I hear from a lot of stepmoms that they don’t like who they’ve become. They say that they used to be so happy and alive. They were friendly and funny… they really liked themselves. But not so much, these days.
If you can relate to this, you’re not a bad person. You’re human. You’re a caring woman who has put the needs of others above hers – but you pay a price for that.
Bet you didn’t know there is such a thing as OVER caring. I know, ridiculous, right? Caring is so wonderful, how can you OVER care? Well, you can over care when you’re no longer giving because you want to give, but giving because you:
- think you should
- feel forced to
- are trying to control a situation
- are trying to control other people
- are attached to a specific outcome
What happens when you over care is you start to get angry that others haven’t returned the favor. Or that things haven’t turned how you wished they had. Or that you’re living a life that you’re no longer satisfied with. You’ll know you’ve arrived at over care because you’ll be on edge, contracted, getting triggered by every little thing. And it will be hard for you to find anything about your family that you enjoy.
What started out as a good intention has turned into something you resent – and everyone around you knows it. Your family doesn’t win when you over care. Kids can sense your resentment of them and your partner isn’t blind to your contempt.
The antidote? Stepping out of over care and into love. Love for yourself, which means understanding that your needs ARE important, and that you first have to be good with yourself before you can be available for others. It means stepping back from doing the things you resent, at least until you can get enough perspective and a full emotional tank to work from. Then, when you’re back on track, you’ll either decide that you’re ready to step back in and take on only what you can feel good about, or you’ll decide other action is needed. Either way, you’ll be doing it with love, for yourself and others.
One of my favorite exercises we do at our Stepmom Retreat is helping women remember who they are. Because it’s from this place of love and authenticity that you’ll find your strength to move forward into happiness.
And when you’re happy with yourself, you’ll make decisions that serve you well and consequently serve those around you well. So step back. Take inventory. Decide who you want to be. And move forward, one small step at a time.
© 2016 Jenna Korf All Rights Reserved
If you don’t recognize yourself anymore, please consider joining the Stepmom Revolution community. We will help you reclaim the best parts of yourself!
You might also enjoy:
- Stepmom, always the outsider
- Acknowledging loss and embracing your life as a stepmom
- Why stepparenting is harder than parenting