Take Your Hands Off The Wheel

GretchenSelf-care

Back in challenge #3, we learned that saying no is important self-care. This month, our challenge is saying YES to support from others. Not just asking for support, but receiving it without criticism or control.

Are you a reloader? You know, one of those people that watches someone else load the dishwasher, then redoes it all when they finish because it’s “not right.”

Tell the truth…

Ah ha! I knew you were! Yep, I am too!

Have you ever been caught reloading? Cheryl Richardson writes in The Art of Extreme Self-Care about an instance where her husband caught her reloading:

“What do you think goes through my mind when I come into the kitchen and find you redoing what I just did? It makes me think, Why bother? It’s never right, and she’s just going to do it over anyway. So I don’t help out, and that’s why you end up complaining that you never get the support you need. Rather than receive my help, you criticize it.”

Tough words to hear from your spouse, but so true. When we maintain too much control we risk damaging relationships. We make those close to us feel inadequate and incapable of handling even simple tasks. This “I’ll do it myself because you don’t do it my way” mentality leads to martyrdom, and we end up bitchy and resentful.

We must learn to both ask for and receive help without doing any reloading.

When we give others control we empower them. We teach them to trust themselves and become more resourceful. Sure, there will be mistakes. Remember how many dishes had to be rewashed when you were learning to load the dishwasher? Sometimes we need to give up some control so that others can grow. What would others struggle with if you weren’t around to handle it?

In an effort to get ONE. MORE. THING. DONE, we lose our vital energy. We can’t possibly live a life of extreme self-care without assistance from others. How do you know when support is long overdue?

  • You chronically complain about how much you have to do.
  • You feel like the weight of the world is on your back.
  • You fantasize about running away.
  • You cry for no apparent reason at unexpected times and unexpected places.
  • You yell at people and things.
  • You are so exhausted.

If you answered yes to any one of those questions, then you need this month’s challenge. We are going to write a “Things You Can Do To Support Me” list.

Step 1: Pick an area of life where you are struggling to keep your head above water or where you could just plain use some help.

Step 2: Choose a person to help you – spouse, child, co-worker, friend.

Step 3: Let your support person know you have too much on your plate and you need their help. Let them know you trust them to get the job done.

Step 4: Agree on a few terms:

  • the # of items on the list
  • where the list will be left
  • when the items should be complete
  • what the support person should do if the deadline cannot be met
  • who to go to if additional help is needed

Step 5: Give your support person permission to tell you when you are interfering. Sometimes, especially early on, we can’t help ourselves and need to be reminded that we aren’t in control and that is OKAY.

Step 6: Let your support person make mistakes. Teach them how to correct the mistakes and how to avoid them in the future, but don’t be critical of their efforts.

Get in the habit of thinking about where and when you need help before you feel like you are losing your mind. Make your list and take your hands off the wheel.

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