull up my britches, put a smile on and dive in. And there have been times I’ve followed through to my own detriment. I’d rather demonstrate by my actions how people can count on me than let someone down. By letting them down I’ve let myself down and that feels even worse.
I’ve been a lot better at this. When an exuberant person comes up and wants me to share in their experience I’ll let them know how thrilled I am at their opportunity and ask if I can think about it and check my calendar. It honors their joy and gives me time to check in with what I’d truly like to do to support them.
I will say I stumble on occasion and there’s always room for improvement and self-introspection.
I recently found myself in one of these situations. I wanted to go and yet was a little uncertain about going. I had agreed to go and knew people would be thrilled I had come and yet… I’m also insecure and uncertain.
I spent too much time trying to figure out what I would wear. What does this outfit or that say about me? How will everyone else be dressed? You’re not supposed to arrive empty handed… What do I take that makes the perfect statement? Should I take my own food for allergies or will that be offensive? Maybe I’ll just eat before…
The desire to go was countered with my own fears and concerns. I was super uncomfortable trying to figure out how I could honor my desire to attend and support my own needs.
How did I find balance?
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and checked in.
I said I would come. I need to follow through. How can I achieve that and still honor myself?
I broke things down by steps. I picked a relaxed outfit that made me feel confident and attractive.
I ate a hearty snack before going and took a little something just in case.
I found a good “gift in hand” and checked in to address any other worries floating in my brain.
I was out the door and the event was great. I laughed, made people laugh, munched on delicious foods and enjoyed being with friends.
I could have backed out and stayed home. In the same breath I would have felt bad for saying I would and then not.
This is part of the “shit I own”. I know it stems from my life experiences. At times it can feel like a bludgeon and at others I know people can count on my word being true.
How do I balance them? Checking in. Acknowledging where the habit comes from and how it can be a gift. And then I figure out how to help myself while helping others;)