Theravive Home

The Latest in Therapy News

June 18, 2014
by Caleen Martin

5 steps to rid yourself of the uncomfortable feelings of extreme self-care.

June 18, 2014 02:55 by Caleen Martin

Why is it that we are so good at caring for others and so dysfunctional when it comes to caring for ourselves? Our culture has trained us to be givers, not takers. The problem is that being the proverbial 'good girl/boy' will literally rob us of our lives. We find that we never seem to have time for ourselves, our relationships become one-sided and we become more resentful towards others over time. 

We can do more than see this happening, we feel it. The stress and tension in our bodies, the fatigue and anxiety that wars within us throughout the day. So why do we have such a difficult time with our own self-care?

Do you ever tell yourself: 

  • I want people to like me. 

  • I don't like confrontation. 

  • I don't want to disappoint anyone. 

If these statements sound familiar you aren't alone in your fears. The problem however are that these fears are perpetuating our legacy of deprivation. We may have watched our parents do the same things we are and our children will follow us. This is not a legacy we want to pass on. 

Our to do lists become longer, we over give to anyone who needs us, we ignore our needs and stuff down our emotions with food or alcohol. Our physical and emotional selves suffer. It's no wonder we have so many diseases wrecking havoc with our physical and emotional well-being. 

Stopping the deprivation 

The first step in stopping the deprivation is to acknowledge it. Then sit back and take a few deep breaths. Whether you've made mistakes, taken on more than you should or regretted doing something you can change your behavior. We teach people how to treat us so we can also teach them to treat us differently if we're not getting our needs met. We need to take full responsibility for the fact that we have allowed ourselves to set the stage of our own deprivation. We have trained the people in our lives to expect certain things from us. So where do you start? 

Let me disappoint you 

As uncomfortable as it will be in the beginning we must be willing to disappoint people on occasion. We must be willing to hold others accountable for what they need and want. We cannot and should not do it all. We need to create a very specific 'Do Not' list for ourselves which should look something like this: 

Do Not 

  • allow myself to have an inappropriate sense of entitlement over things in my current life that others are capable of doing. 

  • take on anything that I feel is an obligation or makes me feel guilty in any way. 

  • be a martyr. 

  • stay quiet when my needs are not being met. 

  • remain silent trying to do everything myself when I should be asking for help. 

  • say yes when I really want to say no. 

  • accommodate everyone else above taking care of myself. 

We need to allow others to be upset, feel disappointed or just not like us. We need to let go of the one-sided relationships and reteach others to treat us with respect and compassion, just as we do for them. If they feel we are just as important to them as we see they are to us, they will understand your needs and work with you. If they cannot then these are the people you need to let go of. They will suck your very soul until you have nothing left to give. We cannot allow these kinds of people to remain in our lives. 

5 steps to get you started 

  1. Have an open and honest discussion with love and compassion. You do not need to be hurtful in order to be honest. Use 'I' statements and don't blame others. Take responsibility for your actions and let your loved ones know what you need. 

  1. Find someone in your life who can be supportive and compassionate so you can vent when you need to. 

  1. Ask for help long before you feel overwhelmed. 

  1. Make space for yourself and lighten your load. What can you delegate? What can you put off or remove all together? 

  1. Give yourself time before you agree to anything. Let people know that you'll need to get back to them, then take some time to consider if you really want to say yes. If it isn't an absolute yes then it's a no. 

We will get people who will try to see if they can get us to revert to our old over-giving ways. It's no different than our children pushing limits and boundaries to see where they stand, it's human nature so we need to expect it. When this happens we need to stand firm and let them know where we stand. It takes practice and diligence but the rewards far out way the uncomfortable feelings we'll go through to start. We are talking about our lives and there is no better investment to make than in our own physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

About the Author

Caleen Martin Caleen Martin

After being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Caleen Martin has dedicated herself to research and education on chronic pain. She encourages others to pursue the best life possible, in spite of physical challenges.

Caleen Martin can be found at
blog comments powered by Disqus