"Are you sure you don't mind?" You pause and briefly consider how it's going to completely mess up your plans.... "Of course not, you go ahead" you say with a smile, as a little knot of tension, balls up inside. "Thanks". And they're off, with their needs met....
We've all done it at some time or other. It feels nice to put others first occasionally. It feels good to make others feel good. Or sometimes, it's just not worth the disagreement, so keeping quiet keeps the peace. And I suppose that's what we all want really, to feel good and live a peaceful life. But if meeting the needs of others before yourself becomes a way of life, inner peace and happiness can be the last thing achieved.
1 Making others feel good to feel good yourself.
Is this the typical you on a daily basis? Going that extra mile to make sure that the people in your life leave you with an extra spring in their step? And what's wrong with making that extra effort to keep your loved ones happy? It's a great buzz imagining how grateful they will be, how they'll think what a great person you are and how lucky they are to have you in their lives, right? And you're making a difference, helping them to achieve their life goals, supporting them by taking care of the little things, generally smoothing the way to their success and happiness. The thing is, are you getting that level of thoughtfulness, support and dedication back in return? And what about your success and happiness?
2 Letting things go for the sake of the argument.
What's the point of rocking the boat over the little things when it's so much easier to 'go with the flow'? So you had plans already, thought something had already been agreed, was a bit bothered by that, felt it was an inconvenience, wanted things a certain way, was hoping for support about that, but you know, it's certainly not worth a disagreement, never mind an argument. It's easy enough to find a work-a-round, so you say okay, no problem. I mean, it's not that big of a deal. But somehow, deep down, you know that actually, it is.
3 Saying 'No' is a big no-no.
You seem to be the person that people go to when they need something. Money, your time, a favour. Or you're the person others queue up to emotionally unload onto because, you know, you're always there for them. I mean, you might be strapped for cash, pushed for time, need a favour yourself or feeling low too but, forming that two letter word in your mouth is near on impossible because;
4 Worrying what people think about you is a big pre-occupation...
...so it's important to keep everyone sweet, look out for them, support them, do things for them and go with what they want because what they think about you is a big deal. You might re-run the encounters you have had in your mind, scrutinising what you said, what they said, how it was said, what their facial expressions did and what they might have "meant by that". You might also imagine whole scenarios about what they might say about you to others or imagine future events that will be unpleasant due to a thing you said or did.
So what you think they think of you, begins to effect how you feel about them.... e.g. that they probably don't like you so you feel anxious around them or that they probably think you're not very clever so you feel intimidated around them etc The fact that they might be running you ragged, not appreciating you or taking you for granted doesn't get a look in. I mean, why on Earth would you get to have an opinion about them, based on how they actually treat you (yes, you get to have an opinion), because you're too busy 'mind reading'. It begs the question, what is this need to be liked by everyone anyway?
5 You don't know what you want
And all of this 'running around after others' and not being able to say no when you really want to, leaves you feeling deflated, with no time to consider what you actually want in life.
Maybe that's the point....
...because having the time and energy to sit down and ask yourself what you really want out of this wondrous miracle we call life, means you have to face some pretty harsh realities. That perhaps you don't consider your own needs as important enough. That what you want doesn't matters enough. That you are not important.
And the birth of that self-perception would not have been a pleasant one. It's a whole can of worms, best left canned. So it's far easier to hide your sadness, anxiety and lack of direction in the problems, issues, dreams and aspirations of others, because even a small hit of happiness on the tailcoats of someone else's life, is still a hit of happiness to briefly hide away in, from the darkness of your own life.
"I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself"
In the end, when you reflect on your life as an elder, facing the inevitable, will you be left with the number 1, most common regret of someone nearing the end of their life? It's an uncomfortable thought but the reality of millions of people, taking stock, as they prepare to leave this mortal coil. However, as long as there is still breath in your body, it's not too late to do something about it.
Because if not now then when?
Perhaps now is time to reach out, to get the support you deserve. To start living a life that is truly truthful to you, because what you want does matter, you are important and you do deserve to have a happy, successful and peaceful life, where you have your needs met too.
This is not a dress rehearsal, there are no no re-runs and no 'backsies'. Just one glorious chance to be you. So, if you think you might be on the path to the number 1 regret of the 'soon to be departed', maybe it's time for some serious action. Self-discovery, recovery and growth. What are you waiting for?