As we get older, I think it is important to constantly redefine and challenge your identity. Who we think we are based on cultural conditioning or past experiences may be completely deviant from who we strive to become. For me, I defined my identity based on being nurturing, caring, and selfless.
I am the friend people turn to when they need advice, I am the daughter that is there for my parents when they need support emotionally, and I am the person that people rely on to be “there”. This idea of who I am has become so strong that I have let it be the most important definition of my identity in the expense of my own well-being. I put others in front of me because, fixing other people’s mess is easier than dealing with my own. I take care of everyone else empathizing with their situation and internalizing their pain. What I want to do or what I need to do is an afterthought that I save for when I have time. Being in tune with my emotion always comes secondary to those around me who rely on me for advice, love or support.
As much as I love being this nurturing person and I consider it a gift, excess of something is never good. It needs balance like everything else. I cannot internalize everyone else’s pain to the point that I cannot feel my own feelings. I cannot focus my life on “saving” others or improving their life that my own life goes astray. I need to respect myself to honor my own time. Being “selfish” seems to be viewed as something completely negative but, respecting your own time is self-honoring rather than selfish.
So, I encourage you to constantly redefine who you are to keep yourself balanced. Some values are important to us that we hold on to forever. I will always be the caring, nurturing, and a giving person. It is something that I am proud of but, I will also hold myself accountable when I find the balance tipping. I will prioritize myself to be able to care for others so, I don’t become resentful, angry or bitter. I will walk my own path and create identities that are more than just these limited value systems.