One of the challenges that life presents for some of us is knowing where and with whom to invest our good qualities. When we’re driven by being a ‘good person’ and avoiding people’s judgement and criticism, it makes us afraid of putting ourselves first. As a result, we deprioritise our needs, desires, expectations, feelings and opinions, burn out, and keep trusting the wrong people. Sound familiar? You need to start putting yourself first.
There’s no doubt about it: some people are very out for themselves and have an eat-or-be-eaten mentality. If the proverbial aeroplane were in trouble, they’d hit the eject button and be sailing past your window in their parachute (and possibly holding yours as a precautionary measure) in the time it’s taken you to try to work out how to save them.
They’re also the type that if there were the potential for them to get in trouble, they’d have no problem dropping you in it. This is the type of malarkey you hope to leave behind at school but that you might find that you’re encountering at work, with friendships or even with romantic partners. Hell, it might be a family member! As a result, you may have a disproportionate fear of being like any of the people that frustrate and upset you.
If you’re exhausted, resentful, tired of being taken advantage of, tired of being last in line, are sometimes grappling with disillusionment or even depression, and are near giving you an ulcer (or other symptoms of ill health) from worrying about being or doing things that might make anyone else remotely uncomfortable, halt.
I hear you. You want to be a “good person”, and you think it’s in your nature to look out for everyone, but halt.
It’s time to look out for you. Yes, that means, wait for it, putting you first.
No, you don’t need to join the ranks of the shady who don’t give a damn about how they go about meeting their needs, but you do need to start caring about you at the same time as you do others. You do know that the two things are not mutually exclusive, don’t you?
Saying no and having healthy boundaries isn’t about giving up your positive qualities; instead, you’re embodying them in a way that supports and nourishes you also.
There is a line to giving and you’re way over it when you cater to someone else’s needs while effectively putting you out of pocket. Sure, that could be financially, but it refers just as much to time, energy, emotions, boundaries, dignity, security and your overall wellbeing.
You’re not a bottomless pit. You are responsible for how much you give and give and give and do and do and do. It’s time to respect and nurture your bandwidth and boundaries.
Yes, people ‘shouldn’t’ just take take take and even test the boundaries in an attempt to guilt, shame and emotionally blackmail you into the giving and doing. However, you’ve got to acknowledge your receptiveness and the fact that there are other “good”, “giving”, “loving” people in the world who also say NO. You can be one of them.
Putting you first allows you to put the people, things and opportunities that matter to you first, too.
Good, giving, loving people who also have healthy boundaries at the same time are discerning about who and where they invest themselves. And they do this, not because they are “conditional” or “selfish”, but because they value themselves, their loved ones and the integrity of their relationships. They’ve learned that the price of being an overgiver and failing to use NO is too high. They’ve also realised that if they take care of themselves and others, they don’t rob themselves and the people who love and respect them by throwing their energies after the wrong kind of people and situations.