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#TaggTeamWithToni: How do I balance between helping others and being taken advantage of?

Fri, Aug 05, 2022

Through tarot readings, Bakang uses meditation and mindfulness to provide guidance on matters ranging from love and career to their life paths

Q: How do I know the difference between helping others and overextending myself? How can I tell if I am being taken advantage of?

The desire to be seen as a useful and important part of people’s lives is normal. For many people, being useful to others provides a level of emotional security because we think if we cater to them well enough, they will stay with us and affirm and celebrate us. When one is perpetually compelled by the desire to experience external validation however, they run the risk of self-abandonment.

Self-abandonment in this case looks like constantly placing the opinions and emotions of others before our own. It’s important to understand that somebody experiencing a certain emotion in relation to your actions is not an indictment against you – which is to say, just because someone is disappointed in you, doesn’t mean you’re a disappointment. Any time someone tries to make you feel like those two are the same, know that they’re probably trying to emotionally manipulate you into doing what they want and not necessarily what’s beneficial to you.

Self-abandonment in this case looks like constantly placing the opinions and emotions of others before our own

Boundaries exist to keep you and the things that matter to you together, not necessarily to keep others out. These things – at the forefront of which are your overall health and peace of mind – are protected by your discernment and the courage to say “no.” When they feel compromised, it’s important to take a step back to ask yourself whether you’re overextending yourself and if that’s truly necessary or noble.

It’s okay to want to be a good person, but what good is it to be that for other people and never yourself?

Contrary to popular belief, compliments from other people cannot be a substitute for true self appreciation. While it may be nice to hear that you’re good to and for other people in their times of crisis, that pride you feel when they say that is fleeting. To chase that fleeting warmth is to constantly be at the mercy of other people and their intentions and whims. Chasing that validation also means not fully being present for your own needs and not paying attention to the rhythm of your own life.  You can only get so far, being everybody’s something and nothing to yourself.

Boundaries exist to keep you and the things that matter to you together

When people truly care for you, they help you care for yourself. With this in mind, I’d suggest you evaluate your bonds and be honest with yourself about who in your life has actually been beneficial for your growth. As difficult as it may be, it’s necessary to know where and when to pull your energy and love back.

Takers take and they won’t tell you when enough is enough: it’s your responsibility to preserve what’s important to you. While losing these people may be unpleasant at first, the reward will be a renewed vitality for you.

Watch how much better you feel about yourself and your choices when you choose your wellbeing and decide to actively ensure that your relationships are based on reciprocity. There is no real glory in being self-sacrificial, but there’s definitely glory to be found in practicing self-preservation and showing yourself that you’ll make the tough calls to ensure that you’re safe and well cared for. Doing it for other people is easy but temporary, doing it for yourself is sometimes hard, but always worthwhile.

  • If you would like Toni aka Bakang to answer your personal questions – whether they are about the meaning of life, love problems or colleagues with weird vibes – DM us on Twitter. We'll keep you anonymous 😉

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