Looking out for Yourself

Throughout my life, I have come across many people who give of themselves freely. They give out a helping hand to others because it’s something that they feel that they should do. It doesn’t have to be to someone that they’re friends with or that they know personally because these people make it a part of their life’s mission to give help to others whenever they happen to come across someone who needs it. It’s good to have people in the world who give of their time and their energy, but many times, these people are the ones who get burned out the most. The ones with the biggest and the kindest hearts will sometimes end up a bit broken down because of it. They give and they give and they keep giving until there’s nothing left for them. Giving is good, but it becomes dangerous when it comes at a cost to you.

You may not be one of those people who are constantly giving back to those who are in need, but I’m sure that you have given out a helping hand from time to time. It may have been to a friend who needed some help moving to a new apartment. Or it may have been to a family member who was venting about an annoying coworker. Or perhaps you helped your neighbor out by watching her kids while she ran to the store to pick up some groceries. Or maybe you helped one of your classmates out by tutoring him in a subject that he was having some difficulty with. Or it may have been something as simple as buying some food for a homeless person that you happened to see outside of a convenience store. It doesn’t matter what it was because most of us do help people from time to time. The important thing to remember though is that you shouldn’t give so much to the point that you end up draining yourself of all of your energy.

I was listening to the radio the other day and one of the callers was looking for advice. She said that she had a family member that was constantly calling her and telling her about her problems. The calls from this family member were becoming so frequent and the problems that she was telling her were so bad that this woman who was looking for advice from the radio host began to feel bad whenever she was on the phone with her family member. This family member had so much negativity in her life that she started to rub it off on the family member that she was calling to vent to. The radio host told her that she couldn’t keep helping this family member out if she was draining her of all of her positivity, and I agreed whole heartedly with his advice. It’s important that she helps out her family members when she can, but she shouldn’t have to do so at a cost to her own happiness, and the same thing goes for you.

If you find yourself in a position where you are being drained of your positivity because of another person then it may be time for you to consider distancing yourself from this person. And I’m not telling you to stop helping out other people when you see someone in need. Help that friend move her stuff into her new apartment. Listen to your family member vent about that annoying coworker. Help your neighbor out by watching her kids while she runs to the store. Tutor that classmate who needs extra help learning the material. Buy the homeless person sitting outside of the convenience store a meal if you feel compelled to. Just don’t allow other people’s negativity to consume you. Saying no is okay to do sometimes. So you don’t have to distance yourself completely, especially if you want to keep helping others, but limiting yourself to the amount of time that you are being exposed to negativity can help you feel better.

Positive thinker, it’s good to care of others, but don’t do it at the expense of your own well being. The people in your life are important, but you’re just as important, so take the time to do what you need to do for yourself!