Are you living your life to please others? If your day is centered around taking care of adults who don’t appreciate or respect your time and effort, then you’re putting your self-respect on the line. You may notice yourself overeating, overspending, or acting out any other self-sabotaging behaviors as a way of trying to create feelings of balance and harmony because you feel so frustrated like your time is not your own.
Do you often end up saying “yes” when you really want to say “no” to people? Does it make you feel so uncomfortable that you want something to eat just to take the edge off? You’re not alone. Food is associated with dopamine release and those happy chemicals cascading through our bodies helps us to instantly calm down and relax.
Women often come to me seeking my services because they have issues around food, particulary binging. Through my coaching, I help them understand that their compulsive eating is not the problem, but merely just a symptom of the real issue, stress.
There are many stresses that we can’t control, but there are others that are completely avoidable. Setting boundaries with other people and learning to feel entitled to say, “No” to unnecessary demands on your time is not easy. But it is so essential to being able to reduce your anxiety so that you can relax more and feel good about yourself.
We have become so accustomed to popping pills and shoving things in our mouths and bodies to take the edge off. You’re searching for the Advil at the first sign of a headache or discomfort. You don’t think twice about having that extra cup of coffee to stay awake or falling asleep on the sofa after dinner or waking up and starting your day at lunchtime. These are all subtle signs that your body is not functioning at it’s best. If you continue to ignore them, they only become more urgent and intense until one day you’re in the doctor’s office facing a diagnosis of an illness that you can’t ignore any more.
Do you consider yourself less important than other people?
If you grew up in a household where the people around you struggled with illness, drug or alcohol issues or depression, you learned to play the role of the emotional rescuer, and you may possibly be repeating the same pattern in your life now.
In 2006, I did one of my Juicy Woman seminars for a local group of women. Mary is a mature woman with a family. She shared with our group that throughout her life she was taught to care for others, set aside her needs and make certain that everyone around her was happy. She admitted that deep down, in her heart, she considered her needs as less important than anyone else’s.
Her life centered on what other people thought about her. She did her best to get everybody to like her so she always went out of her way to please everyone. Mary never felt comfortable saying, “No.” She reasoned that she didn’t want to let anyone down or hurt their feelings.
Sadly she attracted people in her life who took advantage of her kindness and had little respect for her. Without consciously being aware of it, she realized that she had allowed herself to be treated like a doormat.
One day she went to the doctor for a routine exam and she was told that she had cancer. The doctor explained to her about the deleterious effects of stress on the body and told her that she had to make some choices. She had to change her lifestyle and make herself a priority.
That’s when she realized that if she were to survive, she had to weed out the things in her life that were toxic. She started by saying, “No.”
Some people just disappeared from her life, some learned to respect her more. With that small word, came great power for Mary.
Today Mary is a cancer survivor.
She says along the road to remission, she lost a few “friends” and acquaintances, and she regained her sense of self.
She told the group that it was a hard and painful lesson but today she now knows that she is worth caring for and loving. If you are, then, you must break free of your tendency to take care of stop being an emotional rescuer because you will never get a chance to live your life.
When you start saying, “No” and setting boundaries with other people, you are able to pursue your own life. Many times we eat because we’re frustrated thinking that we can’t, won’t or don’t have what it takes to do something that we love. Too many of us, busy women think that life is too short and it’s a waste of time to do something for ourselves. Now without fail, each week Mary sets aside time for herself to do things that make her feel good. She gets a massage, a pedicure and a manicure. She also takes classes and goes out to lunch with friends. Mary learned a very wise lesson. She stopped being an emotional rescuer. How about you? Are you an emotional rescuer? If so, what are you willing to do to make it clear to yourself and others that your needs are important too?
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