Who are you living for?
These days I’m working on untangling a core pattern that goes like this:
My life has meaning only if I’m helping people.
People only want me around to the extent that I’m helping them.
I really ought to be saving the world now.
Is this productive? I should be doing something productive that helps people.
In my life it shows up as a busy-ness that doesn’t feed me; a disconnected state of grasping at being valuable and having purpose. When I approach life in that way, I am living from emptiness and scarcity rather than inspiration. In my body it feels like a tired, sad, emptiness.
Where does this pattern come from? I have some ideas, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that living this way doesn’t bring me joy. I end up tired, burnt out, and disconnected from myself. Inspiration flares and then burns out if it isn’t grounded in authentic enjoyment.
There are many different ways to work with patterns like this. What feels helpful at the moment is creating this to put up on my fridge:
I know this is what I need because it feels good in my body.
This is not saying anything against helping others. In the human family we absolutely need each other and need to contribute to each other. But my inspiration and motivation for being of service has to come from an inner place of self-connection and self-valuing or it isn’t sustainable. When I get burnt out, I’m not helping myself, let alone anyone else.
Contribution that is balanced and free feels good in your body. It feeds you, it doesn’t drain you. When you give from a full, free place, people benefit without it costing you. That’s the kind of giving I am going for, and in order to live that way I need to work out this saving-people thing.
In your life, where are you living for something other than your own joy?