I used to have a friend who often neglected herself. She put other people’s needs first. She gave up her time and energy not because she was selfless, but because of what would happen if she stopped her people-pleasing ways. That friend was me.

I think a lot of us give out of obligation. We were brought up to be humble, generous, and self-serving. Our culture supported it. Our families insisted on it. And for a long time we subscribe to it because it feels good to be known as the giver, the self-sacrificer, the helpful one. But what I’ve discovered over time is that consistently burying your needs so that you can focus on the needs of others leaves you resentful. You learn to distrust yourself. Any positive effects from helping loved ones begin to wane as self-doubt grows stronger. “How much can someone really love me if they don’t even know who I am?” you think to yourself.

Over time you may begin to lose yourself. You forget that your existence doesn’t depend on pleasing others. You lose sight of why you’re giving in the first place. To truly give is a gift that benefits both the giver and receiver. Giving out of obligation or fear, on the other hand, is emotionally depleting and self-serving. If you’re struggling with giving too much, you might be grappling with self-esteem issues or just need a wake up call to start taking better care of yourself. This week our posts will give you the tools for self-healing whether your issues originate from a bad day or an unhealthy pattern of living.

{Flickr photo by: Frank McMains}

The Key to Why YOU Get Anxious
(Therapy That Works) – Is an upcoming presentation, test, plane ride or other external circumstance making you anxious? Here’s the truth about anxiety and what really causes it.

Developing Self-Hatred
(The Emotionally Sensitive Person) – This post identifies six ways you may unknowingly be contributing to your own self-hatred.

Avoiding An Emotional Hangover: Picking Yourself Back Up
(Caregivers, Family & Friends) – What do you do if you find yourself emotionally drained, stressed or depressed? Read what five self-care tools will cure an emotional hangover.

Reading as Therapy
(Lessons from the Couch) – Books can open the door to another world offering relaxation and escape. It can also be healing. Learn how this therapist uses books to help her clients see their lives in a new light.

Narcissists are Hypnotists: How You Can Break the Spell
(The Impact of Sex Addiction) – Does a narcissist have control over your life? How to break free from the charm, seduction and cleverness of a true narcissist.