Being Everything to Everybody

stressed woman, holding head and screaming

Many of my clients and friends are truly everything to everybody . . . and they are truly miserable. They are the perfect wives, the perfect mothers, the go-to women at work, adoring daughters, and the always-available friend. They are also completely pissed off, resentful, and bordering on walking away from everyone.

Since when did being everything to everybody become a good thing?

Giving of our time and energy to those we love is often an important aspect of who we are. However, doing so at the expense of those very same relationships and our sanity really doesn’t make much sense. There are times when we need to be everything to ourselves and better balance the other relationships in our lives. Dropping everything for a friend in crisis makes sense. Dropping everything whenever any friend calls, doesn’t.
Doing things for our children and then resenting them for it also doesn’t make much sense. Either do something for them and do it gladly or don’t do it at all. Being a martyr for your children hurts your relationship with them far more than having them do some (or many) things on their own. Same with our partners and our co-workers.
When we do things for people that they are both capable of doing themselves and are too demanding for us, we hurt all involved. We are not meant to be everything for everyone. We are meant to have happy and fulfilled lives through relationships, but also through our own well-being.
It’s time to set some appropriate limits for yourself. Don’t say yes right away. Say, “I need to think about that. I’ll get back to you soon.” And then really think about the right thing to do for both you and the other person. Remember, if you say yes because you feel guilty, you are likely to also feel resentful.
Saying no is hard. Setting limits for yourself can also be hard, but being miserable is a lot harder. It’s time to stop being everything for everybody and start being you. You will be benefiting yourself, your family, and all of those that love you. If taking care of yourself doesn’t work for those around you, then maybe you shouldn’t be around them.


Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC

Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC

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by Dr. Lisa Kaplin
Do you long for more energy? Do you wish you could walk into any room and feel happy and confident? Do you simply want to enjoy your life more – personally and professionally? You can. Too many women today are doing more, but feeling less satisfied. Life doesn’t have to be that way. With small tweaks and simple strategies, you can enjoy a great life with soaring self-confidence, a good sense of well-being, and plenty of laughter. This easy-to-read yet profoundly impactful book will be all you need to join the tribe of smart women living inspired lives. Your life gets better right now.

About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, PCC

headshot of Lisa KaplinCertified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.

I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.


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The Star Trek Theory Running Guilt Commentary
The Star Trek Theory
Running Guilt Commentary

Comments to “Being Everything to Everybody”

  1. I just had a conversation about feeling stifled at home with my GM today. It took me reading this here to realize he’s really being more than a boss. I’m way too old to be living with my parents and I think I’ve let myself be bullied into thinking it’s in my best interest to remain at home. No one at home has any respect for me and they act like the house will crumble if I don’t come support it with my shoulders. Every time I broach the topic of leaving, the emotional blackmail begins. It’s so frustrating. No relief anywhere. My friends tell me the office will function without me, my family tell me my friends will move on if I don’t do it for them and my colleagues tell me I need to take a stand at home and quit putting my life on hold for people who are living theirs. All true. But how easy is it to get yourself out of the rut? I think the only way to survive is to leave the city but I feel too old to be doing this now. Lisa I hear you loud and clear but I’m afraid. I know it’s pathetic but it’s the truth.