I Lost Myself In Trying To Rescue Others

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By Sarah Dowell

As someone that has always been a people pleaser, the idea of seeing things as they really are has consistently been something that terrifies me. I either consciously or subconsciously choose to ignore what a person really is just so I can see the best in them.

If someone treats me badly, it’s almost as if I intentionally blind myself to it just so that I can see them a different way, so that maybe I can help them and they won’t do that anymore.

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My mother says that I see the world through rose-colored lenses.

I used to get upset with her when she would say things like this to me. I would stand up for the person that she was referring to. 

However, while standing up for them, I would be drowning with them in whatever negative habit it is that was originally worrying her.

I realize I’ve put myself through a lot more than I needed to in order to try to “rescue” someone. Maybe I don’t always have to be the rescuer.

I’ve never been a person to set a “New Year’s Resolution,” but this year is different. This year, my resolution is to become the best version of myself that I can be.

I look at myself now and I feel disappointed. I’ve let myself get dragged around, beaten down, and torn apart by people that I’ve been trying to help.

People walk on me, and in doing this they’ve taken advantage of not only me but my family as well. My family is full of forgiving people that will give out endless chances.

The other day, I was on the phone with my mother, and she said, “I’m just tired of having my heart ripped out trying to save people.” While she has many, many more years of experience on this than I do, I can relate to her.  

I’m tired of trying to save people that don’t care. It gets exhausting putting your heart and soul into a person just to have them stomp on it and walk away.

It’s not my job to save the world.

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I am setting this goal for myself, and I’m not viewing it as a goal to kick off 2021. It’s going to be a long-term life skill I’ll be working on.

I don’t have to save everyone in the world. If someone is struggling, I can make a choice to help, or I can make a choice to walk away.

I will always be the type of person that wants to help everyone, but that is my choice.

I don’t want to be walked all over anymore. Nor do I want to be hurt anymore, struggle anymore, and I don’t want to fight just to believe that everyone is good anymore.

I want to surround myself with people that genuinely care, that genuinely love, and want to be in my life.

As someone that’s always been a people pleaser, I’ve realized maybe it’s time to take a step back and allow myself to grow as a whole. I plan to do this by not investing so much time in other people and focusing on myself.

Maybe this change can lead to me being the best version of myself. I have hopes, I have dreams, and I have things that I know that I can accomplish.

I’ve always let people drag me down and tell me that my wishes were silly or stupid, and I’m not going to accept that anymore.

I’m going to become the person that I should have and could have been from the very start.

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Sarah Dowell is a writer whose work has appeared on Unwritten, YourTango, and Thought Catalog. She's passionate writing about helping people love themselves and finding true happiness.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.