How Much Should One Give of Themselves?

The concern of another’s feelings, reactions, the desire to make things better for everyone I care for…this is who I am. Most of my adult life, always one to put other’s feelings before myself, this part of me, now taking a new path as I learn that navigating my own life shall and MUST come first if I am to continue growing.

Thus, I beg the question: Does this make me a more selfish individual than before? If not putting others’ feelings before my own, the assumption of putting myself first, healthier than the former, why do I feel so sad inside? In my quest, journey for discovering what’s best for me, I remain conflicted.

One need not take care of the world as it’s entirely impossible. Nor should one feel it necessary to manage others either. There is only so much emotional energy to be had.  Even taking care of a few, while noble in its intent, this too, fosters an enormous amount of energy, leaving one feeling depleted of their own. It is only since the last few months, I am letting go of this past, yet deeply profound behavior.

How much should one give up of themselves in order to make another happy? 

I find myself asking this daily of late. Never, ever giving such a question a mere thought, not only asking more often, but wondering if I’ll ever be fully content with an answer of my choosing. 

If I had stayed in my marriage, unhappy as I was to the point of despair, my girls would still be in my life. How many times the thought crossed my mind, sometimes daily: “I should stay. I have nothing to complain about. My life consists of a loyal husband, beautiful children, great house, nice car, little financial worry as an individual….What the hell is wrong with me?” And today, I still wrestle with such issues, wondering if I gave enough of myself to my husband, my family.

More writings of the above question to post soon for it is the center of where I am, the essence of my relationships moving forward. Until I can understand more thoroughly, the complexities of taking care of another before taking care of me first, I remain in flux, a place I no longer care to be, its discomfort ever-growing.

Caring, compassion, a willingness to walk in someone else’s shoes…is this enough? Must there be proof one care by simply doing something just because better for the other yet may not be for oneself? The struggle continues….



About Carin

Writing is for me, though sharing with others, is a gift.

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