I was raised under very traditional values and morals. For me, it was in my nature to be kind and giving but it was also reinforced by my parents. All I ever knew was to help others.
There is something to gain from making another person smile. It feels so good to do a good deed, to help another. Nothing, in my opinion is more rewarding.
I am very guilty of going out of my way for others, with little regard for the cost that may be inflicted on me.
To take a material context, Christmas is my favourite holiday. I am the first person to tell people not to worry about spoiling me, I’m easy to please. Yet I will happily spend hundreds on those I love and get in debt, just to see them smile.
You see, to make others happy, gives me this sense of ecstasy and it can be hard to know when I need to stop trying so hard.
I have always wanted to be the person that people remember as kind. I want to have my memory as a good one, once I am dead. The idea of my legacy being compassion and empathy is my goal.
The problem, is not just at the cost of my assets, but being a people pleaser can drain you from your own success and mental health. Sometimes we can give everything we have to another with little gratitude or thanks.
In school, I really wanted to be excepted by my peers, I just wanted to be liked. I was so tired of being bullied that I decided the only way to stop it, was to befriend them.
Sadly they did not care for my desire to stick to the rules and get the grades. So for a whole term, I refused to do any work, I failed and even got 0% on my report card. I was so desperate to fit in that I gave up every chance of going to college or achieving academically. This sacrifice came so easy, when it shouldn’t have.
Grades aren’t everything, it’s okay if you are not an Einstein. However, to give up your own skills, dreams and success to impress another is not right. People are temporary but you are stuck with yourself for the rest of your life, so you are the priority – remember that!
As I mentioned, many of us who are people pleasers at the cost of our mental health. We desire to help others so much that we become a doormat, we no longer see ourselves as important – but that’s not really living. It’s very easy to be taken for granted when you have been made to live for others.
I could list specific examples of this but there is so much. I spent two decades putting everyone else in front of me; all it left me with was more trauma and layers than an onion. I now need to have long and thorough therapy to heal because of this.
We need to remember that though we should always be kind. We need to know when to say no and stick to our limits. Sometimes we need to put ourselves at the front of the line.
Why do we go out of our way to hurt our well-being just for the sake of another? This is so prevalent in work and school. What’s the point of sacrificing our sanity for outdated societal expectations?
I am incredibly selfish now and I am not ashamed of that. I am number one in my life (next to my doggy). This does not mean that I am rude or unkind. It means that I know what I want from my life and that is my priority. I also understand my limits and I know when to stop.
We cannot look after our mental health if we do not want to look after ourselves. Mental health is more important than a diet, exercise or success; we cannot focus on any of those things if we are too ill to leave bed, or even end our life.
We are not put on this earth to live for others. We are individuals and should live our life per that definition.
So, stop worrying about what others are thinking or doing. Start following your own path and working on your future. Think about the legacy you want to leave behind – you can be known for your good nature without giving away you lifetime.
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