Today it seems as if everyone is out for themselves. It appears that people take little to no thought of others, and in a way, this is true, however; I believe what we are experiencing now is a complete shift in the way people think. This shift includes how we view what it means to authentically show love and not just romantic love but love in general and more specifically, love for oneself.
This shift has resulted in people’s eyes open to the fact that a lot of what we have been taught about expressing love when stripped of the superficial intents that hide just beneath the surface of this “love” is nothing more than self-sacrifice. You may ask “But doesn’t true love require sacrifice?” and the answer is “Absolutely”, but (and this is key) not to the expense of losing your[self] worth, confidence, and peace of mind.
We fundamentally know the best way to love others is to learn to love yourself first, right? So why are there so many people that still give to the point of resentment? They are seeking approval and validation – of love, of being lovable, and of being good enough. So many people are worried about how others will view them because deep down there is a lack of self-esteem. Oooooh we don’t like to admit the truth when it applies to us but the truth shall set you free!
The good news, as I mentioned before, is the obvious shift in our thinking that will affect our decisions in every area of our lives. People are finally deciding to do what makes them happy and honestly, this isn’t a bad thing, except for those that are resistant to change.
If you are one of those people that have a hard time with finding the balance between being there and showing love for your loved ones and being there and showing love for yourself, I have a few tips for you to consider integrating into your everyday life that may help ease the stress that comes from trying to balance it all. They will also, in the process, help you build your self-confidence which is vital because you can’t possibly give time, love, and attention to anyone else until you take care of yourself first. It seems the solution to this problem is simple, but sometimes easier said than done, especially for those who feel obligated to be there for the people they care about.
Here are my six tips on how to take care of you too:
Know your limits
There’s no way to set boundaries unless you know your limits. Just because you have a heart of gold doesn’t mean you should give to the point that you end up with a heart full of resentment. This is not fair to you or your loved ones.
P.S. This is where self- awareness comes in
Setting boundaries is non-negotiable when it comes to self-care. I used to be stricken with the “need to please” disease, but constantly giving to others coupled with a lack of boundaries is a bad combination. Once you know your limits, setting boundaries will eventually become second nature. Not doing so, can and will lead to feelings of resentment and will leave the recipient of your selfless giving feeling puzzled about your sudden and inconsistent bouts of coldness.
As I thought deeper on this subject I couldn’t help but ask myself “Is it even possible to be selfless and still practice self-preservation?” and the answer is a resounding “Yes“.
In fact, it is necessary to do both simultaneously. It is especially important to start being aware of when you have given too much in any capacity. You must begin to do things a little different. The days of giving too much and not realizing until it’s too late need to stop right here and right now.
Learn to say no and be okay with it
Even if, and especially when it’s uncomfortable to do this, you much learn to say no. This means saying no when the act of giving to others will take away from your true self. It is not uncommon for people who give selflessly to feel a sense of guilt when needing to say no to someone they love and would otherwise do anything for. It is necessary to be okay with saying no because when you make your boundaries clear it teaches people how to treat you. This is great way to practice self-preservation, especially if this is an area that you struggle with.
Be consistent in your actions
Once you have made your boundaries known and become comfortable with saying no, it is crucial to be consistent in your actions. Failing to do so will send a clear message that you can be persuaded to do something you really don’t want to do (again).
Just say no! If you don’t gather up the confidence to say no when necessary, you will regret it later because you will end up feeling as if your kind heart has been taken advantage of.
Which brings me to the next point:
Make time for yourself
When you make time for yourself outside of taking care and giving to others, it creates balance in your life that will prevent feelings of resentment from surfacing. This is especially true in the case where you give freely and it seems to go unappreciated or is taken for granted. When you give love and attention to yourself, it means you recognize that you matter too.
Sever ties with people that won’t respect your boundaries
This one can be tough because this one is all inclusive, be it one of your closest friends or even a family member. If someone doesn’t respect your boundaries then ultimately, that person has no respect for you. When it comes to close friends and family, it only makes sense to have a heart to heart with that person, but if after having that talk, that individual is still okay with taking from you until you have nothing left to give, it doesn’t matter who they are, it’s time to sever ties. Actions will show that person far better than your words ever could. Get out your scissors and cut the ties! Show ’em better than you can ever tell them!
Take your loses and move on. Initially, this may feel uncomfortable (only because you are doing something different) but once you do what is uncomfortable, the sense of empowerment you will gain will be well worth a moment of discomfort.
Can you think of other ways that may help someone else who struggles with balancing giving of themselves versus giving to themselves? If so, feel free to leave your comments below.