As you were growing up, you may not have learned how to take good care of yourself. In fact, much of your attention may have been in taking care of others or on just getting by. “People Pleasing” is a term that refers to taking care of others’ needs rather than taking care of ourselves.
People often confuse “people pleasing” with being unselfish, and make comments such as “I am not a selfish person”. However, always putting other people’s needs before your own can exhaust you. By caring for others at your own expense, you are inviting illness, depression, stress and resentments. Always doing for others when you really wish you could say “no” instead of “yes” sets up resentment.
We begin to feel angry and resentful especially when we ask that particular person for a favor in return, and they cannot accommodate us. Self care is about honoring ourselves, and in doing so we say to ourselves and to everyone else: I matter. The other extreme is being selfish. Being completely selfish requires always putting your needs first and foremost, even stepping on others to get what you want. What we do recommend is “self interest or self care” and what this means is taking good care of yourself, even putting your needs first at times, while considering the needs of others. The best balance in relationships is to give and receive. Your own needs, desires and ideas are just as important as anyone else’s.
Self-care is about honoring ourselves and our potential. Women are even more prone to struggle with this notion because they have historically been encouraged to put the needs of others before their own. Not practicing self care has a price.
Think about why airlines announce to passengers, “in case of an emergency landing, make certain you administer the oxygen mask to yourself first before your child”. There is a reason for this. You need to have the oxygen first so that you can assist your child to get the oxygen they need. It does not work the other way around even though we believe that our children come first. We parent more effectively when we can take care of our own needs first. We are happier. Help yourself first so that you can help others, which will save everyone’s life. When we feel good, our children and family members will experience our healthy positive attitude.
At the Hellenic Therapy Center we strive to promote a healthy self esteem. We have a team of licensed professionals specializing in individual, family and couples therapy. We are available day, evening and weekends. Please visit www.hellenictherapy.com or call 908-322-0112, or FB.