We all give every day—to our partners, friends, family, neighbors, jobs and community. While it's healthy and vital to help the ones we love, many of us struggle to balance these needs with our own. This can lead to trouble: either we become too self-absorbed, or we find it hard to say "no" to others in order to have a little "me" time. As part of our Love Starts Within spotlight, we asked some of our Experts to share their advice on how to grapple with these demands from multiple angles:
If I Don't Look Out For "Me," Who Will?
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What if there was no separation between "you" and "me"? There isn't.
What if every action you took somehow impacted everyone and everything else? It does.
It is time to wake up, grow up and get responsible about the things we do and say. We can no longer ignore the debris we leave behind when we live unconsciously in a "me, me, me" bubble. Like it or not, we are connected to one another throughout this journey called life. It's time to make different choices in how we engage with ourselves, others and the world.
There is a very simple formula for making this change. First, find a way each day to be of service to someone else, which is different than "helping." Helping can be tinged with a touch of ego—a sense of being better than, more capable of, or doing something for someone. These are semantics on some level, but the distinction is important.
To be of service to someone, set aside your own agenda, open your heart and ask, "What can I do for this person?" instead of, "What do I need to do for them so I feel better about me?" This will allow you to connect heart-to-heart and to give with real love and compassion. When giving in this way, you won't feel depleted because you are not giving from an agenda. 6 Tips For A More Compassionate Relationship
Secondly, if you are someone who neglects yourself in favor of giving to others, you can instead choose to practice self-love to find balance. Remember, you are not being your best self if you're constantly setting aside your own needs to the point of running your time, money or energy into the ground. Take some time out of your day for you and only you.
There is an utter brilliance you experience when you balance taking care of your own needs with being of service to others. As you begin to lead your life more from this place—self-love balanced with love for the larger "we"—your light will shine through. When you light up a room with this kind of love, you will attract all the love you desire and more.
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What Does A Balanced Relationship Look Like?
I'm always trying to help my clients let go of their old, sabotaging behaviors, and find new ones that ensure they'll achieve the love they want. I believe that the healthiest and longest relationships are based on the following principles: cooperation, care, communication, collaboration, mutual understanding, respect and love.