What is it about good people that compels us to become martyrs, sacrificing our peace and calm, to ensure everyone else’s happiness?
It’s a quandary we can never seem to escape.
I’m convinced that there has to be some type of deeply embedded genetic coding that maximizes our empathy.
Being called “a good friend” is a badge of honor we always want to wear — but if you find yourself around people who have depleted your emotional funds more than a few times, then you might want to re-assess a few things.
Let’s start with how you deal with people or rather how you allow people to deal with you. I’m a people pleaser by default, but I learned a while ago that if you make it okay for others to be inconsiderate and selfish, they will be … inconsiderate and selfish. (No big surprises there).
I have three new words for you that you need to incorporate into your lexicon, asap: parameters, boundaries, and reciprocity.
These are foreign terms to nice people.
A parameter, a technical term, is a “measurable factor forming one of a set that defines a system or sets the conditions of its operation,” according to Google. Do people know your system? Wait, do you even have one? Let’s move on.
Google says a boundary is a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line; a partition if you will. Are people rolling down your partition and crossing lines they shouldn’t cross? You need to check that.
Lastly, our good friend Google says reciprocity is the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. The term “two-way street” is more than just a common colloquialism—any person you’ve allowed into your inner circle should be giving back to you just as much as you pour into them.
I’m a work in progress when it comes to not ruining my own happiness for the sake of others, but I’ve jumped in front of enough metaphorical bullets to dish out some advice. Here’s how I’m handling it these days.
Analyze + Assess Your Circle
Does the literal visualization of a needy person’s name make you emotionally exhausted? Well, that means it’s probably time to assess their spot in your life. It may not require you to cut them off completely, but rather have limited access to you. No party in a friendship or relationship should become the other’s dumping ground. Tell them you can help them find a therapist to deal with their crap and you’d just like to do shopping and/or brunch dates.
Take the Hero Cape Off
Ok you have your shit together and you want to see the people in your circle do well, but you can’t save everyone all the time. It’s okay to take a step back and allow people to get themselves out of their own mess.
Put Yourself First
Remember: Parameters people. Parameters. Everyone wants to do whatever it takes to look good to the outside world. We’re all battling internal struggles (hello, #adulting), which can take on its own massive toll. So, who has the extra energy to give away to a person who is constantly in some form of turmoil?
Now, understand, there are times when your people need you. They may have just lost a job or are just down and out for whatever reason. In cases like that, you should sincerely reach out and make sure they’re good. However, don’t confuse that with the ones who are already “good” but consistently seek out handouts when it isn’t necessary.