What does overcompensating mean?
Most of our lives involve other people. Whether we like it or not, others are present in our home, in our town, at our work, at the supermarket – everywhere. Others who have their own beliefs, values, priorities, words, actions that may or may not match our own.
Ever since I looked into the subject of positive thinking, I kept hearing “You are responsible for your reality.” This made sense, since I’m the one who thinks, says the words, and takes the action. What most self-help gurus don’t tell us – at least not right away – is that we are not 100% responsible for our reality.
In a relationship for example, there are two people involved. We cannot control in any way what the other person does – nor should we want to – so how could we possibly be responsible for them and what they do? Of course, ideally, they would respond to the relationship based on our input in it, but many times people respond more out of their own beliefs than they respond to what we said or did.
Since I adopted the “I am responsible for my reality” and since I wanted to stop “wasting my time with negative stuff,” I began overcompensating for others. Instead of having an uncomfortable but equal and ultimately healthy conversation about a topic concerning me and the other person in the relationship (whether romantic, or not), I began taking it upon myself to focus on the positive aspects and do whatever was necessary to avoid the discomfort.
Instead of talking about who is going to do the grocery shopping, or the cooking and deciding fairly, I started doing these activities myself, since I knew there was a way for me to feel good about it, while the other person didn’t seem to enjoy these activities at all.
Short term, this may seem like a good idea. We don’t want to argue or have uncomfortable discussions, that’s natural. But we cannot shy away from these types of conversations forever more in the name of “I need to do this myself, or else I’m not being positive.”
What this has led to, in my life, is having unequal relationships and “training” everyone to think “She’ll do it,” “She’s fine with it,” “She doesn’t mind.” And while indeed, I didn’t mind doing many things and in fact, I enjoyed doing them, this has had a negative impact on my relationships and eventually it was the very thing that ended them.
In my quest to always find positive aspects in my life and relationships while trying to ignore the many lessons and improvement contrast brings to the table, the result was inevitable. This “method” didn’t work.
It’s very important in each instance (or as often as possible) to contemplate if we are really being positive, if we truly feel wonderful about the relationship aspect of whatever we are doing. Or whether we are taking it upon ourselves to do someone else’s “part” in hopes of keeping the peace or not shattering our misconception about the natural reality that not all relationships are meant to last forever more.