Since the start of this vacation I’ve been busy meeting all my friends. Different plans with college friends, a few school friends…
Few days back I met one such friend from college. In our group she is – The Helper. She always helps her friends in need and helps everyone she can.
Even if it means she will loose something of her own. Even if she doesn’t need to help. Even if they are in a way using her for her help.
She told me she felt bad that she was always there for everyone, but when she needed someone, no one was there.
I felt bad for her. She needed my advice.
Before I could say anything she told me that she couldn’t quit helping others. She liked doing that even if they weren’t kind enough to acknowledge. But after a while she said… Maybe I do need to stop helping. I feel like I’m loosing myself along the way.
It happens when you care a lot. It happens when you can’t say NO.
There’s this interesting concept in psychology about setting boundaries.
It means being selective in what kind of behaviour you will allow and what kind of behaviour you won’t tolerate. It means letting them know… In a way teaching them how to treat you.
By praising and allowing the behaviour you want.
And stopping, restricting the behaviour you don’t like.
It is not easy always. Many people find it hard to disappoint their close ones and therefore accept even the behaviour they don’t like.
But ask yourself – By doing this are you being true to yourself and to them?
Would you like your relationship to be based on wrong information, fake feelings?
Would you like to present yourself as you are to the person.. with all your messy thoughts and choices?
It also means choosing the people whom you invest your time and energy in.
Not everyone is worth your time and energy. You need to be selective. That’s for yourself and your well being. To protect your energy.
Think of it like this…
There is a door on the ground. It’s a door to your heart.
It is open. Everyone gets to come in and enjoy the warm sunshine inside.
But suddenly it starts getting crowded. So many people wanting to go in and enjoy the sunshine.
Even you don’t feel comfortable being with so many people. They all have different choices, opinions and they drain you. You feel exhausted.
So you take the door and put it on the top of the mountain.
Now, the people who take the effort to climb the mountain for you, get access to that sunshine in your heart.
They need to prove that they are willing to take care of you and let you in their sunlight as well. They need to show they are willing to take efforts as well.
That’s how you protect your energy.
That’s how you become selective at times whom you choose to help and how much you choose to offer.
It might seem hard, like you’re being mean or something.
But trust me when I say, setting boundaries has helped me a lot. It has saved my time and energy to a great extent. I’d like to encourage you all to set healthy boundaries.
When she told me about how lonely and exhausted she felt even after always being there for others.. I realised if she doesn’t stop helping people who don’t acknowledge her worth… She might never feel like helping anyone again.
It has been rightfully said that you can’t pour from a empty cup. You need to take care of yourself first. Make sure your needs are met while exhausting yourself to meet needs of someone else.