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Giving it up. Wednesday March 26, 2014

Giving something up is often hard; even when you know it's the right thing to do.

This is not a post about relationships (or chocolate), but about the relinquishment of tasks and duties that we have performed faithfully for some time.

We take these jobs on; to be the club treasurer or secretary, to edit the school magazine and three years later, we're still doing it – often with increasing resentment and bad grace. We would really like to be relieved of the duty, but fear that, if we don't do it, then it won't get done. People depend on us and we can't let them down. We start to feel trapped.

For some of us, our periods of depression are so debilitating we hesitate to take on any responsibilities at all, fearing that we will inevitably let people down in our bad times.
Last week I wrote my last post for a wonderful website that was set up just to take happy news stories into people's lives. We all need a dose of that when the regular news seems to spread only sadness and suffering. I had written every week for more than two years and it had been my first ever blogging role.

But I'm now writing for Moodscope, have my own weekly blog and am working on that novel. The first blog was becoming a chore, rather than a delight.

So, eventually, after much heart searching, I tendered my resignation. It was a hard thing to do, but the right thing to do: my heart just wasn't in that blog any more.

Yes, I will miss not bringing that little piece of happiness to people every week, but I won't miss the grinding anxiety of searching for good news stories, uploading them and writing about them. I feel much lighter in spirit and greatly relieved. A burden has been shed.

When we do take on responsibilities like this it's good to remember that we can always lay them down again. Actually, until we have laid them down, nobody else will come forward to pick them up. While Jon was writing for Moodscope every single day, it never occurred to any of us to offer him help.

It's a good discipline to carry out a commitment audit every so often; once a year, maybe. Our lives can get very cluttered with busy-ness.

But don't worry, writing the Moodscope blog is always a joy; I'm not giving this one up!

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Wed, Mar 26th 2014 @ 7:54am

I get like this in the workplace. I take on more and more responsibility until I'm at a point where I am too scared to start anything because I wont get any of it done. I know I can wear a lot of hats, but having limits frightens me.
I really just want to be superwoman :)

Anonymous Wed, Mar 26th 2014 @ 8:18am

Thanks so much for sharing this Mary :) This is exactly what happened to me, in my marriage, my work and almost everything I had around me. Sadly it went so far I had to resign from it all ... and I mean ALL. Too bad I could'nt leave some of it before all my life-energy ran out. Something to think about when restarting my life.

Anonymous Wed, Mar 26th 2014 @ 8:23am

Hi Mary, can you share the name of that other website? It sounds really interesting. And thanks for your posts, I really like them.

Mo Wed, Mar 26th 2014 @ 9:00am

I work as a mobile hairdresser and a while ago was not coping with my clients expecting me to cope with their problems, and when I was going through a bad time I could not cope at all. My doctor arranged for me to go to CBT for 7 weeks and this was great, I now leave my clients problems at their door on my way out, and I manage my life so much better.... My family love the new me... I also read Moodscope every day

Nancy Wed, Mar 26th 2014 @ 11:55am

A number of years ago we were going through a very rough patch with one of our teenagers. Our pastor said that I didn't need to do all the volunteer work that I do (on top of working parttime and raising 4 teenagers!). It felt like he was giving me permission and that made a huge difference. Now I only do what I have a passion for and that also changes. Being a people pleaser it was a hard step to do but turns out those that don't like you stepping down are not important. It also turns out we are not as irreplacable as we thought!

Anonymous Wed, Mar 26th 2014 @ 5:53pm

Oh so true Mary; and I always enjoy your posts; being a people pleaser can be such a burden - you are right Nancy; and how wonderful to recognise the only person we should please is ourself! My problem is that when lovely hubby asks me what I want to do, too often my reply is "whatever you want". He insists that I choose what we do - very hard! But I am learning... Frankie

Anonymous Wed, Mar 26th 2014 @ 6:27pm

Heartfelt thanks, Mary for your regular contributions. Your posts are always apposite.

Mary Wed, Mar 26th 2014 @ 9:09pm

Oh, we do all want to be super-woman, don't we? To be simply human is just not enough. Nobody ever asks more of us than we do of ourselves.Sometimes it's good to give our friends and family permission to just tell us that we're doing too much and to nag us until we give something up. Do you have people in your life you can give such permission to - and would they take it?

Laura Rossney Wed, Mar 26th 2014 @ 10:43pm

Thank you Mary, all the bloggers and all the moodscope users. I really needed this today and it made a difference

Anonymous Thu, Mar 27th 2014 @ 12:45pm

Dear mary

Your blog has absolutely hit the spot. I carried on with a society for nearly 30 years putting my heart and soul into it and then I became ill and suddenly realised that it was too much of an effort and was absolutely draining me. I at last ahd the courage to say it to some others on the committee and they had all actually been feeling the same but no one had wanted to say. Our Guild folded as no one else came forward to fill our spaces We miss the companionship in some ways but it has given all space to get on with other perhaps more exciting things in our lifex

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