As a Chicago-based psychotherapist and social worker, I’ve had the opportunity to counsel many women who self-sacrifice too much. These women are kind, nice, loving people, who unknowingly sacrifice important parts of themselves for the benefit of others, and usually to their own detriment.
Women—quite naturally, and most times without even noticing it—frequently give up their wants, desires, energy, power, ideas, time, and dreams, mistaking doing so for being caring and compassionate. We’ve been conditioned since birth to sacrifice our own needs for the benefit of others. We’re taught to be nurturers. We’re taught to be nice. It’s embedded into our minds and engrained in our culture. And while caring for others is important, it is possible to be too nice.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you tend to put other’s needs before your own?
- Do you give other people the benefit of the doubt?
- Do you doubt yourself easily?
- Do you ever feel as if you’ve been “overemotional” or “selfish” when you finally get around to setting some limits?
- Do you ever feel guilty when you indulge yourself?
- Do you have difficulty saying no, especially if you might come off as being mean or if there is any conflict that will arise from it?
- Do you think that prioritizing your needs and wants, if doing so hurts the feelings of others, is selfish and unacceptable?
- Do you have the “hurry sickness,” or feel as if you have so much to do?
- Do you feel resentful about other people’s lives?
- Do you feel anxiety when others are mad at you?
- Are you self-conscious about being liked, or do you feel a need to fit in?
- Do you have a tendency to feel very hurt or resentful if your unspoken needs, wants, or desires are not fulfilled?
- Do people tend to lean on you or ask for your help a lot?
If you answered “yes” to five or more of these questions, chances are you’re giving the best of yourself to the wrong relationships and employers. Most of us are still in the beginning phases of understanding how all our tendencies affect our day-to-day lives. So now that you know, don’t waste time feeling bad or sorry about it—it’s not your fault. The idea here isn’t to judge yourself; it’s to cultivate a healthy, balanced life of your own. It’s time to take action. I see women around me all the time who are tired, overwhelmed, depressed, and anxious—women who get more satisfaction from the bottom of their wine glass than they do from their daily lives. If this sounds like you, then it’s time to stand up for yourself, and reclaim the happiness you deserve.
Photo by Milada Vigerova
Latest posts by Cherilynn Veland (see all)
- Detrimental Caretaking vs. Healthy Helping, and How You Can Tell the Difference - June 22, 2015
- Are You Too Nice? 13 Questions To Ask Yourself Now - June 18, 2015