May 6, 2014

Helping Others Does Not Mean Neglecting Oneself. ~ John Kalinowski & Jami Patterson


For most of us, life is full-on.

We have dreams, goals, family, friends, errands, projects and events, some of which are fun and add to the beauty of life, while others seem to be part of the day-to-day chaos.

We may plan out our day with every intention of being happy and productive, when out of nowhere a friend or co-worker is suddenly in a crisis, or some other dilemma unexpectedly arises, vying for our attention. It’s at this moment when we have to decide how we can offer support without giving away our power and losing ourselves in the situation.

I myself have been working on curbing my tendency to try to fix everything for other people as I have come to realize that I am usually left feeling drained and unfulfilled. I was put to the test this week when, while in the middle of a Happy Warrior business pow-wow, a series of texts popped up on my phone:

I’m so overwhelmed with life

I think I’m dying

I might have a heart attack.

As alarming as these messages sound, I know this person well, and she tends to have a flair for the dramatic. So, I made a decision to give her and myself a few moments to take a breath. Once I wrapped up what was in front of me, I then replied, validating her and acknowledging how hard this year has been, and that I believe in her ability to pull through it.

It was in this way that I was able to both support her by letting her know she wasn’t alone and also empower her to solve her own problems. At the same time, I was still able to maintain a certain distance from the situation, which enabled me to stay present in my own life and avoid feeling drained.

By understanding that life is full-on for all of us, compassion is key, but as Brené Brown says,

“Compassion cannot exist without boundaries and accountability.”

We all want to help out, but it’s about finding the balance between giving support while not giving away our power.

This means that we can still complete our tasks while also feeling good about supporting the inevitable situations that will unexpectedly manifest on our radar.

Helping out does not have to mean taking time away from ourselves. Rather, it means we are choosing to Share Your Happiness without Losing Yourself.

Have a beautiful week!


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Apprentice Editor: Andrea Charpentier/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photos: Wikimedia Commons

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John Kalinowski & Jami Patterson