We work on ourselves, in order to help others, but we also help others, in order to work on ourselves. Pema Chandron
I'm better now that we are done making our trail. I feel honest and available and less afraid to choose things for myself.
Somehow, somewhere I came to believe that selflessness was the greatest virtue. To give to everyone and ask for nothing in return--not even gratitude. That the lack of gratitude somehow meant I needed to work harder, give more, please everyone.
I had a discussion with JB the other night. He said why do you give so much to people, especially people who take advantage of you? The answer used to be that I wanted to give for the goodness of giving, I believed that people would bring back that goodness to me, when I needed it or when my family needed it.
I tell my cousin/sister all the time how much I enjoy being with her, specifically for two reasons 1. she always asks me how i'm doing and really wants to know the answer. and 2. she doesnt call me only when she needs something.
Growing up, I saw how much my parents gave to people and how often people took advantage of them. Even their own relatives only come to them when they need something. Dont ever call just to see how they are. And I hate it. It was one of the reasons I learned to distinguish relatives from family. I tell people I have a lot of relatives but I have a very small family.
So i'm going to be honest with myself and with people around me. I need to work on myself. I'm going to be selfish and that may be one of my most difficult tasks. So I'm setting my boundaries. Dont ask me to help you with advice or money or anything else, if when you think about it, the only time you call me is when you need something.
There are people who might not consider themselves part of this but who do only call for advice or to get the answer to a question. But fail to even say "hey how are you?" Its those people, I'm cutting out. Not necessary stopping my relationships completely with them but limiting what I can give and when.
I know who my friends are. I know who I can call on when I need help, support, encouragement or talk about the weather. And I know who isnt there. For years, JB has been telling me to say "No!" when people call asking for things. But I rarely ever let myself say no. After this year, I realize that now is the time. I want to spend my time giving to those who give back. To support those people who are truly my family and my friends. To work on myself in order to give better...but with boundaries.
I want to learn the delicate balance between selfishness and selflessness...