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Thread: Putting other people's needs ahead of yours

  1. #1
    Celadon
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    Putting other people's needs ahead of yours

    I kinda can't believe I'm writing this, but we all change over time, so maybe it was inevitable. So I used to be very concerned about others -- putting everyone's needs before mine, that type of thing. Dutiful and "responsible," I guess you could say. There were pluses and minuses to that, but over time, the minuses started outweighing the pluses. Mostly, I felt stressed and tapped out and like I basically needed to start taking care of myself.

    I remember in high school how a teacher once suggested to us that doing nice things for other people, like going to visit your grandmother, would make you feel good. Although I was the "good girl" and completely agreed with this, one guy in my class rejected that idea, saying the last thing he would enjoy would be giving up his time to visit his grandmother.

    Well, now I feel like I've swung in his direction, and it kinda concerns me. Now, it's the people who used to be "selfish" who are doing things for others, but I - who used to be not so concerned with myself - find I'm wanting more and more time for myself. The idea of reaching out to people drains me. I don't necessarily want to hang out with anyone I don't like (in a group). At work, if I come accross some information (an article or some outside training materials) that would be helpful to me, I choose not to copy it for anyone else, not because I want to withhold but because I feel lazy.

    Does it sound to you like I'm burned out? I'm worried that as I've started to take more care of myself, I'm getting too selfish.
    Last edited by Celadon; 07-11-2012 at 11:10 PM.

  2. #2
    petite
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    There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself. You shouldn't be giving more to others than you do yourself. When I used to see my therapist he actually said to me 'petite, you give way too much time, effort and energy to other people and in the end you're left with nothing". I see how true that is because I was always running o low when it came to myself. If you don't take care of you, then you can't help others.
    I am not saying to be selfish and not give a darn about other people and some times you've got to put others ahead of yourself, but don't get lost in the process.

  3. #3
    bigsix
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    No I don't think you are selfish. Most selfish people are not concerned about it. You are concerned. Your may be finding a good balance between youself and others.

  4. #4
    Victoria66
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    I almost give exclusively to others. Could be why I am exhausted. I almost never learned to give back to myself. I was not raised to do that. I was only raised to give and give till you have nothing left.

  5. #5
    Citlali
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    There's nothing wrong with wanting to take care of yourself. You don't need to constantly cater to everyone else's needs to be a good person. It's not your responsibility to make copies for coworkers or hang out with people you don't even like. You're right. You're feeling burned out because you've been spreading yourself too thin. I'm kind of feeling drained myself because I just feel like I've "cared myself out." I think you need to spend some time with yourself and taking care of your needs for once. That doesn't translate into being an a-hole, but it means not putting everyone before yourself every single time. Like everything else in life, you need a balance. Too much of any one thing can be bad. Take a break from doing what you've been doing and treat yourself to "me" time. Get to know yourself better and do nice things for yourself, because at the end of the day what good will you be to anyone or yourself if you're drained and unhappy?

  6. #6
    MikNomis
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    You're jaded. Things needs to be done in the correct moderation; there's a balance to it. It sounds like in the past you were too extreme on the helpful side, giving up yourself for others and such. Unfortunately, this may have caused others to take it for granted, as it so commonly happens. And over time this built up in you until now it's just too much and you don't want to deal with it anymore.

    Go ahead and give yourself a well-deserved break. You'll bounce back I'm sure, just remember to not overdo it. People don't always need help, even some that say they do. Have your own standard of what qualifies as needing your help.

  7. #7
    petite
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victoria66 [Register to see the link]
    I almost give exclusively to others. Could be why I am exhausted. I almost never learned to give back to myself. I was not raised to do that. I was only raised to give and give till you have nothing left.
    That's extremely unhealthy, and by 50 you will feel like the world is on your shoulders alone. People let things build and build and build up and then one day they explode. People need to learn to rely on themselves too, can't always baby everyone and spoon feed them, that doesn't help anyone.

  8. #8
    Victoria66
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    I don't feel I am spoon feeding anyone. I have spent my entire life living with people with severe mental health issues and my son has his own disabilities. It requires more effort.

  9. #9
    quirky
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    I think as we get older we all reach 'the middle ground'. People that were more selfish realise there's more to life than their own needs and people that were too giving realise that their needs are as important as the rest.
    What you describe sounds balanced to me. Maybe there's other reasons for feeling more drained or not as enthusiastic, do you still like your job?

  10. #10
    Celadon
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    Hey all, I really needed to hear what you've had to say. It's helpful, and comforting, to get your feedback. I agree I'm in this sort of middle zone where I'm trying to figure out what "balance" means to me. As some of you said, not everyone needs help, so I don't need to feel like it's up to ME to make sure everyone's taken care of. And not everyone's going to be grateful for help, either, which does lead me to wondering why I'm putting out the effort.

    quirky, yes, I am stressed about a few others things, work among them. That's a good point -- there's added reasons for feeling burnt out, although my reflex to put others' needs first is part of it. I'm trying to learn to be balanced overall, and it feels a bit odd to try to do things differently.

    Tonight, I'm planning on "me" time after work. Usually I do laundry mid-week, but maybe I'll postpone that so I can do whatever I feel like...

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