Do people depend on you?
Being a support system for other people is sort of like having a superpower. Your presence has energy that others can feel just by being around you. It feels safe, making it easy for them to open up and maybe even ask for help.
Those who have this quality are likely to be spectacular beings, but being there for others can have its challenges. On one hand, being the person that others depend on can bring you a sense of fulfillment, knowing that you have a positive influence on someone’s life.
On the other hand, being the person people depend on can feel like a heavy responsibility, that could ultimately cloud your focus of what matters most.
It’s easy to lose yourself in what you believe you “should be” doing for others, while your needs get pushed to the bottom of the priority list.
Before you find yourself experiencing angst, frustration, or worse, resentment, it’s important to become aware of your relationship with being there for others.
Checking-In With Yourself
Some people have very welcoming energy about them, once you’re around them you feel comfortable and safe to speak your truth. This is a wonderful gift that could easily be taken advantage of if you’re not careful.
People who are always there for their loved ones, coworkers, and sometimes the occasional stranger on a park bench, aren’t always there for themselves. It’s challenging to set a boundary that requires you NOT to be available for other people, after all it has become a part of who you are.
This doesn’t mean that being of service is a bad thing, but too much giving and not enough receiving is a recipe for an imbalanced lifestyle.
A good place to start is by checking in with your experience as well as how others are doing. The next time you are needed or being asked to do something, ask yourself:
How do I feel at this moment?
Can I handle this emotionally?
Am I doing this for the right reasons?
How will I feel after accomplishing this?
Will this hurt me or anyone else?
Is this way of helping aligned with my highest good?
Check in With Your Wellbeing
Get curious about how serving others is impacting your wellbeing. By deepening your connection with the service you provide you are more capable of creating a much-needed boundary.
Because if you are willing to do anything for anyone, you’re going to quickly burn yourself out. The more attentive you are to your own needs the better able you are to show up for those who need you most.
Tune into your energy levels, check-in on how you’re feeling, listen to any resistant thoughts popping up, all of these are signs that you need to take care of yourself.
When your energy is replenished you have more to give, no matter what pops up in your day. Start by checking in with how you’re feeling moment to moment and allow the honest answer to surface within you.
There is a difference between feeling overwhelmed and feeling disconnected from the way you serve your community. The only way to understand which one you are experiencing is by turning inward, which may not come naturally to someone who does so much for other people.
It can feel selfish to consider your own feelings because the obligation to others is so deeply rooted. The people who invest a considerable amount of time and energy into the needs of others are wired by service.
If left unchecked this can be a driving force toward resentment or anxiety about what you do and who you do it for. By tuning into your personal experience and choosing to be present you can tap into the truth of how this affects you.
Self-Care is Necessary
When caring for others more often than not the mind is wired to focus on them, considering their needs before your own comes with the territory. But when you aren’t at your best you can’t deliver your best self to them.
Your performance may suffer, your energy levels may deplete, you may be physically present while your mind is somewhere else. Something as rewarding as serving, providing, and caring for others shouldn’t have to come at the cost of your mental health.
What I would love for you to take away is that there is most likely something in your life that isn’t getting the attention it deserves.
Maybe it’s the lack of healthy food your eating or movement you giving your body. Maybe it’s the way you deal with the hardest challenge in your life or the troubling emotions that feel too impossible to handle. I’m telling you to pay attention.
Look at how you treat the unpleasantness in your life, and how it returns the favor in your lifestyle. Notice the lack of attention you give yourself, while you glorify the attention you give others.
Raise your level of self-awareness so that you can truly begin to deal with and heal from whatever is going on in your life. This is the first step to being better for yourself and for those who need you most.