I’m an Over-doer. I’ve known this most of my adult life. But people love over-doers and I love being loved. Who wouldn’t love someone who takes care of things, and usually jumps up to do it without even being asked?
Here’s what I know, this over-doing sh*t takes a toll year after year. Don’t kid yourself that you are doing something good by over-shouldering responsibility for things. You are harming yourself in the process. But you can learn to help yourself.
It’s not possible for a doer to stop doing. Not gonna happen. But it turns out there is an obvious line between doing and over-doing. The trick is to start training yourself to see the line, and learn to stop crossing it. If it helps, think of the line as crime scene tape, DANGER.
Right now, I’m recovering from a flare of diverticulitis (think kidney stone type colon pain). I did manage to walk by the same piece of dirt on the stairs for almost a week but once I started feeling a little better, I picked it up. Then I started mentally picking up other things, seeing the things I had let go, and started planning on doing them. Grant you, I am better but not well yet. I have no business worrying about these things. But the doer in me has reawakened.
I will not pretend learning this is easy or that it happens quickly. I’m still reminding myself of the awareness (seeing the line) and the need to say “NO” (not crossing the line) almost every day. Who knew that saying “NO” to myself could be harder than saying “NO” to someone else?
Today, I realized doing some mental gymnastics can be helpful. I realized the things that were bothering me could be reduced in scope so that they were doable without overdoing.
See, normally when I do the kitchen towels, I also do all the towels in the house. I realized that only the kitchen towels on the floor in front of the washer were bothering me. I simply threw them in the wash. Case closed. No overdoing.
Line seen, not crossed, mission accomplished. Now, my brain started on other things. It was only the rug by the sink that truly needed vacuuming not the entire house.
Like everything, the more you practice seeing the line and not crossing it, the easier it gets. Today is a good day. I reached for a spoon in the silverware drawer and there weren’t any. I didn’t even think about cleaning out the dishwasher. I found a baby spoon. Went back to the couch and started eating my soft fruit.