Are You Doing Life Backwards?


Ever been to a backwards party before? It’s a real thing I promise – Google it or explore the many ideas on Pinterest! As the name suggests, you want to do everything imaginable backwards for this party whether you are celebrating a birthday, graduation, a promotion, or some other event worthy of celebrating!

A few backwards party ideas:

  • Invitations with everything written backwards like this: “Please come to celebrate” would be: etarbelec ot emoc esaelP.
  • Encourage everyone to wear their clothes backwards and reverse their hair styles.
  • Ask everyone to enter via the backdoor.
  • Greet everyone with “goodbye.”
  • Write everyone’s name backwards on the name tags.
  • Hang the Happy Birthday Banner (or Happy Graduation Banner or…) backwards.
  • Skip the helium and hang the balloons by a string from the ceiling.
  • Serve dessert first and then the main dish followed by the salad and finish up with appetizers.
  • Play games backwards – pin the donkey on the tail, walk backwards while playing musical chairs, or have your guests duck or walk backwards (or both) while playing limbo.

As you can see there are a myriad of ways to get creative with a backwards party! I am confident your guests will have lots of laughs and a truly good time!

In life, however, when you do things backwards it is no laughing matter! Doing life backwards is an attempt to get your needs and desires met in unproductive ways; needs and desires like these:

Here’s what I mean. The temptation is to engage in activities in an attempt to get what you need and/or to feel better about yourself. I call that engaging in the “P’s”.

  • Protecting

In an attempt to enjoy safety, you keep others at a distance or you might work overtime trying to preserve your reputation. The underlying belief is that if people really knew you they would not like you, think less of you, not respect you or…

  • Producing

Trying to gain significance, approval, or applause by what you do. It’s easy to let work take over whether you are a mom or a CEO.

  • Perfection

Trying to be perfect – the impossible goal and because it’s impossible, it often leads to procrastination.

  • Performing

Being on all the time, attempting to wow everyone with your skills, talents, or abilities.

  • Pleasing

You spin your wheels trying to make everyone happy, often at your own expense. Sadly it rarely accomplishes what you want it to.

  • Promoting

Making sure everyone knows how wonderful you are.

  • Putting Others Down

You might not even realize you’re doing this; perhaps you aren’t even verbalizing your thoughts, but maybe you are thinking them. Comparing?

  • Putting Yourself Last

Not taking the time to invest in yourself so that you can pour into the lives of others without depleting yourself.

Your motivation for engaging in a rigorous self-care regimen could even be to feel better about yourself – eat right, get enough sleep, exercise, take time to connect with others, and get a massage every other week.

You know I am all about self-care – it’s just that self-care is not the starting point. Attempting to pursue the “P’s” is not the starting point. That’s what’s backwards.

The only way to truly fill yourself up is to focus on your Father and His extravagant love for YOU; linger in His presence and delight in His unconditional love. This isn’t a Sunday thing. It’s not a Christmas and Easter thing – it’s an every single day thing. And because it’s a relationship, what that looks like for you might look different than it does for me. It might even look different in the various seasons of your life.

When you know you are loved, unconditionally loved, it allows you to walk freely in who God created you to BE. You are then able to reflect that love and take care of yourself so that you can then pass that love on to others…minus all the “P’s”.

Another way!

Instead of doing life backwards, let your starting point be soaking in His love; letting His love fill you up. Not only does His love whisk away fear, it also frees you to care for yourself, so that you can then care for others. It is living from Him, not for Him, or for anyone else for that matter!

Pursuing the “P’s” is draining. It takes a whole lot of energy! And it leads to fear, frustration, and feelings of rejection.

Resting in His love is invigorating! It diminishes, and over time, negates the need to practice the “P’s” and ironically fulfills the needs and desires you were attempting to get met on your own.  You can relax and depend on Him, which ultimately increases your confidence, peace, and joy! Then you can THRIVE personally and professionally! You will be free to BE in all areas of your life!

When you fill up, but never pour out it, the effect is just not the same.

When you pour out, but don’t allow His love to change how you treat you, the effect is not the same. You will only love others to the extent that you love you. So when you know that you are loved, you can practice self-care, so that you have something to give to others – truly make a difference!

So practically speaking, what does this look like?

It might mean that I make space before work to spend time with God and exercise, maybe even journal, so that I arrive at work prepared to face the day and can work more efficiently. Because I know I am loved and I know who He created me to BE, I let that drive me throughout the day. It won’t make my day perfect – there will still be the unexpected, but it will alter how I face those surprises. It will allow me to see the options rather than feeling defeated.

Or it might mean that I can be more vulnerable in my relationships – no protecting, performing, or need to be perfect, just me being authentically me. My vulnerability is contagious and those around me engage in more authentic ways too, and that leads to deeper more satisfying connections.

From that loved place, I might take a wild risk and do something I would ordinarily not dare to do, but because I felt His leading and His love I stepped out. Now I am able to use my skills in ways that are incredibly meaningful to me.

A backwards party – that’s sounds like a whole lot of fun. A backwards every day – no thank you!

What would it look like if you stopped doing life backwards? How is it limiting you personally and/or professionally?

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.


  1. Tom McGuigan on January 30, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    My take-home line: Living from Him Not for him.

    I’m not sure I fill up on God at all. I have received Christ as my savior as a kid, taught Sunday school for years, I believe the Bible front to back but have recently looked at the old testament as a history book of who God is, but not pertinent to me today. I pray at dinner, give to compassion international, go to church every Sunday and truly care for people in need except the homeless. I think that homelessness is a job chosen by people who do not want to pay taxes and are not responsible to maintain a real job. Homelessness should be outlawed. I do not give to the homeless and I do not give to the mission as I do not want our town to be comfortable to attract more homeless people. I will give to programs that help people find jobs.

    I related to the P’s – I do those things a lot. They seem to be things I think are required to be self-employed in the real estate business. if I don’t cater to someone’s needs then the next realtor will.

    Lots to ponder

    • Marvae on January 30, 2019 at 6:04 pm

      Much of it boils down to your motivation.

      If you are living for Him typically it is an attempt to fill yourself up and/or to avoid your Fear Monster.

      Living from Him – is about trusting Him to fill you up; to help you operate your business in the best possible way because your focus is on reflecting Him and loving others in your unique way.

      It may seem subtle, but it is a powerful difference. The “P’s” are about what you can do; your efforts, which leads to striving and stress. He wants to work through you which is a place of peace, joy, and rest. He does the heavy lifting.

      Pondering…a good “P”! 🙂

  2. Tom McGuigan on January 30, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    I don’t think I like the term “Fear Monster”

    But I like the sound of: Peace, Joy and Rest : )

    • Marvae on January 31, 2019 at 1:01 pm

      No worries – you can call it something else. 🙂

      Peace, joy, & rest are pretty sweet!

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