Yesterday, I was in a meeting with a bunch of psychologists that was beyond frustrating. Egos were inflated to the point that it was hard to breathe in the room. You would think there would be compassion and ability to relate to each other when there are 20 psychologists in the room. However, there were just pointed daggers. I was frustrated beyond belief and voiced my displeasure acting as what I believed was a voice of reason. I was being forced to serve an extended term on an executive committee because they voted so and had not managed to get their act together beforehand. When I noted that I was never consulted with beforehand in regards to my term of volunteer service I was told to stop arguing and “not make this personal.” I just laughed and walked away. Some people are just clueless either by birth or by design. Regardless, it is personal as it impacts me personally. I sat back down and one of the more reasonable people there turned to me and said “you carry a bag of yes’s and no’s on your shoulder throughout life. Sometimes you pull out a “yes” and sometimes you pull out a “no.” I looked at her and felt little comfort at this but I nodded. Yes, it is true. What is also true is that sometimes we don’t pull out those “nos” often enough.
I have come to a place in my life where I am busier than I have ever been. However, I have reached a certain calm about it all. Perhaps, that zen-like state is partly due to being out in California or perhaps it is because I have finally come to terms that I have enabled much bad behavior in the past by always saying yes. Now, I just don’t do that anymore.
Mind you, I still probably say “yes” way more than I should but I have cut back significantly. In the past I had a job description with 16 tasks that covered more than 4 pages because I said “yes.” At the time, I thought of course, I could do X, Y and Z. What I didn’t’ get was that I was enabling dependency and outright being taken advantage of. I enabled it not only for myself but for others as well.
I enabled this environment so much that the joke was that I didn’t even get to go to the restroom during the day. Whenever I would try to go, people would hear the clicking of my heels and start calling out to me. I even had a boss (an endearing one though) that often followed me to the restroom, knocking on the door saying “Dr Mimi can you hear me, what do you think of …..” It got to the point that I often just forgot that I needed to use the restroom. When I did remember I would just “will it” away and keep working. And for what? I can only shake my head at my old self.
About 7 weeks ago, I was in my furnished apartment in California trying to hurry out the door to get to work. I was running late. I hate being late. I am generally one of those people that is 99% of the time early to a meeting. The other 1% I tend to be right on time. That is not the case for many of the Californians I know. As I am hurrying to put on my pink jacket, I put my backpack on and note I need to use the restroom but I look at the door and think I should just run out. I grabbed the door handle and then I just shook my head. What was I doing? Why would I forgot using the restroom in my own place so that I can run out to a meeting that no one else will be on time for?
I took a step back, took off my backpack and remembered I needed to take care of me. I just can not enable any more of those unrealistic expectations.
Fats forward to yesterday’s meeting. Fine, they can vote all they want to extend my term but it does not mean that I have to do it. I made a commitment to serve for a certain amount of time and I have done so despite all the obstacles placed in my way. If they show no regard for me personally I need not adhere to their unrealistic and downright mean-spirited expectations and set tasks.
No, I am the boss of me and I will do a good job at it.