I remember the times when I was trying my hardest to help those around me get better from their problems. I’d be there for them any time and I would drop everything to help them out. This isn’t always a bad thing, the problem was that I was also bottling up things inside myself. I would feel like I wanted them to come and help me without them even knowing that I was hurting inside! How was I supposed to help others, but not help myself? I would constantly give advice to my friends and rarely take that advice myself. How many of us have been in that situation before? And before I knew it, I was exploding my bottled feelings to the nearest casualty, usually the same friends/family that I was trying to help previously.
I realised the act of building these things up inside of me was not very healthy at all. I needed some way of overcoming these emotions and the best way, I realised, was to help myself get better by taking necessary steps to ensure that I was looking after myself, before I was able to help anyone else.
This isn’t a selfish thing to do, because you need to make sure you are well before you can offer advice to others. If we are giving advice that we do not follow, doesn’t that make us hypocrites? If this is still difficult for you to understand, then look at it this way; in an aeroplane when there is an emergency and the oxygen masks drop down, they tell you to put YOUR OWN oxygen mask on BEFORE anyone else’s. That’s right, before the old man next to you or the little toddler that’s opposite you. You do that first and foremost, THEN you help the other person with theirs if they need it.
Okay, the above example is life and death, but it’s psychologically the same thing here, if we help others before we help ourselves, then we are left with lots of problems built up inside that aren’t being addressed.
So, what are some of the ways that you can help yourself?
1) Make sure you give yourself time to follow your hobbies and passions.
I like to bang on about following your passions because this is a great way to express yourself and immerse yourself in these actions.
2) Learning to say no to requests
It may be difficult to say no to requests and invitations to social events but you need to be fair to yourself and give some time to yourself too.
3) Giving yourself plenty of rest
This is more important that anything, it’s vital to do this since how can you do anything well when you’re always tired?
4) Add some structure and routine to your life
Adding structure breeds discipline and discipline breeds structure. Doing this will help you manage your life in the best way.
Please be aware that I am not saying you should become self-centered and only think of your own gains. Rather, that you need to understand your own needs and put your wellbeing at the forefront. People like you and me, we like to help others. I’ve found that in doing so, it’s because I expect an outcome or literally put all my effort in all the time and not taking the time to rest yourself.
Ironically, helping others makes us feel good, and to practice this daily would be a good thing for us. Though not to the detriment of your health. Life is a balance and without a set of principles to discipline you, it will do with you what it likes. However, before you can help others (unless you’re forced to) you must know and understand yourself. If you understand yourself, you can understand others better.