Internal locus of control or external locus of control… that is the question. (a.k.a. are you motivated by outside influences or your own drive) I once wrote a college paper on this subject and was completely anxiety riddled at the amount of research and the new (to me) format that I was required to learn in a very short time frame. I had written only a couple of 10 page papers in high school that were always essay style. My first college paper was a 15 pager in APA format that I had never encountered before. It was a hurdle to be sure. I did piles of research and yes, my outline was 100% essay but when I sat down to actually write I cranked it out in 2 days more or less ( in between other classes). I have never been more proud of an A before. And I still wonder how much I actually understood what I wrote. 🙄
Today the question still pops up in my mind. What motivates me? What is driving the machine that is me? Do I allow whatever others think to cause me to act? Am I operating in my own best interest? And the greater question still, am I living in a way that is motivated by a love for God?
I am by nature curious and introspective. I want to live my best life – all the way. So, I am always thinking about my current methods and what does and doesn’t work to achieve that. Recently I went through a very dark time. I wouldn’t say I was depressed but I had certainly been leaning that way. My body was sapped. I had allowed my lack of personal boundaries and self care to deteriorate me to the point that I was in a horrible state of mind mentally and constantly fatigued. I felt like I was living only to fill others needs. I slept a LOT. As in, if it wasn’t necessary I did not leave my bed. I still loved my family and helping others but my body quit giving and I was flat out tired of other people’s needs ALWAYS being first. To make matters worse, I often found out that those who alway seemed to need something could have very easily completed the task without me. I needed to find my value. I needed to care about me.
Selfish? No, I just needed myself. Everyone else had gotten my help but there was precious little coming back my direction. Something had to change.
And so I did the unthinkable. I quit giving. I stopped being available. I said no. Did I like it? No, it killed me to turn people down. I wanted to go to every birthday and donate at every fundraiser and volunteer at every function. But I began to set limits. Right away my family balked. How dare I not take them here, or fetch this or make that! What a horrible person I was for allowing them to suffer natural consequences as a result of their own thoughtlessness! How selfish of me to make room for my needs in the family budget!
And the horror continued….I stepped back at work, I requested help for seemingly simple things, I relaxed, I rested, I began to heal. I got a lot of questioning glances and a few persistent requests until I finally just said I’m not available all year. I had hung the do not disturb sign over my face and I began the task of rebuilding my health and sanity. And you know what? Everyone survived without me.
My husband is the opposite of me in so many ways. But we both are driven from the inside. His motor runs quite a bit slower than mine but when we are focused on what is important to us it WILL be accomplished. I love that we are both doers. But I had to reestablish my boundary lines even in our marriage. I had to be more careful with myself. In every relationship I drew lines. Some just got the axe all together. I’m not investing where there are no returns. Sorry, it’s nothing personal, I just don’t have the physical energy or the head space for it. After the hormonal tornado that I’ve been through I can see how people can “snap”. Good people, under too much pressure. Too many outside ideas and needs pushing out the person inside.
Recently I had an opportunity to test how firm my boundaries were. I was dumped into a situation and called the offender out. A highly volatile offender to boot. Did I bend? No, I didn’t. I was actually kind of proud of myself. I stood up for me. I valued my time and my rest. I was not going to be forced into doing another person’s duty simply because they wanted me to. Nope, not anymore.
Don’t get me wrong. I want to help. I want to be a part and give all I can-just not to the detriment of my own well being. If you are a born people pleaser then it might be time to re-evaluate. Sooner rather than later. I can tell you from experience it’s not pretty when you omit self care for too long. I hope this helps someone.
Questions for self evaluation:
What is important to you?
What do you value?
Who/what gives back in your life?
How can you invest in yourself a little each day?
What are your limits?
If you know me personally – don’t take this personally!❤️
If you know me well, I think you’ll see it for what it is❤️