“…First of all it’s probably inauthentic… that you always put other people before you, but you put yourself last. How you treat yourself is how you treat God, so you are putting God last, because you are the representative of God in your life… Because you are the representation of God in your life, and you put you last and put other people ahead of you, which means you are putting other things and other people ahead of God in your life… In your life, you’ve got to be as good to you as you want to be to God, in order to be of service to others in the world ….. It is self-full to be first, to be as good as possible to you, to take care of you, to keep you whole and healthy, that doesn’t mean that you disregard everything and everyone but you want to come with your cup full….my cup runneth over, what comes out of the cup is for y’all, what’s in the cup is mine, but I got to keep my cup full. And so many of us think that… we are going to get brownie points in Heaven, like we are going to get to sit in the box seat section if we just give and give and give and give. Now here is what The Course of Miracles says which I love, The Course of Miracles says that when you give to others to the degree that you sacrifice yourself you make the other person a thief… When you start sacrificing yourself for other people you make them a thief because they are stealing from you what you need and they don’t even know it.” – Iyanla Vanzant; Oprah’s Lifeclass Oprah Winfrey Network Published March 28, 2012 via YouTube
Last summer I came across this YouTube clip and it really gave me pause. It caused me to do some serious self reflecting. I mean there I was thinking that I was this really amazing person who had been going above and beyond to help people and there was Iyanla Vanzant on national television making it all too clear to me that I was not only neglecting myself, but neglecting God. I was laying across my mother’s bed having what Oprah famously calls “An Ah Hah Moment”. It has been almost a year since I first viewed that clip and began my journey to put God first in my life by not neglecting myself. I have a way to go, but I am in a much better position.
For years I thought bending over backwards to help others, going without and putting everyone else’s’ needs ahead of my own was an indication of how great of a person I was. I truly believed I was being a good person by giving my all to others. I would wonder why is it that I give everything and get nothing in return.
I was the queen of what I call “The Woe is Me Syndrome” –
Woe is me, I always help everyone and no one helps me.
Woe is me, I go out of my way to be a friend to people and no one is a friend to me.
Woe is me, I treat them like gold and they treat me like glass.
Woe is me, I go without so they can have and they couldn’t care less.
I would think I guess maybe one day people will appreciate me. Or maybe my treasure is just stored up in Heaven because I cannot find it anywhere on this earth. Then it hit me – By over giving I was being selfish. Yep you read that right I was being selfish.
I had NEVER seen myself as selfish, I mean how could I be selfish as much as I was giving away! First and foremost, I was selfish because as Iyanla said my giving was inauthentic. I gave because I wanted something in return. I wanted the people I was giving to, to give back to me in return. I wasn’t giving purely because I wanted them to have, I was giving with the ulterior motive that it would make them want to give back to me.
I should have been giving the things I wanted to receive from others to myself.
I was tired, exhausted and just running myself ragged. My lack of energy was a bright red flag that I was neglecting myself. I would give and then wonder why are all of these people so horrible.
What I have come to find is that the phrase “givers attract takers” is not entirely true. Givers without boundaries who engage in over giving attract takers. Givers who have healthy boundaries, who make sure they meet their needs and don’t neglect themselves attract other healthy givers. The reason why givers without unhealthy boundaries attract takers is because they themselves are takers – they are taking from themselves what they need and giving it to other people.
In essence they are looking for someone else to love them, take care of them and to give to them the things that they should give to themselves. The thing about life is that you can’t give away what you don’t have. You can only love another person as much as you love yourself.
As a matter of fact, have you ever tried to give to someone who is a people pleaser? Did you notice how they won’t accept anything from you? You say, “Hey let me help you with that”, they will tell you “no, I got it”. You offer them money and they won’t take it. They can’t receive from you, not because they are humble, but because they truly don’t know how to receive from you since they don’t practice receiving from themselves.
I noticed that as I do for myself I start to feel more comfortable allowing others to do for me. I also have begun declining to do things that I really don’t want to do and learning not to feel guilty about it.
I have started putting me first and in turn I became less selfish.
People pleasing is indeed selfish. It is the act of being too lazy to do the work of giving to yourself and expecting others to give to you what you aren’t even willing to give to yourself. The funny thing about people pleasing in the hopes of people giving you the love you seek is that you will always come up empty.
This is because what you aren’t willing to give yourself, life will not allow you to receive from others.
Put yourself first in your own life by making sure your needs are met. It is not selfish to love yourself. It is not selfish to rest when your body is weary. It is not selfish to make sure you are taking care of the vessel that is your body. Put you first and in turn you will open yourself up to receiving from others. Give because you want to give, not because you think being a martyr is a badge of honor. So please stop making other people a thief by giving away what you need, and love yourself enough to keep your cup full.
© Renata Pittman and RenataNicole, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.