I am writing this to you. To you, who has always put everyone else’s needs before her own, who is putting her own happiness last. To you, who takes care of everyone but herself. I know who you are and exactly what you are going through, because I was you.
You are the girl who makes sure everyone is okay before taking care of herself. You are one of those persons who will put aside her obligations just to comfort a friend, or just to be someone’s shoulder to cry on. And you are the one who will hold back her feelings, just to be supportive for someone else. You are never busy or too tired to hear people’s problems and dilemmas.
You have never refused someone when they asked for advice. People started to consider you as a hero who can save them and take all of their suffering away. This is because they know you will have their back, no matter what. You feel guilty if someone around you is going through some issues and you are not able to help them, like it’s your responsibility to take care of them. You take everyone’s problems personally and it overwhelms you.
But with time and without wanting it, you got tired. In the process of helping others, you’ve lost yourself. You realized that you are always the one who loves and cares more. You have seen that there is nobody matching your effort and that you are not getting anything back. And what about your problems? I know you are not asking anything in return, but you feel bad when there is nobody there for you, when you are the one who needs help.
And I know everything that is going through your mind, because I was there. I was the girl everybody ran to when they were in trouble—but when something was bothering me, there was no one there. I was completely alone. And, even worse, I was exhausted for taking care of other people’s problems to the point I didn’t have any energy left to deal with my own issues. I was constantly in so much stress because of my friend’s problems, that it started to affect my mental and physical health. And when I needed support, encouragement, and a shoulder to cry on, everyone was suddenly busy.
So, I just stopped for a second and wondered if it was really all worth it. My life mission is not to save the world, and I can’t do it no matter how hard I try. People will always do things their own way and you can’t change anyone. So, why bother? Seeing this, I finally took some time for myself only and started enjoying things that make me happy. At first, I was overwhelmed with guilt. I thought I was being selfish and felt like I was leaving people behind, when they needed me the most. It took me years before I realized that I can’t take everyone’s problems on my own shoulders and that I will burn out if I continue doing so. But, finally, I’ve come to my senses and started prioritizing myself.
The sad truth is that we all have to fight some demons by our own. There are some people that can’t or don’t want to be fixed, and you are just wasting your time and energy trying to heal them. Once you get emotionally drained and exhausted, you won’t be good for them nor for yourself. So, put yourself first. I am not saying you shouldn’t be there for your friends, but you must learn when it’s time to say no. Don’t be selfish—be there for people around you, but first of all, be there for yourself. Make yourself a priority and not an option. Step back a little and get your life together before trying to fix everyone else’s.
Start perceiving yourself as your best friend. Find time to help yourself in the same way you run to be there for your friends. Because you are important! You can never help someone unless you help yourself, and you can never love someone unless you love yourself first. Besides, when you are more relaxed and emotionally healthy, you will be a better support for them too. Just put your happiness first. Take care of yourself before you take care of everyone else. If you don’t do it, nobody else will.