If my mother heard me.... She always says: "It's true, Alessandra! It's not possible to make everyone happy! You are right! You should coach me sometimes!" And then again, she picks up somebody at the airport, rushes into buying a present for a friend, organizes cards afternoon with some friends, cooks, cleans and she is always there for her sister, brother and nephews. Then she calls me and says:
- "I hope my friend doesn't call me to play cards today! I am exhausted!"
- "Mum, you can tell her you are tired. You guys can play tomorrow!"
- "How do I tell her I am tired without offending her?"
I am still amazed by this connection: why would anyone be offended if you tell him/her you are tired? And yet, it is a common issue that many of us face. We want to be there for everybody, we want to please people and make time for everybody. And what about us? What if we feel tired? Many people ignore it, and then they just crash. They get sick or simply mentally drained.
This is what I tell my mum and I learnt to tell myself during these years: the fact that sometimes you cannot make everyone happy, doesn't make you a bad person. And this has to do with self-respect, which is a consequence of good boundaries established. Does your being offended mean that my health is not important? Or, most importantly, why is my being tired an issue to your plans (unless of course it is something absolutely urgent and emergency like)?
I think it is important to understand that people react the way we let them, sometimes. If people are used to you saying yes to everything and never being tired, it would be just natural to assume that you are going to participate in a serie of activities. It is somehow a question of habit. If I set boundaries and I make sure that I act like HUMAN (I can be sick sometimes, I am tired, I just don't feel like, I changed my freaking mind), then people will learn that sometimes they won't get everything they want from you. And that is OK. It will not make you a bad person (again, unless you do it like Jim Carey in Yes Man. The man said NO to everything at first).
Do you know the trick that I started using, to help myself overcoming what I call "The WonderWoman/Superman syndrome"? I told myself: "Alessandra, you are not WonderWoman. And that is OK. You can relax now!" A wave of reality and practicality invaded me. All of a sudden I am free! I can get sick, I can choose.
And also, if you stop worrying about everybody for a moment, a little voice within will tell you: what does it say about that very person that gets offended if I am tired? Why is this person not accepting my "weaknesses", my being human? Ask yourself if you are not setting the bar too high for yourself too. Are you easily offended when somebody says NO to you?
If you need to set more boundaries and want to read more about NO saying, you can do it here
Aaaaand! Good news! Since you are not WonderWoman nor Superman, now you can take it easy! You are super special anyways, because there is only one of you! And do like me: if you really like the WonderWoman outfit, go buy it for Carnaval or Street parade (we have it here in Zurich in August, then you can use any outfits you like! I highly recommend it)!