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There are No Cosmic Brownie Points

boundaries high-achievers people-pleasing Dec 02, 2023
Healthier For Good PLLC
There are No Cosmic Brownie Points

In December, we leave behind unhelpful thoughts…

The universe is not tallying your brownie points. At least, not in the way that you think.

I’m not against the idea that good begets good, or that there aren’t karmic or other forces out there. But I do want us to let go of the idea that if we suffer enough, especially as caring professionals, as people-pleasers, as high achievers, as problem solvers, that others will notice and reward us.

For years, I imagined that me saying “yes” to things at work, to taking an extra patient on my schedule or on my overly full panel or not using my full vacation, etc, was winning me favors. Somehow, I imagined that my good deeds would be recognized and rewarded. This is yet another old thought that I cringe thinking of now because it was naïve and shows just how deeply rooted my people-pleasing has been. I expected that if I said “yes” enough, that eventually people would stop asking, that they would see how many times I had said “yes” and decide to ask someone else.

I think you can guess how this worked out.

Not only were they NOT tallying up my cosmic brownie points, I also experienced the double whammy of many women professionals (not just women, but more women compared to men) that when I said “no,” I was a problem. I was “not a teamplayer.” I needed to “work on my attitude,” and that “everyone else said yes.”

No wonder I was exhausted, resentful, and feeling like something was wrong with me.

If that sounds familiar, and resonates with your experience, I want to invite you to also let go of the idea that the people at work or at home are keeping tabs on how many yesses you give, or how many times you chose them over yourself.

And again, what I am not suggesting is that you treat people poorly or that kindness and good deeds don’t matter. 

But we need to let go of the idea that endlessly putting others above ourselves is necessary, or that it will lead to ease and luxury later, or that people will stop asking you for help.

Most of us don’t consider letting go of this thought gently; instead, we wait until we are on the verge of complete collapse or until we’re so angry we want to flip the table, storm out and burn the place down.

Not helpful.

What if, you decide, here and now, that you will no longer wait for external validation that you have done enough. That you can and will set boundaries on your time and energy, which is ultimately in service of others (your boundaries help others grow and learn to solve problems), but that ultimately starts to put you on your own list of priorities.

Instead of counting on others to notice and tally, you will decide for yourself what’s ok and what’s not ok, based on your current circumstances and resources, including your own energy and bandwidth. You will learn to become familiar with the discomfort that happens when you start setting boundaries and disappointing others, but also that you and they will both adjust (ok, some other people will never adjust, but most of those people have a diagnosable reason for this).

When you decide for yourself that your time and energy are important and finite, you give yourself the gift of more ease and less frustration in trying to do everything for everyone.

You make space for yourself in your own life.

No brownie points required.

Hi There!

I'm Megan. I'm a Physician and a Life Coach and a Mom. I created this blog to help other Physicians and Physician-Moms learn more about why they feel exhausted, burned-out and overwhelmed, and how to start to make changes. I hope that you enjoy what you read, and that it helps you along your journey. And hey, if you want to talk about coaching with me, I'm here for that too! I offer a free 1:1 call to see if we are a good fit. Click the button below to register today.

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