Instinctually, I want to help everyone. Because if I can help everyone, then I can think that I’m “a good girl”.
This sort of thinking gets you in trouble.
It means you wrack your brains after every conversation, analyzing each response and trying to see if you could make it better. It means every sob story (that you know is a lie) strikes you with unnecessary ferocity. Helpfulness pushed this far, turns you into an anxious mess.
And often, this helpfulness manifests in a real-world problem. Loud neighbors.
Really loud neighbors. Talking loudly at each other, at midnight. For the second night in a row.
Before I would have agonized for ages about whether I should ask them to be quiet. But this behavior is problematic:
- I don’t react outwardly when I should, causing emotions to bottle and inappropriately explode.
- I’m actively telling myself that I’m less important than total strangers.
- I think about tiny events for days or weeks afterward because they never get resolved. This causes exhaustion.
So I got my ass out of bed and nicely asked them to please keep it down after 10 pm tonight, and for all nights. Yes, it sucked to do it, but they shut up and I got to go back to sleep.
This tiny selfish act of mine is starting to tell me that yes, I’m important. Yes, I’m worth something.
Trying to suppress your feelings and needs might make everyone else feel good, but it will eventually destroy you. So let it out. Get it resolved. And move on with your day.
You’re worth the brief social discomfort.