Every year when August hits, and the air (supposedly) cools off, my Saturday mornings typically begin with coffee in hand and ESPN Gameday on the TV — I am getting geared up to watch my Auburn Tigers play later on.
While this is mostly a way for the commentators to shame young 18-22 year old athletes, I’ve found myself joining in on the laughter and accusations of, “Come on! You blew it! You really did only have one job!”
However, last week it got me thinking about our true selves and how often we “blow it” by taking over roles that simply are not ours to take on. Whether we do it emotionally, physically, or even spiritually, we can abandon ourselves with good intentions of helping someone else.
I’ve realized after sitting with clients, having conversations with friends and family, and even in my own life, how frequently this happens.
You have one job and that is to be yourself. But our fear of someone not getting what they need from us or of being asked to do something by someone we care about often leaves us abandoning our true self and losing touch with who we are and what we really care about.
What does it cost us and the people in our lives when we, for just one good-willed second, own who we are and refuse to bow to others’ expectations of us? How might our world be different if we paid closer attention to who we are and what we bring to our relationships, rather than expend energy trying to be what we think people need?
Think of a relationship or role in your life where you feel taxed — maybe emotionally, physically, spiritually, or all three. Now ask yourself, are you spending too much time trying to make another person happy in that role or relationship? Do you find yourself taking on responsibility for however this person responds or reacts to things?
If you answered yes to those questions, you’ve likely taken on a codependent role that is costing you connection with your true self — your first and most important role in this life.
Beth is a therapist and group facilitator at Sage Hill Counseling in Nashville. She provides a place for individuals and couples to begin to live integrated lives by helping them explore their story, engage their heart, and develop a deeper passion.