For me, it goes something like this – Eldest child. Bossy boots. Organiser. Reliable. These are all words I’ve identified with. I have always loved helping. Be it friends, family or colleagues I really get a kick out of being of use to people and assisting them. Sometimes though, it gets too much. It’s not really what I want to be doing and still I do it in spite of myself because “If I don’t do it then who will?”. Does this sound familiar at all? It’s tricky when you’ve been that person your whole life and then a time comes when you want to change it. You want to put yourself first and say no sometimes. Being called out on it helped me a lot.
A friend of mine saw how much I was doing for my family and said “Just stop being a martyr!”. I was quite confronted by this at first. I didn’t see myself as a martyr. But just that word was like a slap in the face. What do you mean I’m a martyr? I help people. I’m the organiser. If I don’t do it it will never get done! But I realised that if something is not done with love, it is sometimes better not to do it at all. If you’re going to resent how much you do for someone or feel that no one else ever does it, what’s the point? It can be very empowering to politely and lovingly say no once in a while.
My first breach out of the yes pool came when the Christmas draw had to be done in our family. I was expected to organise the kids as I had done in previous years. But I was going to be away at Christmas so I decided that someone else could do it that year. Okay Sach, time to organise the kids draw. I’m not going to be here at Christmas so I thought that somebody else could do it. At first there was a bit of shock, but then understanding. It was my first time refusing and I’m not gonna lie, it felt really good.
Since then I have been much more aware of my tendency toward Martyrdom. I check in with myself more often as to whether I want to do something or not and whether I can do it with a full heart or whether resentment will linger. If you are more present in yourself, this can be easier to navigate.
So, are you part of the Martyr Club? Would you like to hand in your card? Let me know in the comments below. I love hearing from you. If this resonates with you or with someone you know, please share it around. It could give them the clarity to forge new ways of being.
Sacha Marie x