For most of my life, I’ve tumbled somersaults for other people and mothered, mothered and mothered them. Why, I don’t know the answer to yet but, I do know that the only thing it’s done is to both open a doorway for people to use me as well as to shun me when they don’t want or need anything from me.
Case in point are a few stray family members who will leap bounds to call or to see me if I have something that they want and am offering to give it to them. The rest of the time, I don’t hear from them or see them.
I was recently concerned about one person in my life who seemed to be at the end of their rope. I worried endlessly at their words, “I’m tired…I’ve had enough of life.” Having lost most of my family to deaths, I was worried sick that this person was going to do something I consider stupid to themselves if I didn’t do something. As usual, I stood on my head, got them what they wanted and needed and did everything in my power to help them through this rough spot. The calls stopped. As a matter of fact, all contact stopped.
Now panicked and living quite a distance away from them, making a drop-by not an easy task, I phoned and left messages with no return calls. Then suddenly, a few days ago, I received a return call, rushed and while they were driving saying, “I got your message but, I forgot to call you back.” (Think Exorcist with Regan’s 360 degree head-spin and spewing green pea soup upon my hearing that answer.)
“You forgot?!” I answered with surprise, anger and indignation. “You FORGOT to call me back? I must be the most forgettable person in the world then.”
“It’s just that I’ve been so busy,” was the beginning of that answer and, I went on to hear a plethora of things that this person had been doing. Let me just say that they weren’t the writhing ball of tears that they had been only a couple of weeks before where I had concerned my every waking moment with the thoughts that this person might end their lives. As a matter of fact, everything sounded not only better but, normal.
Most others would have been relieved at the sound of the answers. Don’t get me wrong, I was relieved but there was a huge part of me that felt both angry and gullible at the same time as well.
I was angry that I had yet again, been taken in by my imagined worries about someone else. My life had been plagued by worry and fear of losing someone else in my life and that I was gullible enough to have fallen for it all.
I’m sure that at the time, what was uttered from that person’s mouth was feeling real to them. I’m sure that their spouse was being genuine in their plight at that time as well. However, Life went on for them beyond my help, concern and worry. They were in a hole at that point in time but, as most people can and will do for the most part, they had found their way back to equilibrium and were living their usual lives again.
Perhaps, what bothered me most was the fact that I had spent weeks of my own life and personal energy worrying, giving of my own time, energy, thought, deed etc. seemingly needlessly, when yet again, all would have gone back to it’s usual state anyway whether or not I had been involved. My worry for was for naught and my actions were only appreciated at that moment, not beyond that point. I was again, faded into the background of those people’s lives as is par for the course with most people. I seem to be the only person who has not gotten that fact yet.
I’m not by any means advocating not helping other people here. That’s not what I’m saying by a long shot. What I am saying is that there’s a difference between helping someone and turning your own life upside down by turning somersaults for them to help or care about them. There is a difference as I’ve come to learn. What’s more, I’ve learned that people will take from you if you’re going to lay yourself down and let them walk all over your emotions and empathy. It’s one thing to help someone else. It’s another to make it your life’s mission to become their saviour. There was only one Mother Theresa and even she was not as appreciated in Life as she should have been or, one would think she could have been treated for all that she did.
Today, I am removing my Habit. I have gotten up off of the floor from this latest knock-down which seems to be a recurring theme in my life due to my own choices in Life. Somewhere I had turned myself into the World’s Mother and I needn’t have done it because if there’s one thing that I’ve come to learn, people will look after themselves for the most part. It’s up to us to look after ourselves too rather than everyone else.
Put yourself first. Put your own oxygen mask on first and deal with your own needs before you go leaping in to help everyone else.
From my little corner of life, taking care of everyone else to excess is a recipe for disaster for yourself as well as the people you are doing this for especially, if it’s become a way of life for you to do. It can also become quite the let-down if you think it will endear people to you. It doesn’t necessarily work that way especially, when done to excess or constantly. All that it does it mark yourself as a target for those who will simply take from you. Help but, do it in only as much as absolutely needed and even then, be sure that you’re really needed before you leap in with both feet to rescue others. You may be enabling them, making yourself a doormat or opening yourself up to being used by others. Be discerning with who you help and how much you help. While helping is oftentimes needed and warranted, meter it out to the right people, in the right amounts and in the right way. When you do take care of or help others, feel good about it within yourself first and foremost, not expecting others to truly appreciate what you’ve done or how much it took you to help them. When done in abundance, they will have pegged you as their doormat.
Remember one thing….
Helping can be the doorway to Heaven or Hell, metaphorically speaking.
Blessings, Love and Light.