Jacki Keys has been in the IT realm for nearly 20 years, but has grown into the role of Client Advocate at Harmony Healthcare in Dublin, Ohio. There she empowers people to heal themselves with good nutrition and keeps the office running smoothly. She is passionate about helping people to discover their true selves through intuitive guidance.
It's Broken, Don't Fix It
We find ourselves drawn to a person or into a situation because of something that appeals to us. Once there, we find something is broken that we need to fix. Bent on fixing it, we pour every shred of ourselves into the repair process. Along the way, we ignore red flags that would otherwise keep the situation balanced and healthy. At some point we realize that attempting to fix what we perceived to be broken has actually broken us.
We’ve all been there. Actually, I’m sure most of us are in some stage of that cycle right now. Jobs, relationships, family… You need money, so you take that corporate job that pays well. It starts out fine, but after you’ve been there a while, you’re on-call all the time and working lots of hours. But overtime means more money, so you keep it up. There’s a problem with the infrastructure. You work on it between putting out fires, but you can never quite get a handle on it. More fires, more hours; repeat until you’re exhausted. You barely see your family, and when you do you’re still dealing with work. Quality time dwindles. You make plenty of money, but it’s somehow never enough, and you can’t remember the last time you just had an afternoon of carefree fun.
Or you’re in a relationship and you feel like you can help the other person somehow. You try to help, but when the person doesn’t change the behavior you found problematic, you just keep trying. Eventually you find yourself drained to the point that you’ve got nothing left to give. But you keep going, because you think they need you and you can’t just leave them like that.
Well, not only can you leave, but it’s very likely what would be best for all involved. But it’s almost certainly what’s best for you. I can imagine the voice in your head just said something like, “That’s all well and good, but that doesn’t apply to this situation/person/thing.” Or maybe “That’s easy for you to say. You haven’t invested your time and money into x, y or z.”
That voice is lying to you. Really, it is.
There is nothing we need to do that needs to be done to our detriment. If we ignore this, we get to the stage that our help is not part of self-love, it is a part of self-destruction.
–Bo L. Arnold
It’s the things we make exceptions for that cause the most trouble. “This is different because…” Those are dangerous words. They keep your blinders on. Instead of those words, begin that same statement with “I don’t want to be happy because…” or "I don't think I deserve to be happy because..." That is likely much closer to the truth.
If that’s too big and scary, try this exercise. Make a short list of people and situations in your life. As you read them off, note whether you feel energized or drained when you say each one. Of course there is a lot of nuance in our interactions, but we tend to hide in the complexity. Put a laser fine point on it.
Hint: The first things that came to mind are generally your biggest drains.
Our society teaches us that we’re being selfish if we practice self-care. This is probably the biggest stumbling block for most people. It’s not selfish or bad, though. It’s essential to being happy, healthy and able to help others. You must put on your oxygen mask first before assisting other passengers. There are no exceptions to that rule. If you being happy and healthy is somehow not the best way for you to be in some situation or relationship, then how could that be good for you? How could it be good for anybody else?
Those are hard questions, but I promise that you have nothing to lose by asking them. Nothing you truly want to keep, anyway. You deserve nothing less than to be the happiest and healthiest version of yourself possible. And if you've identified those drains and you're still not ready to let them go, that's alright. At the very least, you might have an awareness that you didn't have before, and sometimes that seed might need some time to grow. Accept yourself where you are and love yourself through it. Now give yourself a big hug, go eat some chocolate, or do something that just makes you feel good. Give yourself a break!