I want to stop this!

Written by: Maddy K.

This is a recent entry from my journal:

"I want to stop this.  I am done.  Feels like I can't escape this place.  I don't want to accommodate others, I don't want to say yes when I mean no. I don't feel like talking to anyone.  I want to be quiet.  I want to get up early to meditate and exercise.  I want to cut back on drinking. What am I running from?  What am I trying to escape?  What don't I want to face?  What am I really committed to?  I don't need to please everyone."

So what does it mean to be over-accommodating?

  • "People who 'over-accommodate' offer way too much in all instances. Sometimes it's not even asked and they just do it, because they like to see the smile on a person's face, but other times do it because they like the recognition they feel."
  • "If you're 'over-accommodating' it means you don't know how to say "no" and are too nice to other people at the expense of yourself."
  • "Accommodating means that you are willing to compromise, over-accommodating means that you compromise too much."

These are a few responses I found when I Googled, "What does it mean to be an over-accommodating person?"  I admit that I did not like what I read mainly because these responses described me.

Lately I have been confronted by the fact that I over-accommodate other people at the expense of myself.  This is nothing new in my life, but for whatever reason, it is showing up big for me at the present time.  I'm the person who says, "yes" most of the time, sadly, even when sometimes I want to say "no."  I'm willing to go the extra mile, generously offering my help, listening, providing time, money, resources, etc.  I'm even known for jumping on a plane or in the car, sometimes leaving my husband and son behind to be with others and/or care for others.  I make things easy for others even though it eventually takes a toll on me.  At times I question my own motive… why do I do this?  How did I become like this?  Do I really want my life to look like this?Yoga top of head with boarder

In fact, I often find myself feeling tired, overwhelmed and even irritated because I over extend myself.  I usually set out with the best intentions - I want to help others, I want to maintain close relationships with family and friends, I want people to feel special and that they matter.  But have I taken it too far?  I end up feeling depleted, run down, sad and resentful when other people don't reciprocate.  The thing that strikes me as so crazy about this is that nobody asked me to do the things that I do.  I just offer up myself to people.   Last year I found myself sick more times that I would like to admit and nearly ran myself in the ground with my over-accommodating ways.

I am tired of being tired and feeling overwhelmed, and am ready for a change… I will begin by showing myself some compassion.  I realize that this is a pattern of mine and patterns can be changed.  It does no good to berate myself for choices that I have made in the past.  Today I will take time to meditate, practice saying no and have some fun!

4 ways to help you break your pattern of over-accommodating:

  1. Take time for yourself each day (even if it's only a couple of minutes).  Take a walk, journal, meditate, practice deep breathing, slow down and seek silence.  Clarity and consciousness often comes when one is still.  You will be less likely to have a knee-jerk response of saying, "yes" or offering up something if you take time to connect with yourself.
  2. Set up an automatic pause button.  When someone asks you to do something tell him or her you have to think about it and will get back to them.  This prevents you from automatically saying yes.
  3. Implement a 24-hour rule.  For larger requests like taking on a big project, planning a trip or having houseguests, etc., tell the person you will get back to them in 24 hours.
  4. Practice saying no.  Aim to say no a couple times of day.  You can say, "I can't commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment" or "No, I can't," is the simplest and most direct way to say no.  When you say no, it is an act of self-care that often leaves you feeling energized, whole and complete.
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