I am the oldest of four kids in my family. You other oldest children know what I mean when I say that being the oldest means you get the short end of the stick sometimes. In my house, I didn’t get away with ANYTHING! I was always getting caught or taking the blame for teasing my siblings. I tried to sneak out one time and my little brother went and told my parents… suffice it to say, I never snuck out again!
I wouldn’t change being the oldest for the world though! I have learned more from them about how to be a good person than I have from all the advice I have read online or on Pinterest.
From them, I learned how to forgive. My sweet siblings drove me up a wall… they still do! But over time I learned that they just wanted attention and liked to see me get worked up.
I learned how to share. That word gets overused but at the same time, it’s such a valuable lesson. I had to share my bathroom, my car (or really, my parents car), my time, toys, and sometimes even my bedroom. I shared a room with my little sister when she was born and to all you parents out there who have had babies or have one… I commend you for your sanity! I was 8 when she was born and sharing a room with a newborn who doesn’t sleep through the night was the hardest thing my young self had ever suffered through!
The biggest lesson I learned from them was that I couldn’t just focus on myself. No matter how hard I tried to be selfish, they needed me. And I always wanted to be there for them. How could I not?
Selflessness is a hard skill to master. However, there is a fine line between being selfless and giving too much of yourself. Have you ever heard of the word co-dependency? When I heard that term I instantly thought about someone who is dependent on some form of an addictive substance. Although sometimes that is what it means, in this case it means something totally different. Co-dependents are people who give too much of themselves. These people not only want to help but feel compelled to help and solve the problems of others. They take on others pain and anger and all other emotions and make it their own. In the process of helping others, they lose themselves. They forget who they are as they try too hard to be what someone else needs. The give and give but don’t know how to ask for their own help. Co-dependents don’t like to disappoint others and take it very personally if they have let others down. It eats at them until they fix it.
As I have gone through life, I have always felt like I need to be what others need. For my siblings I needed to be the perfect example. For my friends I needed to always be there for every thing. For my parents I wanted to be the straight A student and golden child. At school I want to be the perfect student who does well and gets alone with all my teachers (yes, I got called a suck up in high school). At work, I want to always be on my game and for my employers to recognize that I am an asset to their company. I want to be the perfect volleyball coach for my players. I want to be the perfect wife and homemaker. One day I want to be the perfect mom. I wanted to impress people and prove that I am someone who has talents and value. I got so caught up on what others think of me and what they see in me. In a nutshell, I want to be a million different versions of me. I want to be the “perfect, ideal” person for everyone.
Recently, I have had what you could call a small identity crisis. I was so caught up in fixing problems and making sure everyone else is happy, that I found I wasn’t happy myself. I wasn’t myself but I couldn’t figure out what I needed to get back to who I was. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted.
I was sitting in bed one night talking to my husband when I had one of those “AH-HA” moments. People may have told me this my whole life but to me I had FINALLY figured out what they were saying for myself. I CANT MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY! Obvious right? Clearly not to me… It took me 22 years to finally have this overwhelming understanding that I can’t do everything for everyone in my life. I can’t be the perfect wife or sister or student. I can’t always be perfect at everything I try. And that is okay. There are so many people in this world who are better at everything. There are prettier and more fit girls. Someone will always be more adventurous and more fun than me. Someone will be a better student than me and will probably do a much better job at my job than I do.
With this massive epiphany, I realized that I am perfectly and wonderfully me. I am a good daughter, sister, student, employee, coach, and wife. I will be a good mom one day! I can be all of those things without losing myself. I can’t always be there for everyone and I won’t always be perfect but that is okay. I don’t have to be. I strive for greatness but good is enough.
GOOD is all I can do and that is ENOUGH.