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I’m Learning that the People Who Really Care Will Understand

·458 words·3 mins

I’ve been having a tough time lately. I’ve talked about it a bit here and extensively on the Poly Land Discord server. The basics are that I’m doing too much. I’ve taken on too much. And it has been that way for years.

I’m burned out beyond compare. And I’ve reached a point where I have to retool my priorities. To take a second and think. About what matters to me, what doesn’t. What is necessary and what just feels like it’s necessary.

Because I’ve been in crisis in a bunch of ways that are making my life miserable. And my instinct for months and years has been to just keep going. To tuck away how I feel and keep doing the same thing, hoping it’ll eventually feel better.

But it hasn’t.

As I’ve mentioned before on this site, I’m a recovering people pleaser. (I will always be recovering, I think that’s how it goes. Because the moment you consider yourself recovered, you risk slipping backwards.) And because of that and because of being a reasonably reliable person, I’m prone to doing a million “little favors” for people.

None of them seem like that big of a deal in isolation, but they can compound. And compound. And compound.

Then before I know it, I’m drowning… drowning in a sea of little things that I probably shouldn’t have offered to do in the first place. Not things that were forced on me. But I’m prone to taking on more responsibility than I should. I’m prone to overloading myself.

And frankly, particularly so that I can earn the respect, admiration, and even love of people I admire. I feel like if I’m not able to be useful, then people won’t like me. And I feel like if I stop being useful that I’ll end up all alone.

Anyway, I reached a crisis point. And I had a couple of heart-to-hearts with people that I really care about. About how I don’t think I can handle doing certain things anymore. How I need to figure out a way to do a bit less.

And I’ll be honest: Those conversations were terrifying. I really felt like they were high stakes. Like I was risking losing the respect and love of those who mean the world to me.

So what happened next really surprised me: They understood. Said I was doing too much. Told me they were proud of me.

I’m sure not everyone will react this way. I’m likely to find people who are disappointed that I’m looking for a way out of burnout. And I suspect some of them will lash out at me.

But I’m learning that the people who really care about me will understand. It means so much.


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