I’m always the one looking out for others—family, friends, boyfriends, strangers, the list goes on and on. I’ve spent too much of my time taking care of everyone else and none looking after myself. All that’s about to change—now, it’s going to be all about me.
There’s such a thing as being too caring. I’ve always been a giving person and I love that about myself. I’m always the one people come to for help or advice, I’m always looking after the people I love and I’m always there for my BFFs. But I’ve recently realized I’ve been letting all this good work come at the expense of my own well-being. I don’t have infinite energy and resources and they’ve pretty much all been going towards helping others. There’s hardly been anything left for me.
Not everyone reciprocates the gesture. This is a hard truth but it’s true. If other people poured the same amount of effort into me as I pour into them, things would probably be different, but things aren’t always equal in friendships and relationships. In fact, the sort of people who tend to gravitate towards caring, giving people are exactly the sort of people who don’t have any energy and resources to give. That’s why they seek out others to help them! I honestly think that you should help other people and take care of them because it’s a good thing to do, not because you want something back. But by the same token, if you’re not getting anything back to sustain you when you need it, you shouldn’t help people to the point where you drain your own resources. That’s what I’ve been doing and I’m done.
Looking after other people is sometimes a way to avoid dealing with your own issues. It’s easier to deal with other people’s problems – just ask my therapist! I guess some people think that if you’re really devoted to looking after other people then it means your life is uncomplicated and carefree. But if my life is anything to go by, you’re probably just in denial, or putting yourself and your own problems last, using the excuse that there are other more important things to deal with (namely, other people’s problems). Once I stopped to take stock of my own life, I realized there are actually so many things I should be putting my energy into. It’s time to prioritize!
No, I’m not being selfish. Putting yourself first feels so wrong when you first start doing it. If you’re used to erasing your own needs to look after others, it seems too self-indulgent, but actually, the only way to consistently and effectively help other people in the long-term is to make sure you’re in a good place yourself.
I’m important too. It actually took me a while to get to the point where I can say this, but there’s no reason why my own wants and needs shouldn’t matter as much as the other people in my life. I deserve to have the same level of support and I certainly deserve to get where I want in life. Nobody can do that work for me. I have to take the time to do it.
If I want to get anywhere in life, I need to start sorting mine out. I’ve been living my life for other people and it’s been holding me back. It’s time to actually sit down and figure out what I want to do for myself and then reorganize my life so that I am my own first priority. Everything else can come second for a while until I’m where I want to be.
Caring people are usually bad at looking out for themselves. This is another hard truth. We never think our problems are that important compared to other people’s issues. In fact, lots of caring people surrounded themselves with people with quite serious issues as a way of making their own issues seem less important. But if you don’t look after yourself, sooner or later you end up cracking under the pressure. Sometimes you need to just stop and self-care for a bit before going back to your altruism. I’ve finally gotten to that point in my own life.
People need to learn to look after themselves. Some people rely on me just way too much. At the point where you become a crutch rather than a vehicle for someone’s success, it’s time to take a step back and let that person figure things out by themselves for a bit.
I deserve to be happy. Helping people has always made me happy and it still does, but I’ve come to understand I want another kind of happiness too – pride in my own achievements, emotional resilience, stuff that’s really to do with me and not anyone else. It’s time to make that happen.
I’m fed up with dating projects. When you put other people first to avoid dealing with your own issues, you end up dating guys who need your help. Then you pour all your energy into hopeless relationships in an attempt to save people. I’m done with that, but unless I get to the point where I’m working on my own stuff, this is all that’s going to happen. It’s time to take a break and start making things more about me.
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