Is your life filled with lots of doing and not enough being? Do you find you don’t take the time to recharge and regenerate?
Loving ourselves enough to say no to obligations is often one of our most challenging lessons, especially if you are a people-pleaser.
In order for our lives to be in balance, we need to spend enough alone time to rebuild our energy so that the time we spend with those we care about is quality time. When we are too busy and exhausted by our lives, we are not fully present in any activity, and our family and friends aren’t really getting our quality attention anyway.
One of the key things to consider is whether or not you are an extrovert or an introvert. Extroverts will get energy being with people. Introverts, although they enjoy being with people, will feel depleted if they go too long without having some alone time. Which ever personality type you are, everyone needs to replenish and spend time with themselves. The challenge for an extrovert might be to learn how to be alone, for the introvert it would be to carve out alone time and not feel guilty.
If you are anything like me, you have spent way too much time worrying about taking care of everyone else’s needs and not nearly enough trying to figure out your own. There are times we do need to be there for our friends and family, but there are other times where our presence is not crucial. Ask yourself if a phone call, card or gift will suffice for you being there on this particular occasion.
For years I worked at soul-depleting corporate jobs. I was always drained yet I spent much of my precious down time going to events and parties for all of the people in my life because I felt obligated. I dragged myself from place to place, feeling only half-present, yearning to go home and recharge my batteries.
Sometimes loving ourselves means being able and willing to say no. Rather than telling a white lie (which was often my modus operandi) tell the truth instead. Lying about it complicates things further, because you need to keep track of what story you told to whom. Try simply saying I really need time to recharge and just be alone. Then practice not feeling guilty about it. You may get some flack but hold your ground. Guilt is a choice and you can choose to not go there.
Those who choose to heap guilt upon you are showing their true colors, which often means that their friendship is more about you taking care of them than a mutual give and take. Those who truly love you will honor your need to be alone and allow you to do so without an emotional charge.
I encourage my fellow people-pleasers to look at your social obligations this week, and if you are in need of alone time practice saying no. And be honest about why.
Your real friends may be disappointed but they will understand. If those you thought were true friends make it all about them, then you may want to access whether or not you need these kinds of friends in your life. Often times you will find that your quiet yet powerful example will give others permission to take much needed time for themselves. We then need to make sure we support and honor their need to be alone and not make them feel guilty.
By Erica Sofrina, International Speaker, Teacher, Author and Coach
Erica Sofrina is a motivational speaker, author and life coach specializing in connecting people to their spiritual essence. She is also an Internationally recognized Feng Shui speaker, teacher and the author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World and the Founder of the West Coast Academy of Feng Shui. She is also the founder of Earth Spirit Adventure Travel which takes people on retreats to powerful energy vortexes such as Bali and Hawaii to facilitate their deep earth/spirit connection.