Don’t beat yourself up

Why is it that when we make a mistake, or we find ourselves in a bad place mentally, the first instinct is to beat ourselves up? What benefit could self pity and quilt ever bring? There is none, it only makes everything worse. I know it, you know it, but it’s not easy to see things like this when you are in a hole, surrounded by dark thoughts.

There is work to be done for you to learn how to be kind to yourself. For such a long time, you have worked to become the person you thought you wanted to be. You have not questioned if that person has anything in common with who you are.

By now, the distance between who you are inside and who you have become is so big that you don’t even recognize the person you see in the mirror. The child inside is trying to raise his voice, to remind you of what really matters, but you don’t listen.

It gets even worse when you fall into a slump, and wallow in self pity, because hearing that small voice telling you that everything will be alright only makes things worse. It reminds you of all the bad choices that got you here, and of all that you have lost on the way.

In truth you have lost nothing, you only hide some parts of yourself, and let everyone else see what you thought they wanted. Those hidden parts are still there, they just need a little nurturing to help them come forward again. The less of who you are stays hidden, the less you will be tempted by guilt and self pity.

How do you go about it when you want to help someone? Do you wait for them to ask or do you offer your help to them? I believe that none of these two work. A better way is to dress your help into something that doesn’t make the other person look weak, that allows them to keep some dignity.

To know how to help, you must be sensitive to people’s needs, but this comes with a risk. In being open to helping the people around us, we forget to take care of ourselves. When you always give, you might find that there’s nothing left at the end of the day, or even worse, you might start to resent the people you helped, and blame them for taking all you had to give.

It’s not about them, it’s about you. You are the one that needs to understand that before helping anyone else, you need to learn how to take care of yourself. Just as on the plane they ask you to first put on the breathing mask, and help others, so it should be in real life.

You are not really helping if all you do is transfer the load from them to you. Real help is when you provide a solution for a problem, that can work without you. If you need to save someone all the time, it will burn you out, and it also means that you might be taken advantage of.

To be able to provide help when needed, you must first take care of yourself. Give as much as you can, but give yourself time to recover.