A few weeks ago, Uneeka Jay, the Powermommy, tweeted:
If U want people to respect your boundaries, you have to respect theirs.
To this I added “respect you own [boundaries]. People will take whatever you give them and more.”
Working in a public service position and being a mom there is nothing not true about this statement. In the twenty something years that I’ve worked with the public I’ve learned that people will treat you as you allow yourself to be treated and will take, take, take as much as they can and as much as you allow. I don’t mean to make the public sound like greedy leeches. Not everyone is standing in a shadowy corner plotting the next time they can take advantage of you but there are people who will bully and manipulate themselves into whatever you are doing and just leave you emotionally drained until there is nothing left.
The last few months I have been learning how to stop being a Yes Girl. Yes to commitments that I didn’t want to make, yes to ideas that were not helpful or productive. Yes to things that will cause resentment and hold me up. But now I have to learn to own my own time. No, I am not just sitting at my desk doing nothing. No, you cannot ask me a quick question when I am doing something else. No, your need is not being ignored but will have to wait until I am able to address it. No, you cannot constantly ask me a quick question when I’ve told you I’m busy. As a people pleaser, this is tough. I want to solve your problem, I want to be the go to person who will make it all better but after years of allowing myself to be drained and pulled in every which direction I know that this is all wrong. Wrong for my work, wrong for my sanity (or productivity).
It’s not mean or rude to request that people respect your time. My time is yours when you need it…within reason. I used to hop up from my desk as soon as I was needed, abandoning whatever task I was in the midst of. Sometimes I would be able to return to the task at hand. More often I would be left trying to recreate the momentum that I had. Quitting time would find me frustrated as I attempted to get order to my day complete before heading home to parent The Bee. Lots of days would end with me at home looking up something, attempting to do one more thing. I still bring work home but I find that I am not spending hours doing so much that I am drained and tired.
A quote posted in the financial aid office of one of the colleges I attended read:
Your procrastination is not my problem.
So I had to check myself. In a failed effort to be everything to everybody I realized I was failing me. I dropped the ball on things at work, at home and for myself. My desk became a chaotic frenzy of papers and books, my house a tangle of yarn and life. And time? Always gone, never enough of it. I was just as guilty as others taking my time and abusing it. I was the worst offender!
It has taken time but slowly, slowly I am learning to say no to myself. Setting limits and respecting the boundaries I need to be the person that can get it done.
This post is a part of Shell Things Pour Your Heart Out Wednesdays
Here are the Rules:
Write a post from the heart.
Something that has been weighing on you.
Something you feel passionately about.
Something you’ve been wanting to talk about.
A cause, a memory, a belief, a world view.