There are exactly 4 people in the world for whom I would drop everything in an instant and go do whatever they needed – no matter the cost, no hesitation, no questions asked.
How many are on your list?
Mine is small, by design.
I used to try to be all the things to all the people, and I ended up resentful and exhausted and generally under-delivering.
It meant those 4 only got the scraps of whatever energy (hint: none) I had left over after trying to caretake random strangers who didn’t even want it, and people who took and took but never reciprocated.
It meant I wouldn’t have been available for those 4 if an emergency happened and they really needed me, because I would’ve already been overcommitted elsewhere.
It meant I wasn’t paying enough attention to their needs, feelings, and hopes.
It meant I was missing out on the best parts of life with the people I actually most love, respect, and enjoy.
This was a symptom of hypervigilance and feeling unworthy.
Hypervigilance makes us ignore what feels stable and familiar, and constantly scan the horizon for what’s new/wrong/different/dangerous.
Unworthiness makes us crave relational quantity because we don’t believe relational quality is available to us.
So, what changed?
-A lot of unpleasant reality checks.
-I unlearned hypervigilance and unworthiness.
The old way yielded terrible, unfulfilling results. It was the emotional equivalent of junk food’s empty calories.
Now I gleefully deflect unsolicited, unbalanced, and misaligned drains on my attention.
Every time I say “no” to something, I take a moment to relish how much better I’ll be able to show up and care for all the other things I’ve chosen to prioritize – especially those 4 beautiful people.
Who’s on your list?
What can you say “no” to, to prioritize them more?