Social Question

tedibear's avatar

How do you learn to do things for "yourself"? (please see details!)

Asked by tedibear (19267points) October 11th, 2010

Every time I think about the one big thing that is looming large in my head, I find myself hearing others saying, “You need to do that for yourself,” or “Don’t do it for someone else! Do it for you.

Trouble is, I’m not built that way. I do much better when I do things for other people. It’s much easier for me to care about someone else and/or their needs than for myself and/or my needs.

Have you been through this? Did you get past it? If so, how? Or have you found a way to work around it when you need to do something?

I put this in the Social section because I don’t mind if it gets derailed. Hey, if a derailment helps someone else, so be it.

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12 Answers

mrentropy's avatar

I’m actually going through this now. The only reason, though, is because I’m forced to and I don’t think I’m doing a good job of it.

partyparty's avatar

I get a great deal of pleasure doing things for others, and particularly when I know it is appreciated.
However I believe I should put myself first and foremost… this took me years and years to believe this… now I am where I should be and understand that I should be the most important person in my world.
I still do things for others though but in my own time.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

If “doing for others” is what butters your bread, then “doing for others” is “doing for you”. Either that, or a way to avoid doing what you really need to be doing…

Only you can answer that.

Coloma's avatar

To be a healthy and well integrated human you need to learn to give to yourself as much, or more, than to others.

‘Giving’ should be just that…giving, with no strings or expectations attached.

If you need appriciation, credit, kudos or endless gratitude you are NOT giving, you are using your giving as a means to secure some sort of acknowledgemnt and or to be ‘seen’ in a particular light that ramps up your own ego and sense of self esteem.

This is called co-dependance and co-dependants focus on others needs, problems, instead of their own.

An easy test is to watch your reactions and feelings when you do not recive back what you think you should. IF you feel resentful for not getting enough appriciation back, then..time to turn the focus on YOUR motives in ‘giving.’

If you notice resentments building this is a clue to stop over giving and not about anothers appriciation or lack thereof.

You ‘should’ be the most important person in your own life first and foremost of all, and this includes taking care of your own wants, needs and desires and making yourself your own priority.

The fact that you are even asking this question shows your self awareness is growing and you are on the right track! Good luck!

tedibear's avatar

@Coloma – If there were ultra-Lurve available, you would be receiving a heaping helping right now.

Coloma's avatar


Lol….well….no magic…as usual a lot of my own hard work over the years…high five sister! :-)

Assuming you ARE a sister and not a brother! haha

Kayak8's avatar

I, too, struggle with this one. I am a firm-believer in the “fake it til you make it” line of thought. If I clean my house so others will think it’s clean or do other things because of the people (who live rent-free in my head think I should), eventually, I hope to find joy in the outcome(s). I just keep taking the steps and doing the next right thing until I realize that I did it because I wanted it for me.

tedibear's avatar

@ColomaYes, sister. ;~) And you’ve identified a piece of this particular thing I’m sturggling with. The rest of the time, I’m pretty happy to do stuff for other people with no recognition. And I’ve done stuff for me – like going back to school two different times – and had good outcomes. It’s this one thing that’s sticking in my head. Onward…

Coloma's avatar


It’s a lifelong process. I just let go of a 15 yr. friendship because I caught my co-dependancy coming back, taking much more inititive to keep the relationship alive and started to feel resentful. Yep…caught it, and, made the decision to let go.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Take a look at what you want and determine if you want it more from someone else or if it’ll be okay if you get it yourself. This kind of references what @Coloma said about sometimes giving because you really want that for yourself and you want someone else to give it because that way it feels like appreciation or being valued.

I’ve found out the hard way that I really want is to feel appreciated, valued, prioritized and my way has been to give, give, give and give in order to feel worthy of what I want. BRREEEEP! That’s the wrong way. The easier and more fulfilling way has been to look to different people who think those things are important in the first place and stop trying to squeeze blood from turnips. Feels like a little goes a nice long way when that happens.

Coloma's avatar


Well said! :-)

I have indulged the other side for a long time now and boy, have I spoiled myself and it feels great! lol

Artistree's avatar

Ask yourself why ”…It’s much easier for me to care about someone else and/or their needs than for myself and/or my needs”. As long as your answer isn’t “because I don’t matter” then go for it. World would be a much nicer place if we were all a little more caring of each other.

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