I would like everyone around me to succeed.
I like the idea of everyone I love and care about being unbelievably happy.
My mother sees this as “broken-wing syndrome.” She thinks that I am attracted to those in need, people I can “fix,” people to focus on so I can stop focusing on myself.
Other people can seem so much more important to us than we are to ourselves. Doing this gives us a sense of control; in helping others we believe that we are gaining the other person’s respect, admiration and love.
After all, who doesn’t want to feel love?
Sometimes we think we can achieve this by making somebody else our own personal success story. By resting our identity on someone else, we base our entire victory or lack thereof upon him or her.
In the process, however, it’s easy to lose touch with ourselves. We forget about our own goals and ambitions while we uphold someone else’s.
How do we set boundaries in order to not lose ourselves?
We crave acceptance, we cannot stand not having power over what happens in our lives—so why not shift our attention to someone else whom we can devote all our time to? It’s self-assuring, knowing that we’re such good people cause here we are, helping somebody else find their place in the world.
It feels like compassion, but really it’s sometimes a way of projecting our own insecurities on somebody else—once we exhaust ourselves, it’s not really our fault.
When we drain ourselves by dedicating too much energy to another, we then make ourselves the victims.
In this way, we aren’t actually taking responsibility for ourselves. It also gives us some kind of “hold” on said person—after all, who could leave us after we have done so much for them?
We don’t think that we are doing things for this person in order to “get” something back…but we have to admit that a little loyalty goes a long way.
Setting boundaries is so challenging; I just want to help everyone. I just want to not think about myself, I just want this person to admire my good will and selflessness. I don’t want this feeling to go away.
I hereby promise myself:
>> To practice being kind rather than right and in control
>> To start setting boundaries and depend on myself for acknowledgement and self-affirmation
>> To stop making myself so available and become available for myself
>> To make sure I can fill my cup instead of trying to fill everybody else’s
>> To stop creating unrealistic expectations for myself
>> To be conscious of my reality and offering my support in a sustainable manner
>> To become empowered while still caring for myself and others
>> To stop feeling guilty for tending to my own needs
>> To realize my value
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Tim Pierce/Flickr