BY PRIYA ALI
There are many of us who are constantly doing things for others. Often times it comes with the price tag of being able to do something for yourself. People know us as the people they can ask for help from, the people they can always count on, call upon 24 hours a day. Some of us love helping others but feel the “burden” of being the proverbial shoulder to lean on. We feel that we have to help because nobody else is there to assist and these poor people won’t be able to get through things without us.
People will ask us, “how do you manage it all?”. You may think to yourself, “well I just like to help, or I had no choice, somebody had to help.” Some of the more skeptical people may ask you “why are you doing that stuff for them, what’s in it for you?” You might feel that there is nothing in it for you. You just like being helpful or seeing people happy. When others are happy or at more ease you feel good.
Prepare to have your bubble burst by the end of this paragraph. Everything we do is for our own personal gain on some level. For some of us, we identify with being strong, capable or reliable. It’s our claim to fame, it’s the thing we are known for and subconsciously that strength can give us our self-worth. We do these things, sometimes leaving our own responsibilities, requirements and desires unmet because we need to live up to our reputation in order to feel valuable and worthy.
Now some of you will say, that’s not me, I just get happy when other people are happy. If you fall into this group, it’s the same thing, this is for your personal gain. Your happiness is contingent upon the happiness of others and your contributions to their happiness can also be serving you a dose of self-worth or validation. There is nothing wrong with this, but it always advantageous to have an awareness of what drives your behavior. In doing so, you may find one of two things happening.
The first is, you may free yourself of putting you last in order to maintain this practice and actually validate yourself by engaging in actions and behaviors that demonstrate value for you. The second is that you may end up assisting in empowering those you have been helping. By allowing them to own the responsibility for getting things done, sorted out or solved, this can lead to personal evolution, a newly found strength and independence.
Instead of doing it for them, you could offer support and encouragement as they do things for themselves. This is a healthier exchange of energy. Helping others towards happiness for the sake of your happiness is a positive thing. By gaining an awareness around the driving forces of your actions and personal gain allows you to assist from a place of authenticity and keeps you clear on what’s in it for you.