The mistake that most women make when dealing with consistent feelings of worthlessness, unhappiness and burnout, is that they try to catch a break through the wrong outlets.
One of the ways that may lead you to burnout is when you show a lot of concern and care for people around you such as your own family members, but in the process you put the care and concern for yourself last.
“To finally catch a break, you often find yourself turning compulsively to romance novels, overeating, or turning back to your unwanted sexual behaviors because it’s the quickest and easiest way to get that break.”
This puts you in a place where you are consistently feeling burnt out, unable to catch a break, overextended, down, low on energy through your well-intentioned service to others.
And to finally catch a break, you often find yourself turning compulsively to romance novels, overeating, or turning back to your unwanted sexual behaviors because it’s the quickest and easiest way to get that break.
So why is this a mistake?
While having too much on your plate and being overextended may be contributing to feelings of burnout, what you may not realize is what exactly is causing you to consistently be in a place of overextension and burnout, that is leading to the feelings of worthlessness and unhappiness.
Take for example Sumaya*, who in order to feel good enough, went above and beyond in taking care of the needs of her sisters and parents. She took it upon herself to take care of her siblings, often taking her mother’s role at the expense of herself, even though there were other options on the table.
When I asked her about the underlying fear or belief that is driving her for taking too much on her plate, she responded:
“I’m afraid of getting in trouble with my mom. If I don’t do what I’m supposed to, it means I’m not good.”
Sumaya was losing herself through taking care of the needs of others by neglecting her own needs and self care.
While she had a positive intent in helping out her family, ultimately it was driven by a fear of getting in trouble, and therefore not being “good.”
And in the pursuit of wanting to feel good enough, Sumaya overextended herself to her family, leading her to burnout, and in her own words, “unable to catch a break.”
To catch that break, she resorted to her unwanted behaviors as the only relief and comfort she could find, as well as a way to numb out from the feeling that she is not “good.”
Despite all the good she did, the pressure of being good enough did not go away for Sumaya. She also felt doubly bad because in the process of neglecting herself, she had transgressed spiritually by acting out sexually.
Each and everyone of us has voids or hidden fears. For some it could be about wanting to feel good enough, for others it could be about being loved, or not being abandoned, and for some it comes about when we are unable to trust others. These unspoken fears are what push us to neglect ourselves and put ourselves last.
“… To make a change that’s sustaining and protects you from this endless cycle, is to learn how to develop self compassion for yourself, as well as give yourself that love and validation.”
Similarly, you may be driven by the fear of not being “good enough.” You may feel that your service to people was not enough and you could have done more. But deep down, what you may not realize is that it is never enough.
And so the cycle keeps going. The next time you are confronted by your feelings of worthlessness, and unhappiness, or burnout, you keep overextending yourself to meet this void of not being “good enough.” When that is not met, you actively seek the next fix to numb out from these feelings through your unwanted sexual behaviors.
What you can do to make a change that’s sustaining and protects you from this endless cycle, is to learn how to develop self compassion for yourself, as well as give yourself that love and validation instead of seeking it through people or unhealthy behaviors.
What’s really important is giving yourself a safe space to work with these unspoken fears and understand where they are coming from, so that you are able to finally liberate yourself from them in sha Allah.
Through healing from these fears, the need to turn to unhealthy behaviors would naturally change its course as you look to find ways to love yourself by honouring your needs.
For Sumaya, it was recognizing that deep down, she is good and that goodness is not contingent on what she does or does not do. She does have inherent value as a human being and it is from this worth that she can truly show concern for her family.
Alhamdullilah she does not have to be driven by this fear anymore.