If you are a natural care-taker, it is probably a no-brainer for you to rush to your friends when they need help. It’s natural for you to empathize. You can feel when those you love are in pain and witnessing your parents or your friends fight, makes your heart knotted and stomach anxious. You try to offer solutions and find the fastest way to heal their wounds. The idea of saying No! provokes feelings of guilt. Thoughts like “I cannot leave her now,” “I feel bad,” and “I don’t want to be mean” are probably very familiar to you.
On the flipside of your giving nature, is someone who can feel pulled into a hundred different directions and depleted by inner and outer demands. Your biggest lesson in creating the life of your dreams, will be to learn how to take care of yourself the way you take care of others.
Agapi Stassinopoulos talks about being a care-taker and said that one of her main lessons was to :
“learn where I ended and others began”
As a natural care-taker myself, I know all too well what it feels like to viscerally feel when someone I love is not doing well. It pains me to watch them suffer and something inside of me believes that I can make things better for them. A few years back, I couldn’t distinguish “where I ended and others began” and often felt emotionally heavy, which in turn let me to reach to food or over-exercise as a comforter.
During that time, I also didn’t understand why I wasn’t madly in love with an amazing man, why I felt so confused about what I wanted professionally, and –simply put- why I wasn’t a happier person! Those were all things I really wanted in my life: true love, a fulfilling career, and happiness, yet, somehow, they seemed unreachable.
What I had to learn was how to say a big YES! to myself and implement boundaries that allowed me stand on my own solid foundation regardless of what was happening around me.
I came to understand that having boundaries doesn’t mean that you cannot do nice, loving, and helpful things for others.
It just means that you won’t sacrifice yourself in exchange, because sacrificing yourself will help no one.
Establishing boundaries and carving out the space for you to feel deeply alive and engaged with your own life is something I work on with all of my clients.
Here are some good questions to start thinking about where your boundaries need to be:
1) What drains your energy (activities, people, circumstance, etc.)?
2) What fuels your energy (activities, people, circumstance, etc.)?
3) How much of your time do you spend doing things that drain your energy and how much of your time do you spend doing things that fuel your energy?
Helping women create this kind of space, time, and balance in their lives is what I have found yields the biggest results when it comes to being happy, so take some time with these questions and really think about them. This is the work people who are leading truly fulfilling lives must do.
P.S.: If you want to take a significant step towards creating a life you love, make sure you sign up for one of the 7 complimentary “Find Your Balance Sessions” I am offering this month. Fill out these 5 quick questions so I can get to know you and see if I can help. That way we are not wasting either of our times. Click here and let’s get your thoughts rolling.