Give until it hearts.
No pain no gain.
If I'm doing the right thing i should have no sorrows, conflicts, problems.
You should ...
I aught to ...
They have no right to ...
My sympathetic compatriot, right or wrong, (and if I offer a different perspective I'll be shunned so I won't).
Avoid pain at all costs.
Pay anything for (insert here "safety", "peace", "friends", "love", "security", "pleasure," et al).
Avoid risk at all costs.
Risk anything for (insert here "safety", "peace", "friends", "love", "security", "pleasure," et al).
If it "feels good" I'll do it (and if it does not really feel good, I'll just try doing more of the same painful thing and getting more bad results until I consider doing something different).
If it "feels bad/uncomfortable" it can't be good .... dental work? chemo therapy? sobriety that leads to healing?
Too often we do not examine our choices, our options, our assumptions, our beliefs, our responsibilities, our outcomes, the effect of our choices on those we love, our job choices, our educational choices, our family choices, our housing choices, our budgeting choices, our entertainment choices. We just drift along, sometimes with good outcomes and other times being surprised when failure to notice our surrounding results in some pretty crumby stuff to clean up.
Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by taking responsibility for ourselves and in some families we have not seen how that works or how it can be beneficial because "taking responsibility" can be double-speak for "taking control of others" and can be dangerous where families and/or communities punish efforts to be personally responsible.
So if we lack a trustworthy road map or are just beginning to consider that we might have options we have not recognized, a good place to start is to consider if we are working where we have authority.
I mean this: if I spend much of my time and resources trying to fix a lot of other people or even one person who I feel superior to because I am their parent or child or smarter or stronger or more righteous than they or any other reason, then I do not have appropriate time, resources and focus to take proper care of my own responsbilities. If my house needs the trim painted and I'm next door yelling at my elderly neighbors that they need to do a better job of weeding then it is clear: I'm not putting my energy where it is helpful either to my own needs or theirs. If I tend to my responsibility to care for my own house I'll probably be so delighted with my nicer looking house, I might even do a little (kind) weeding for my neighbor.
So often when I'm wanting to "fix" those I love I find upon closer inspection that I am the one who is feeling frightened or lonely or bitter or frustrated or angry or hungry or tired or far from God. And this is the amazing and delightful part....God has given me authority over all of those things: my feelings, my actions and my willingness to quit fighting God are all my very own to embrace or change or discard. Of course, I then may be living with consequences that I do not enjoy, but still the choices remain -- to continue doing what is not working or to embrace something new that might be better for me. And, of course, I may find that a new choice is leading me in healthier, more hope-filled and empowering ways (even though they are not "easy" ways which rarely bring anything good).
So learning about boundaries helps us frame our challenges and choices in far more powerful ways than slogging along trying to convince everyone else to make us happier or wealthier or better or in less pain or filled with less fear.
Tomorrow: If this is familiar, there may be a God-approved way to restore the joy of giving of ourselves, but it requires US to change some things first.
Musings upon reading: Boundaries: When to Say YES and When to Say NO To Take Control of Your Life (See BOOKS tab above.)