Happy New Year! After a couple of weeks break, it’s time for a new episode of  The Baggage Reclaim Sessions. I’m kicking off 2019 by delving into a tricky but much-needed subject for discussion: recognising when we’re trying too hard with someone.

Fact is, in mutually fulfilling relationships, in healthy interactions, there isn’t this trying energy to things. We are ourselves. There isn’t this vibe of “I need to try this so that they will be/do X”. We don’t think things like I just try so hard. I just keep trying. No matter what I do… No matter what I try…  These are the symptoms of trying too hard.

If you feel as if nothing is ever enough for a certain someone in your life whether it’s your mother/father, a partner or whoever, this episode is for you. A lifetime of in some way, shape or form feeling and believing that I’m “failing” as a daughter no matter what has woken me up to the realisation that enough is enough.

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Some nuggets from the episode:

  • I briefly talk about New Year’s resolutions and the whole “brand new you” mentality and commercialisation. Ultimately change has to be about becoming more of who you are, not less of it. 
  • One of the biggest objections to making real lasting change regarding habits and patterns is the misconception that we have to change who we fundamentally are. E.g. Go from introvert to extrovert or some other radical overhaul of our personality. In truth, many of the things that contribute to frustrating patterns are habits of thinking and action that we undertake not because it’s who we are but because it’s what we think others expect of us or what we’ve been programmed to be and do since childhood.

Anything that makes you fundamentally less of who you really are is a problem that’s going to lead to pain.

  • Authenticity can at times be an overused term that people don’t necessarily understand what it personally means to them. To me being authentic means doing my best to show up each day as me. Being honest about who I am, what I think, what I feel, what I’m about. Trying to show up honestly (the truth with respect). Matching my thoughts, feelings and actions.
  • I told my mother that I’m exhausted by trying, and it was a release and a relief. I used to deeply personalise her behaviour and every day I recognise little (and big) things about my habits of thinking and behaviour that are based on a lifetime of walking on eggshells and feeling, on some level, that I am not enough and that nothing I do is enough.

What a lot of people don’t realise is that a lot of their energies are invested in try-ing. Trying to please others. Trying all the time to win people over. This is how we end up saying “I don’t understand… I try so much… No matter what I try….”

  • Trying:- Making an attempt or effort to do something. Testing something new or different to see if it is suitable, effective or pleasant. Something (or someone) can also be ‘trying’ in that it makes severe demands on us.
  • As part of the day to day of being us, we can make an effort in our interpersonal relationships. Where things go awry is where we’re like “OK, let me try this…. OK let’s try this…” and lather rinse repeat because we’re trying to manage that person’s feelings, behaviour and expectations. We’re trying to manage what we regard as the undesirable aspects of life: conflict, criticism, stress, disappointment, loss, rejection and disappointment and what we might term as abandonment.
  • For some of us, we’re conscious of our trying efforts. “Right, well I’m gonna try this and this and this because that will mean that they can’t argue with me. They can’t reject or abandon me.” For some of us it’s more subtle.

We don’t realise that the way in which we present ourselves to others is by showing up by default from a place of I have to try that much harder because the underlying belief is “I’m not good enough”. If we weren’t on some level aware that we believe that we’re “not good enough” or that we think that that person thinks we aren’t, we wouldn’t feel the need to put this trying energy into things.

  • You always know that you’re trying with someone when they say or do something and what springs to mind is the unfairness given everything that you’ve tried to do. This experience is calling on you to recognise that you try too fricking hard! NOBODY has to try that hard!
  • What we have to do in our interpersonal relationships, romantic and otherwise, is show up as us.
  • Something else at the heart of this try-ing is feeling as if we have to make up for something. That we have to atone. That we have failed in some way for that person or that we are going to fail in the future so we have to try super hard now and forever more. That somehow, somewhere, if we do “enough” that we might prove ourselves. And it’s a crock. 
  • I don’t need or have to be perfect at breaking out of people-pleasing. I just need to learn from those instances that flag up to me that I’m not being as true to myself as I could be and that I am trying too hard and forgetting to love myself in that moment. 
change has to be about becoming more of who you are, not less of it.  Podcast about trying too hard and why it's unnecessary. Natalie Lue for the Baggage Reclaim Sessions.

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