I always thought I had to help people and save the world. For the first thirty or so years of my life, I was focused on helping others. I made sure friends and family had what they needed. I supported charities. I put my needs and desires legions behind the needs of others. I was driven to do it. Sometimes people did not want my help but through compulsion I pushed my assistance on them. I couldn’t help but help others. When I couldn’t help others, I felt like I was less than. When I actually received something myself, I felt selfish and bad. I was programmed to be a giver. However I was also exhausted and unhappy. Helping others felt like a duty not a joy. Yet I still thought I was meant to heal those around me and the world at large. And now it looks like that is truly part of my mission, but I had the “how” wrong. My mission to help others is not through self-sacrifice.
Over the last few years I took off the superwoman cape and learned to put myself first. I focused on my own happiness. When I did help others I did it as from a point of selfishness. I helped only when it felt good to me. And I didn’t help when it felt like a restrictive obligation or when there was something else to do which would make me feel happier. Through my coaching practice I learned to only help those who wanted help and who were ready to receive the help. I learned healthy boundaries with those who misused me and my help. And I began to think of myself first. The funny thing is I am affecting more people, making more changes in the world by being self-focused and self-giving than I ever did by sacrificing myself for others.
Just this week, a counselor in the Northeast told me of her client who was so inspired by my husband’s and my move to Mexico that he sold his house, purchased an RV, and now plans to semi-retire and travel the country. She said his eyes lit up when she told him of our pursuits and how we are thriving in Cabo after taking the risk. Some man who I do not know and will probably never meet, changed his life for the better because I changed my life for the better. All this time I spent sacrificing for others was unnecessary. By living my life, truly living my life, I help others.
Moving to Mexico to live a dream is very selfish. I thought only of my husband and myself. I didn’t stop due to family obligations. I didn’t change my mind due to societal expectations and rules. I did not put how the move would affect others above my own desire. I only thought about living my life the way I wanted to live it. By focusing on myself, by living the life that I want, by really living my life, I have become an inspiration to others and am helping to change their lives for the better.
We do not have to give up who we are or what we want. We do not have to do it for our children. We do not have to do it for our parents. We do not have to do it for anyone. Sacrificing for your children only teaches them to sacrifice themselves for others. Instead, show your children and those you love how you can care for them while not neglecting yourself. Give to yourself. Be an inspiration. Be the model of how you wish those around you would be.
What inspiring life are you going to lead?