What I want to know is, at what point do you step back and start saving yourself? What is it going to take for you to realize that you cannot save or help others, especially if you are a mess yourself? We cannot rescue anyone, if we are amidst drowning ourselves. There’s a reason why on planes, they tell parents to first place the oxygen mask over their own face, before assisting their children with theirs. This is because if you don’t take care of you first, you won’t be any good to them. Healer, heal thine own self first. Now, I am not talking about helping others through charitable work, church work, or even just standard family and friend help. I am talking about helping those we are romantically involved with, or even friends and family that we always find ourselves wrapped up in helping through drama. Those that take and take from us and sometimes end up draining us.
A huge flaw that I’ve come to realize within myself, is that because I am broken, I often seek out other people that are broken too. I’m speaking of men I’ve dated, in particular. This is because broken people try to help other broken people as a way to satisfy something in themselves. A feeling of emptiness and sadness, that can only be temporarily satisfied by the joy that comes from helping someone else. Often seen as enabling or being codependent. Therefore, when we find a guy or girl to date and see that they have even the slightest warning sign flashing, we don’t run as we probably should. Instead, we think…PROJECT. We tell ourselves that we can help them change. We can help them see what we see in them. But the truth is, we can’t always do this. Chances of accomplishing this are actually quite slim.
Someone on Facebook shared a quote image by Alfa, that says “I hope you find the one who quiets the screams. I hope you find the one that understands your silence. I hope you find the one that is patient while you’re healing. I hope you find the one who accepts all of you”. It is poetic or even romantic to think that we can find the one that we can heal, or the one that will heal us, but be real with yourself and know that you may never find that person. Why am I such a cynic and pessimist, you ask? Because in almost every relationship that I have been in, They have convinced me of how they were there for me. They were going to be the hero to my story. My prince and saving grace. My ex-boyfriend, Geiger was even great at calming me when my temper got the best of me, or comforting me when my depression came on. Then, it always turned to what I could do for him. I became victim because of my weakness and desire to help others. You cannot rely on anyone to quiet your screams. You cannot wait for the one that understands your silence. Just as you cannot heal anyone else, they cannot heal you. I’ve said it before and I will say it a million more times…be your own hero in your story. If you are feeling depressed and think you need someone to heal you, then get professional help. Someone that is an outsider and will not just tell you what you want to hear. Someone that will tell you what you need to hear. Rely on your circle too. I’ve spent more than half my life dealing with the screams (so to speak) going on in my own head. Dealing with depression that I didn’t understand. No one has ever been able to save me, but me. My friends, kids, and co-workers have all been great in being there for me. Cheering me up when I was down. Going with me places when I just needed a change of scenery, or a drink. Putting up with me boo-hooing over this break up or that douche bag. But, it didn’t heal me. I had to do that. I had to personally do the work and seek out the therapy I needed, in order to work on me. I am still working on me each and every day. No one can change me, but me. I have to want the change and pursue the change in me. So do you. So do they. You are in charge of your own happiness. You are only as happy as you choose to be.
How am I healing and changing, you ask? Well, I stepped back and took a look in the mirror and saw the things that I keep doing wrong. I am breaking the cycle. I will not date guys that give me even one initial sign that they need me for something. I will not date anyone that shows me even a slight sign of narcissism. I will no longer date or hang out with guys that cannot or will not show me that they respect my value. What is my value? Take the largest number you can imagine and multiply that by that same number, then you’re still not even close to my value. I will never again be someone’s booty call. I will not allow any man to ever move into my home again, if he can’t show me that he can do for me, what I can do for him. Relationships are a partnership, not a charity. Sure, I am limiting myself on what could be out there for me. I may even be missing out on Mr. Right, because of being too judgmental and picky. But I am also ensuring that I am saving myself and not drowning while saving them. I have no doubt that despite this outlook, the one that I am meant to be with, will find me. Where there’s a will there is a way…and I know that God has a will and a plan for my life, and that includes my love life.
On a second note, the ones we are constantly saving, may not even be those we are dating. It could be a parent, a friend, a sibling, or even an adult child. Someone that just refuses to grow up and be an adult, or maybe someone with a drug or alcohol problem. Could even be a gambler with money problems. Whatever their vice is, it doesn’t have to be yours. I am not saying turn your back on everyone. Not at all. What I am saying is that we cannot heal and fix anyone, no matter how much we love them or try. You may help someone, but evaluate the situation. You may be doing more harm than good by enabling them. Just like with you, they have to take the step to heal themselves. They have to want to get better or grow up and take care of themselves. Nothing you can do, will change them if they don’t want to change! The best thing you can do is help them to find help and encourage them through that. Not pick up the pieces for them. I watched as my ex in-laws constantly paid my ex-husband’s debts, or gave him money when I wouldn’t, and he still refused to get off the drugs and make something of himself. He just kept taking from them, and then eventually from me. He destroyed me financially. But, no one stopped the support, so he never hit rock bottom to where he was forced to grow up and change. Instead, he abandoned our family and fled the law with the help of his parents. 9 plus years later and they’re still aiding him out there somewhere. In every scenario, we all have to hit that rock bottom breaking point, whatever it is, in order to realize that it is time to start climbing up. As much as it may hurt, as agonizing as it may be to watch, you have to let them go and let them get to that point of wanting to help themselves. If they never do, then that’s on them, not you. You cannot blame yourself ever, for not doing enough.
It is hard not to help people we care about. It’s hard to watch people go down the rabbit hole and not want to save them. But sometimes that is all you can do. Because at some point, you have to step back and save yourself.
Galatians 6:5…For every man shall bear his own burdens.