You may find yourself reading this if it feels like there is no room for you in your own life. If you are like most of us, you have been taught that it is negative and dare I say selfish to put your desires and needs above others or even at the same level as others. What is the cost of excessive self-sacrifice? The truth is you know it well or you would not be reading this, right? Excessive self-sacrifice can get in the way of reaching your goals and living the life that truly makes you happy. Over time, too much self-sacrifice diminishes balance inside and costs us our sense of well-being and inner peace. Excessive self-sacrifice actually wreaks havoc on our relationships by flooding us with resentment as we never truly feel appreciated or that we will never get our turn or our space to pursue happiness, rest and play. As we endlessly people-please our confidence starts to decline because when we are maxed out our ability to perform at our best becomes impossible. You may actually find you are more vulnerable to feeling stressed, irritable, tired and angry.
Finding Our Way Out
What if you didn’t need to control others perceptions of you to feel secure? What if it actually felt good to take care of you first when necessary while supporting others when possible? What if you didn’t feel overly responsible for everyone’s feelings and didn’t experience guilt of hurting others when you were doing something loving for your self? These are the necessary steps to being able to accomplish your goals and promote more happiness in your life and it requires a willingness to move through fear of judgment and to stop letting guilt make your decisions for you. What if you just had to face fear and let guilt fall to the wayside in order to fully embody a much more life affirming spirit with a wellspring of love to give? Would you do it?
If you are reading this I highly doubt that you run the risks of lacking consideration of others or that somehow you are only aware of your own needs and run over others for your own benefit. No, that’s not you because you are not selfish. What is more likely is that you are excessively attuned to others feelings that you rarely stop to ask your self what the consequence is to yourself when you assume that others needs are more valuable and worth more than your own.
The only person in the world responsible for meeting your needs is you. In order to reach the point of wellbeing you are seeking, you are required to explore what you want and what you need and take goal directed steps to get there in each moment everyday. We have to stop assuming our needs are foolish and burdensome to others. When we don’t stand up for our real needs we run the risk of trying to obtain fulfillment and happiness through false means such as shopping, eating, and a whole host of numbing behaviors, or feel good now and pay later strategies. We run the risks of hurting not just ourselves but also our relationships. Acoording to Dr. Aziz Gazipura, Author of NOT NICE, when we give everything and feel like we don’t have a choice about it we begin to harbor resentment as we begin to feel that the scales are unbalanced. The reason why we often don’t feel as if we have a choice to say no, according to Gazipura, is because of the internal pressures we feel to not disappoint others. We are also less likely to ask for help and support when we need it too.
Look at the bigger picture; in what ways will prioritizing your needs equally and at times more so than others work out to impact the greater good for yourself and your relationships? Can holding space for yourself actually improve the way you live, love, parent and lead?
1. Gazipura, A. (2017). Not Nice (First). Portland, OR: B.C. Allen Publishing & Tonic Books.