Do you put other people’s needs before your own?
Do you put other people’s feelings and happiness before your own?
Do you often find yourself going the extra mile to please others so as to earn their acceptance?
Do you help people that are struggling so that you feel wanted and needed, just to find yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically drained?
Well, I know I do.
There have been many times when I’ve put other people first. Times when I’ve prioritized other people’s needs, feelings, happiness, goals, and problems over my own. Times when I’ve forgotten to give myself the love I’ve always given to others.
The constant need to help others was a part of a people-pleasing pattern driven by guilt. Other people’s acceptance and appreciation made me feel good about myself.
You see, over the years came many relationship breakdowns, heartbreaks, career problems, insecurity, and anxiety.
And whenever a problem appeared in my relationships, both romantic and otherwise, I considered it my responsibility to solve it. Although I had good intentions, this, in fact, made me separate from the relationship. It made me become more like a repairman observing it from the outside.
When it comes to my work, I took on so many responsibilities and tasks that it left me exhausted and stressed out and it made me distance myself from my coworkers. I thought that they were avoiding me since I was not doing enough. But in fact, I was doing way too much.
At the time I didn’t understand how my actions were disturbing the balance of my relationships. I couldn’t figure out why I kept distancing myself from my loved ones.
The turning point was when I realized how cruel and selfish I was being to myself. By trying harder for everyone around me and for criticizing myself for where I was failing to help and support those who I thought needed my help I was crueler to myself.
I realized that if I was to become a really kind, compassionate, and loving person, I needed to begin learning to be kind to and compassionate toward myself. I needed to begin learning to take good care of and love myself.
But I must admit that it was difficult. I had to stop regularly be the most empathetic, compassionate, patient, and caring person around. I had to prevent myself in any way possible from solving an issue that someone could fix easily for themselves.
For instance, unless my best friend specifically asked me to help fix a problem for him, I learned to empathize with him and encourage him to solve it for himself.
So, by learning to hold back, I learned to wean myself off the feel-good boosts I got from rescuing others. I learned other important things too. I learned that you should always:
Accept and cherish yourself for who you are.
You aren’t perfect. But, hey, guess what?
No one is.
And you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to always try to be there for and help others so as to feel like you’re good enough. Because the number of people you’ve helped and the number of goals you’ve accomplished today can’t give you the proof that you are enough. Remember – you’re perfect just the way you are.
Be your own best friend.
Treat yourself the same way you’d treat a good friend. Treat yourself with kindness, patience, and generosity. Treat yourself with respect and dignity. Be honest with yourself. Don’t tolerate things that you wouldn’t ask a friend to tolerate. Take good care of and love yourself from the bottom of your heart.
Stop putting other people first.
No, I’m not telling you that you need to become selfish. All I am saying is that you should never prioritize other people’s happiness over your own. You should never put your feelings, needs, priorities, wishes, and problems last.
It isn’t always easy to be patient. But, once you are headed in the right direction, you will begin to feel better about yourself each week. You will also feel less of a need to help and rescue everyone around you so as to earn their approval and get them to appreciate you. And you’ll undoubtedly become as truly good a friend to yourself as you’re to others.