Why Sometimes You Need To Help Yourself Before Helping Your Friends

I’ll admit, I’m a very loyal friend and if you say you need me, I’ll be there in a heartbeat regardless of the time of day or situation if I can. I love that I have so many people who can lean on me when times get rough and can rely on me. It shows they trust me and value our friendship.

And while I love knowing my friends heavily rely on me, sometimes I need a break from all of their issues. It becomes too much for me to handle and I feel like I can’t focus on myself.

Let me explain, I’ve gone through many hardships and I’ve rarely had my friends help me in the way that I help them. I was forced to move on and get over things alone. So I genuinely work at my goal of self-growth. I’m always focusing on how to grow myself effectively and nurture my mental health. I know what I need to do to keep myself sane, and my alone time and self-reflection is something I value and make an effort to work at. Without it, I fall back into a bad place mentally.

So when I have 5 friends with different problems who are all struggling I want to be there for them. I know what it’s like to be alone and it sucks. I know they need me. But it’s exhausting always having people beg for my time when I just need a night to myself instead of going for dinner or hanging out to cry.

It gets to a point where I have so many people leaning too heavily on me that I don’t have any space for myself to stand. I get suffocated. The noise of their stories drowns the thoughts of my silence and I can’t even hear myself think.

Unfortunately, when we are experiencing trauma or heartbreak we think extremely selfishly so I know my friends don’t consider what I have going on or any issues I may have. I know they don’t mean to get mad at me either when I say “no” because I have other plans. They’re acting on impulse and hurt, some might even feel abandonment.

And the guilt that someone may feel lonely or worthless because I won’t be there to help them when they desperately need it kills my conscious. I hate making people feel that way! But I know I have to do it in order to keep myself in a good place too.

It’s like the air mask analogy. You know on airplanes where they say, “always place an oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others because if you don’t help yourself you can’t help others?” Think of friendships like that at times. You can’t be a good friend to someone else if you can’t be good to yourself first.

The biggest sign that I’ve hit my wall of advice and support is that I become too blunt and they don’t like it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been the friend to tell it how it is, but I always sound nice about it. But when I’m done with a situation, I’ll put it in the harshest terms because I don’t know how else to say it to make my friends see it. It’s like I’m on my last bit of energy in my battery and I’m trying to make the most impact with what I have left.

I’m not ashamed to say that sometimes I can’t handle several people coming at me with their problems all at once, because it’s so overwhelming. Plus, I’m an empath, we absorb other people’s feelings and energy. If you need to take a break for a day or two, just tell them you need a minute for yourself, they’ll understand eventually.

It sucks having a good conscious and being a good friend, but sometimes we shouldn’t feel shame for being selfish when we need it the most.

Featured image via WeHeartIt.

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