Always putting others before yourself
There are many people who tend to live as if their own existence had no significance, and only the rest of humanity would be of interest to them. It is probable there are many reasons why we usually put the needs and desires of others first and yet, very few times this is due to pure altruism.
The belief that to be a “good person” you have to give it all to others is only valid when you have personally met your own needs (physical, mental and emotional). Otherwise you’re doing yourself a disservice that sooner or later ends up affecting everything you try to do for others. Always paying attention to others’ lives disregarding ours may lead to situations of true inner chaos, feelings of being lost, overwhelmed, constantly exhausted, and in some cases, even depressed. Worst of all, the reason for this behaviour is very often hidden within the far corners of our mind which we do not want to discover, just in case something comes out that we do not like.
The others always first
Every time we betray ourselves not doing something we want to but what others want instead, we are heightening feelings of guilt or low self-esteem. What drives us to always be aware of the needs of those around us? Love in pure state? Maybe in a few cases, but in the majority we basically find:
● Fear of feeling rejected: what if they do not love me? What if they do not accept me as I am or what I do?
● Low self-esteem: others are worth more than me, I’m not that important, I can do it later because I do not need it, I do not deserve so much, it’s better for others to have it and enjoy it …
● I want to be part of others: I do not want to feel alone, if I say no, will they call me again?
● Need for recognition: I need to be told that I do it well, I need my work to be approved, I need to be constantly encouraged, I need to feel appreciated…
● Guilt feelings: I have to settle for less, see how little others have so I should not complain, I have to get along with what I have, I’m fine…
Examples of this kind of behaviours are routine and you probably know many people who act in a similar way: always saying yes to everything they are asked to do, trying to please everyone, putting others ideas and values ahead of theirs, agreeing to do things or favours they do not want to do, never asking for help from others in order not to disturb, taking care of others health but not of theirs, etc.
Respect from others is lost
Just as you treat yourself, you will make others treat you. I have a close case of a person who never treats herself as she treats others. She cares about you all the time, tries to constantly help, says yes to everything, but then does not take care of herself, does not let anyone do anything for her, does not care about her health, etc… The result is that, in a way, the environment is constantly angry with her, people feel overwhelmed by her constant help, her advice and her dedication that has no way back. In this case it is a problem of acceptance, but the person does not know/want to see it. Just as she treats herself her reality is treating her.
When we do not take care of ourselves, trying to take care of others has no effect. We’re like those champagne glasses placed on top of one another in a pyramidal pattern. The champagne is poured into the first glass at the top, filling it up and overflowing to the next lower glass, over and over down to the last glass, no matter how many of them. Our life should be identical. We should always be plentiful and overflowing like the first glass, mentally, physically and emotionally and filling others glasses with our health, material wealth, mood and personal strength. It doesn’t work in any other way. When we immediately pour all the champagne received into the next lower glasses without letting anything remain within us, at some stage, we shall no longer be able to do it and it will affect our being. We will be empty and our life won’t have much sense.
If we want to contribute to a better world, and that those around us feel a little better thanks to our help, the right approach is to become the glass of champagne at the top of the pyramid. We are in the first place, then we’ll make it overflow into the others.
Make a list of the things you have always wanted to do, things you have put off, activities you need. Cancel o say no to the things you do not want to do, learn to reject requests. Place yourself first in the list. Don’t betray yourself, keep your promises to yourself and next you will be able to better keep your promises to others.
The more energy, mood, wealth, etc., we have, the easier it will be to make others improve their lives. The sooner you fill up, the sooner you can make those around you feel the benefits of what you can give. They in turn will be able to fill themselves and help others with all their available potential received through you. When your needs and priorities go first, replication effect is instantly generated.
So, as the spanish saying goes, “put the donkey out in front so it doesn’t get spooked”.