The title of this post might be a bit misleading as that only grazes the surface of a series of issues I will try to cover in this one post. As we look deeper into this problem, you’ll see how being authentic and not being apologetic about it is needed, also drawing healthy boundaries is crucial, and finally dealing with old beliefs about being selfish if you decide to take care of yourself before others.
I’ll start off with the example of when someone asks you for a favour, and you don’t feel good about it, do you do it so that you look like a good person, or do it because it’s “expected” since you’re a reliable guy, or do you do it because you’ll feel guilty if you don’t comply? Stop and think about any of these 3 options for a moment. Now if you ask me, it seems like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. I’ll try to clarify this for you a little more. If you do this favour for that person because you’re trying to look good, are you being authentic? If not, you’ll be experiencing some form of resistance. Likewise for the other option, if you’re expected to do something, is that your true nature, or are you just trying to live up to the label people or society has put on you? Finally if you’re doing something because you just feel guilty, is that even a good reason at all? These 3 scenarios can bring up terrible resentful feelings that to me, don’t seem like you’re honouring yourself or being authentic. So are you really being selfish or egotistical? Let’s explore this even further.
When we allow others to step over into our personal boundaries, we’re lowering ourselves to their level. You’re essentially giving your personal power away to others and not learning to value your own feelings. I know a lot of us have been taught this concept in life, to put others first, but if you’ve been following me on my YouTube channel or just reading my blog here, you’ll know I’m here to break belief systems and to teach you how to empower yourself.
Well coming from a past abusive relationship many years ago, I’ve realized that putting others before yourself is a very dangerous thing. You actually begin to lose your sense of self. You condition yourself to be second in line, and that you don’t really matter that much. Possibly because I’m Asian, this might contribute to this type of thinking, but I’m sure this is more common than not in other cultures. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not advocating not helping or caring for others, but be sure to take care of your own mental health first before others. This includes limiting people from your life, or even cutting people out of your life of need be. If you’ve indicated time and time again where you draw the line, yet they keep pushing your boundaries or manipulating you with passive aggressive tactics, it might be time to cut the ties. It isn’t your place to help every individual, as not every individual can or want to receive help from their current place of understanding. Also remember, the onus isn’t on you as you don’t owe anybody anything. You should be responsible for your own state of mind, and so should they.
Here are a few key points I came up with during my introspection, and eventually, I came to a satisfied conclusion. These can apply to anyone, but as an instructor of sorts, I need to be more vigilant in observing my emotions and the actions I take in life. Maybe some of these may help you too.
1) I have issues to resolve still, but if I don’t start now, I’ll never start helping others. I mean I can’t wait for perfection, otherwise I’d have to be a saint before I start helping. I might not be at the front of the line, but I don’t believe I’m at the end of the line either so there are others that can still learn from me and my mistakes. We are all trying to do the best that we can after all.
2) I’m not trying to be someone I’m not. I’m human and flawed and I can accept that. Just because I can heal doesn’t mean I’m anything more than a healer. The labels you place on me are just your own perceptions, and I’ve decided not to fit into anyone’s mental box of who they believe I am. I’m just me. If someone is disappointed, that’s only because of their expectations of who they thought I was and not who I really am. Keep striving to become a better version of yourself everyday.
3) Taking care of your mental health in terms of cutting certain people off or drawing healthy defined boundaries is very much needed. When you show them where you stand, and you’re speaking to them from a neutral place, the other person “learns” where their boundaries can and cannot extend to. These people may not even realize what they’re doing. This might entail not directly helping them out, but this also means to not cause them harm in any way. Stay centered and just let things pass at this point. Don’t engage in judgement, but view this person or your circumstance from an objective point of view. Maybe one day they’ll see their lesson as well.
In observing my thoughts in this situation, I’ve realized it isn’t a particular person, but the multitude of situations where I’ve constantly failed myself in not standing my ground and drawing healthy boundaries. If you’re still allowing people to enter into your personal space and not standing up for yourself, I think this year it’s time to change. Take good care of yourself mentally, be an authentic expression of yourself with no regrets; also help who you can now with what knowledge you have up to this point, because if you wait for perfection, you’ll never be ready. Lastly, know how to draw healthy boundaries between you and other people. They might not see it now, but they may thank you for the lesson later.
I hope this helped you in understanding that sometimes, you have to put yourself first, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it. Be gentle with yourself and observe with a neutral mind. Good luck everybody!