We want to be nice, so we lend money to a friend, who has just wasted his/her on a brand-new car.
We want to be helpful so we solve colleague’s problem when we’re not asked/obliged.
We want to be loyal to the company or our boss, so we keep working several hours beyond 6 pm, answering phone and replying to email on weekends. No overtime pay, of course, just “Thank you. You’re a good man.”
We eager to be trustworthy, so we take more and more responsibilities, until we burn out.
We want to be loved, oh yes, we really do. So we dump our feelings, dreams and our general life plan to accommodate someone else’s wishes.
And then, when we get a nervous breakdown, when we experience total moral, psychological and physical exhaustion, they say: “Oh, what a pity, you should take care of yourself. Take care, darling. See you!”.
And then suddenly we begin seeing this situation from a very different angle. Suddenly we see consequences very clearly. Loyalty results in abuse, amiability turns into exploitation.
If you’re not loyal, you’re fired. If you’re not nice to friends, they will turn their back on you.
Yes, they will.
Another scenario is a miserable life full of fear, regret, frustration and low self-esteem. If you like to suffer, perhaps that is what you want.
But if not, then I encourage you to spend time on some self-reflecting. I encourage you to take a look at all social interactions you have in your life and define: are they based on equity and care or are they nothing but an unfavorable product of your low self-respect?
You can’t help others until you take care of yourself. You already have this experience of making everyone around you comfortable, satisfying their desires. Where did this path lead you? Have you reached harmony and fulfillment? Really?
How do you take care of yourself? By taking control.
How do you take control? You set boundaries and you lay down conditions.
And here’s the most important part: if the boundaries and conditions you’ve set, get violated, you act on it.
You don’t softpedal it, you don’t play things cool. Otherwise consider nothing has changed. So what was the point of the whole thing? Continue living your life as you used to.
Don’t allow this situation fade away. Because if you do, it will chase you, and you’re going to face it again and again, in different shapes. Until you learn the lesson.
If you really do care about your life, then do what you promised to do if your conditions got violated.
You said to your boss that you quit, if this and this conditions are not met? Then do quit!
You said to your friends you stop any relationship with them, if they continue making joke of you? Then do it! Stop returning their calls.
Put bluntly, most people don’t give a shit about each other. Have you ever passed by a funeral? Did you genuinely personally care that some unknown person dies? I bet, no. That’s not your fault. That’s just how life works.
Don’t be afraid to disappoint a few people who really don’t care about your well-being as a person. Yes, it may seem that they do… while you bring them something they need. But when you stop doing that, well, you know.
Trust your own guts. If the food feels like it turned sour, then it did turn sour!
If intuition tells you that this person, this job, this way of living is harming you in a psychological or physical way, then it really is.
Don’t delude yourself into thinking that everything is great, when it’s not. You’ll only make things worse.
When you’re reading these lines, do you have a feeling that you already know it? That you know that your life is so unbalanced? That you give much more than you get in return?
The only reason it’s happening to you is because you didn’t care about yourself properly. Face this truth and accept it.
You’ve got to start taking care of yourself. Because if not you, then who?