Tuesday, January 3, 2012


     I am aware of the fact that there is a martyr in me. It is my historical default position to agree to do things that I would rather not do, and to cop an internal "poor me" attitude, rather than to simply say, "I can't do that right now. I already have too much on my plate." I've gotten better at setting boundaries, but I'm still a long way from knowing when it's really ok to say no, and when it's actually self-serving in a bad way, and wrong to do so.
     There are things in life that we all have to do in order to be contributing members of our society, our family, and all of our relationships, and they are not always easy or fun or what we particularly feel like doing. We have duties and responsibilities.
     And yet, we also have a responsibility to ourselves, to not overload on doing for others, to not take on so much that we falter and suffer and get sick. It is our job to be sure we are able to be in alignment with ourselves, that what we say yes to externally we also say yes to internally. If this is not the case, we fill up with resentments, and bloat with unspoken irritations and feelings of martyrdom.
     If I am honest, some of what I feel duty-bound to do is actually rooted in my desire to have some kind of control of the situation. My exasperation comes as the result of my own faulty thinking that others cannot do for themselves, and that nothing will get done properly unless I do it. In truth, of course, others are entirely capable of doing for themselves, but I don't let them, because I am too busy getting involved in their stuff with all of my opinions and good ideas and volunteering my time.
     It's a certain kind of insanity that I practice, and I want to stop practicing it. I want to live an ever-more authentic life. I am willing to relinquish control. I am willing to look at the places in my life that make me squirm with martyr-type feelings, and I am willing to make changes. It takes courage to let go, and to admit that I am over-involved and over-responsible and controlling beyond my proper sphere. But I am willing, and that's the first step.

I am honest about the fact that sometimes my volunteering to help is less about the helping and more about wanting to take control. I am willing to let go.