Freedom is the moment you finally stopped filling in holes carelessly dug by someone else’s shovel.
As a former people-pleaser, chronic problem-fixer, current empath, and occasional codependent, I have so many seasons in my life that could be effectively labeled:
For far too long, I wore my ability to fill in any relationship holes I came across like a badge of honor. I wandered the emotional terrain, shovel in hand, believing it was my job to mend these gaps, to make excuses for hurtful behavior, and to fill in painful communication blanks.
I’d use that trusty shovel, no matter the size or depth of the crevice, in a desperate attempt to make the grounds in my relationship look undisturbed. A relentless quest to restore harmony, to keep peace at any cost.
It’s Not Your Work To Do Someone Else’s Work
Sometimes, I’d use my shovel to excuse, ignore, or dismiss traumatizing behavior that was causing a rift between us. I’d start tossing dirt in the hole by telling myself things like:
I know they love me.
Hurt people hurt people.
This is just the way they are.
They just don’t know any better.
They had a really tough upbringing.
Sometimes, I’d use my shovel to fill in communication gaps caused by:
The silent treatment.
I’d pour in enough dust to fill in every one of the blanks I came across, telling myself,
“I know they said this, but what they really mean is _________.”
Sometimes, I’d use my shovel to preemptively reinforce compromised ground that at the surface, looked fine — but I could sense a raging sinkhole lurking just below the top layer. They’d make choices, and I’d race ahead, desperately trying to pinpoint the exact soil where consequences were starting to take root, frantically serving as.
Filling in Holes You Didn’t Dig Comes At a Cost
I shoveled, and shoveled, and shoveled until I realized — the dirt I was using to fill in all those holes had to come from somewhere.
In my frenzy to reinforce the relationship grounds for someone else, I had completely neglected my own
It was then I realized the true cost of endlessly doing someone else’s emotional labor without ever focusing on my own.
I finally understand it’s okay to focus on my own gaps, blanks, shortcomings, and wounds.
I finally understand it’s not my work to do someone else’s work.
I finally understand that I don’t have to keep filling in holes that were carelessly dug by someone else’s shovel.
And that feels like Freedom.
TODAY’S SOFT NEVER
Let’s put a Soft Never on believing we can never prioritize our own needs and wounds before racing with our shovel to do someone else’s emotional labor. Let’s grant ourselves permission to recognize that when we start to dig — the dirt has to come from somewhere.
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