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Who is Your Schedule Pleasing?

saying no

Many years ago I was always on the go.  You had to book with me a month in advance if you wanted to go to dinner or hang with me.  I was BUSY.  Why was I so busy? Well, it was a lot of reasons.

At the time, I was single and somewhere someone had told me that I needed to be busy because single people need to be out and about doing things.

As long as I was on the go…I didn’t need to deal with what was really going on… the questions, confusion, pain I had about my own life didn’t need to be dealt with if I was out and about.

I didn’t ever say no. The idea of saying no, never entered my mind. Because I didn’t want to upset anyone or make anyone made at me and I didn’t really think I could say no.

In all honesty, it never dawned on my to ask myself, “Do I enjoy doing all this stuff? Is being this busy making me happier?”

Then one day after crying on the front porch to my friend saying, “I SHOULD BE HAPPY, what is wrong with me?!!” I found myself sitting on a therapist’s couch (best decision I ever made) and she asked me, “Do you enjoy doing all this stuff?” “Is this how you want to be spending your time?”

Honestly, I was dumbstruck.  I thought,  “What does she mean…is this how I wanted to spend my time?” it was the first time in a  long time that I asked myself that question.

It turned out no that was not how I wanted to be spending my time. In fact, the act of going out all the time was exhausting and making me miserable. Not only was it physically exhausting to work all day and then go out to dinner with a friend at night, it was mentally and emotionally exhausting because I was saying yes to events I really wanted to say no to.

One of the most helpful exercises I did was an energy inventory to help me do a gut check on how I was spending my time.  Click here for your own Energy Inventory.  I quickly realized that I was spending WAY too much time doing things that were draining me.

The problem seemed simple enough to fix. Stop doing the things that drain me, but that is WAY easier said than done.

  • I had to learn how to put myself first and ask myself…do you REALLY want to do this activity.
  • I had to learn that it is ok to disappoint people.
  • I had to learn how to say NO.

Thanks to an amazing therapist, and a lot of intentional work on my part, today my life is very different.  I don’t say yes to any activity before I pause and ask myself, “Do I really want to do this?” And even then when the answer is yes I ask myself,”Do I have the energy/time to do this activity?”

With those two questions my schedule is

  • Less busy
  • When I am busy, it is with activities I enjoy and want to participate.

I see this phenomenon in my clients. They come in to talk about their anxiety, and unhappiness and inevitably we end up talking about their schedule and the fact that they are spending way too much time pleasing other people. One of the leading causes of anxiety is when we stop listening to our inner voice and instead start listening to what we SHOULD be doing. Schedule Pleasing is a very common way of doing that.

So what about you? Who is your schedule pleasing?  If it’s not you, I can help. Get in touch and we can set up a one-on-one session to help you get your life back.

I would love to hear from you in the comments:  Do you have a problem with over scheduling?  What do you struggle with most?  How have you overcome it?

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