To Do For Others…

by Jim on March 16, 2013


I just got off the phone with someone. They described all that they were doing for others. Doing and doing and doing and doing and doing…and doing…and doing…and doing…for others.

When I see them in person, that’s what they talk about, too, what they’re doing for others. Oh, they’re not saying “Oh, look at me, look at how good I am for doing this or that for them.” No, that’s not the case. That’s the “needy,” the “look at me” world view, and I’m sure I’ll get to blog about that sometime along the way, but to be clear, that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m also not talking about the compulsions and cravings and the addictions to sex, drugs, and rock and roll…no…I’m not talking about feeding an addiction or an unhealthy behavior.

What I’m talking about here is a person who has learned from childhood to do for others…and abandon themselves…to forget about themselves altogether. This past week in another conversation with another person, they said “I’ve forgotten about me in my life.”

And this is what I’m talking about in this post of doing for others…

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen it, and in full disclosure, I’ve done it myself. I’ve left ME out of the picture so that I could DO for others.

This isn’t a crime, it isn’t a sin…but many of us are taught that if we do for ourselves, that it just might be a sin, or wrong, or bad in the eyes of God, or bad in the eyes of my parents, my friends, my lover, my husband, my wife, or complete strangers who’ll judge me…just because I wanted to do something for myself.

There IS a problem with this. It’s unhealthy. And it hurts. It can lead to soo many things that just screw up our lives even more. And it’s all a lie.

The truth is that it is essential that we do for ourselves so that we CAN do for others. If we don’t, we can burn out, not give a shit at all, and give up. Many with addiction challenges will say the “Fuck its” and just go out because they’ve screwed up once, so why not go all the way, and drink till they can’t see straight…others will have sex with anyone who says yes, inject it because after all…who cares?

When we give our everything…don’t give you.

We MUST take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others. If you haven’t flown in an airplane, that’s what the Flight Attendant will say (or many times it’s now told on the video that they’ll show)…if the oxygen masks come down, they’ll tell us, if you have a baby or small child, put the oxygen mask OVER YOURSELF FIRST so that you can breathe, and THEN give the small child a mask. Otherwise the kid WON’T be able to reach it, and you’ll both die.

…So I encouraged this person on the phone what I’m encouraging you. Do SOMETHING for yourself. It’s really okay. It’s not wrong to do for yourself, to include you in the picture. You are the captain of your own life and your life can only be steered by you. I encouraged them to take a walk, maybe up to Griffith Park here in Los Angeles, so they could see that incredible view. Read a book. Sing a song. It doesn’t matter. I was clear that what he did for himself was none of my business. I only wanted to reinforce the truth that this caller has choices, and gets to want, and gets to include themelves in their life…you do too.


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