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Do you sometimes feel that you give too much of yourself to others? In the process of growing up, in the process becoming a person who is independent from her parents and in the process of developing yourself, we become more aware about our behaviors, feelings and believes. In the process some people, especially woman, recognize that they are too kind and too helpful.
On the surface we call it unassertive. But often it’s a deeper problem.
For me the problem was I was too helpful. If anyone asked me for anything or just said that they need something that I know I could do, then I helped, I did it, without any questions in my mind. I was giving myself for free in my free time. Or even not in my free time: neglecting my children, my home, my relationships and my work. I was helping because I could help. And I was helping every time I could help.
We are raised so: help. Especially: help people in your family.
And I ended up exhausted.
I had been giving my time, my attention, my energy without limits. THIS was a problem. If you have tendency to give too much of yourself, you are likely to come to this point.
At the same time I’ve started to see how other people behave, even my family. Did they gave as much as I? Did I got from them what I needed in terms of help in my daily tasks or extraordinary challenges? Did I got time or understanding from them? Have they given me energy?
I’m grateful that I’ve recognized it in my life. Because it’s the starting point of getting my life back to me.
What to do when you realize that you give too much of yourself?
1. Start setting boundaries.
It can be a life-long process of creating and then evaluating and changing your rules.
Decide how much time daily or in a week you need to have for yourself. Decide after what time you are free to sleep or to switch off your phone and take a break in being available for others.
2. Don’t feel guilty.
At the beginning you will feel bad when you don’t start right away giving yourself when someone says he needs help with something you know you can do. Give time for the feeling to change. Give them attention. Remind yourself why you’re setting boundaries.
3. Observe other people.
Do people who you can observe give so much of themselves? Do they help at all? What kind of limits do they have: whom they help, in what kind of situation (only emergency?), how much time, energy and attention do they give? How much are they available to others?
4. Love yourself.
You’re a beautiful and important person. You are allowed to have free time, to sleep good, to organize your day how you want it to be. You’re free to use your time, energy and attention for work and other activities that give profit to you.
Respect your time. Respect your work. If you won’t, other people won’t start respecting you too. Sometimes what you call help should really be a situation when you ask for money for what you do. Be sure you don’t underappreciate yourself.
Don’t look for stress and busyness.
Let yourself live your life. Take your free time and do what gives you joy or do nothing. Sleep well. Eat tasty.
5. Then give and help.
Giving and helping ARE good, great and needed. They show your love and your care to other people. When you help, someone can be grateful. You end someone’s worries. It’s beautiful. It’s needed. It’s a treasure.
Give yourself for free. Just not always. Not every day. Not forgetting about yourself.
Just set your limits and respect them.