Signs You Care About Other People More Than You Care About Yourself
There is no denying that it is very admirable to be a caring person — the person your friends, family, and significant other can go to when they need support. Heck, you might be everyone’s first call in a time of crisis. But could it be that you are giving too much? It is entirely possible that you care so much about others, that your own needs have been put on the back-burner. This in turn leads to low self-esteem, and even an inability to find time for your own needs.
So where do you draw the line at caring just enough and completely sacrificing yourself? Here are key signs that you care more about others than you do about yourself.
1. You’re surrounded by needy people
It could be that your tendency to give too much comes from the company around you. If all of your closest connections are needy, you are more likely to take care of them first. “Some people can be parasites,” The HuffPost says of these attention-starved personalities. “They suck out your happiness, energy and maybe some of your tangible resources as well.” If you are constantly surrounded by people who force you to always put them first, then it’s time to reevaluate your friendships and direct your caring disposition elsewhere.
2. You lie, to yourself and others
When you care about others more than you care about yourself, you can become too caught up in what they think of you. This can drive you to lie about small things in order to constantly win their approval. Psychology Today says these people have an impression-management personality “What they care about, in particular, is what other people think of them,” the story says. That need for approval from the individuals you care about leads you to tell little white lies.
If you start keeping track of how quick you are to fib, you’ll better be able to manage your own wants and beliefs.
3. You don’t stick up for yourself
It’s possible think you don’t matter as much as others, so you completely lose sight of sticking up for yourself. “Our deep desire to belong, coupled with our fear of rejection, can trigger our vulnerability and override our better judgement,” Forbes explains. This can be made worse if the other person knows you care too much about their opinion.
The same article recommends taking “a moment to consider where you sometimes stay silent rather than speaking up to make a stand for yourself.” This is the first step in helping you teach others how to treat you properly, instead of putting you in a position of being silenced.
4. You’re expected to take care of things
Don’t get it twisted — it’s wonderful to be viewed as a dependable person. But when you are constantly giving to other people, they might start to assume that you will take care of their problems without even asking.
The solution here might sound ridiculously simple, but it is your best bet: Start saying no. Your over-caring looks like a weakness to others, and now they are taking advantage of you.
5. You have trouble making your own decisions
When you spend most of your time catering to everyone else’s plans, it makes it difficult to plan for yourself. This leads to codependent behavior, in which you can’t even make decisions, both big and small, without thinking about how others will respond. This type of behavior leads you to become an “external decision maker,” CEO and author Tom Ferry writes in The HuffPost. “They simply can’t move forward without the validation from others,” Ferry notes.
While considering others in your decision-making shows sympathy, letting that stop you from making decisions is a hindrance. It might take some time, but brushing off your impulse to run every decision by others is the best way to correct this behavior.
6. You shoulder other people’s blame
It’s important to step back and recognize where caring about someone else’s problems turns into you trying to make things better for them. “Caring does not mean you need to make someone else’s pain yours or that you need to fix their problem,” psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps, Ph.D. writes on WebMD. Let the other person stress over their own problems, and feel the weight lift off your shoulders.
7. You feel guilty about having ‘me time’
What an over-carer needs more than anything is some R&R so they can focus on themselves. But if you’ve completely sacrificed caring for yourself, taking some “me time” might leave you feeling guilty. “If you are used to putting others first it’s hard to prioritize yourself,” BootsWebMD agrees. So instead of enjoying a quiet hour alone with a book or going to get a mani-pedi, you end up worried that someone will think you are being self-absorbed. That’s when the guilt trip sets in.
Finding a balance between caring for others and having time for yourself is crucial in maintaining a better mental state and being a happier, healthier version of yourself.