Is It Worth It?

My mom has these great one-liners, many of which I’ve stolen and used in my career to help people like they’ve helped me. All of them still echo in the background of my childhood. I can even see mom’s facial expression and hear her tone when she’d say certain ones. I’m so grateful for a mom that taught me so much.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, like many people, I started getting addicted to a dangerous drug: people-pleasing. That’s the age where you’re independent enough to do stuff for others (drive them places, buy them things, etc.) and insecure enough to care very deeply about what everyone on the planet thinks. It’s a dangerous combination for sure.

Having my own car and money—combined with my desire to make everyone like me—would lead me to stress myself out by voluntarily doing things for other people. (Let’s be honest, not much has changed.)

We do that, don’t we? We voluntarily insert ourselves and commit to do things for other people that may or may not be a good idea.

“Oh I’ll bring that casserole. It’s no problem.” (You have no groceries or time. It actually is a problem.)

“I can pick up the pizza. It’s on my way.” (It’s actually way out of your way during rush hour.)

Or we dream up scenarios that are ridiculous and impossible to live up to, and then hold ourselves to an impossible scenario that we created.

I’ll surprise my husband tonight by cleaning the entire house and making a home-cooked meal before he gets home from work. (You get off work at the same time that he does. This is physically impossible unless he works three states away.)

We put ourselves in these situations and then resent the very same stressful situation we find ourselves in. When my mom started seeing this pattern in me, she told me to start asking this question:

“Is it worth it to them for what it’s going to take out of you?”

And y’all, I use this technique to this day. It’s brilliant. In every scenario where your commitments have you strained and stressed and stretched thin, ask yourself that question.

Is it worth it to them for what it’s going to take out of you?

Maybe it is. Maybe no one else can bring that casserole. Maybe home-cooked casserole is the only available food because there are no takeout restaurants for 100 miles of you, and it’s imperative that you rush yourself around getting groceries to make said casserole. Maybe.

Maybe no one else can get the pizza, so you have to take one for the team and go out of the way to get it. Maybe so.

In those instances, the answer to the question would be yes and you would proceed accordingly.

But maybe it’s not. I’ve realized that when I shut up, someone else usually steps up. Or maybe you work to wrestle your Suzie-Homemaker Pinterest-Perfect Peer Pressure standard you hold yourself to and instead just bring Chinese takeout.

Maybe your husband doesn’t care about a clean house or home-cooked meal. Maybe he’d rather have a relaxed, happy wife that night instead.

The best part of this question is that you get to decide how you answer it.

Is it worth it to them for what it’s going to take out of you?