Help others, but don't harm yourself

Greater Kashmir

Appear as you are, be as you appear

Be a person of faith, of integrity, and of sincerity.

You were born with potential.

You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and

dreams. You were born with greatness.

You were born with wings.

You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.

You have wings.

Learn to use them and fly.

Rumi

The urge to help others is commendable and the sign of a good heart but there are boundaries that we must respect in ourselves. If the time and energy you spend on saving or helping someone else begins to chip away at your own mental health or happiness, you may be slipping into the realm of animosity. In the past, I found  it hard to say no and would compromise my

own levels of emotional comfort just to keep the peace. But I’ve come to a conclusion that we can never be peaceful  until we make peace with ourselves.This article is written to help you defend yourself from people who exploit you. It is not written in an effort to encourage you to be

closed off to kindness. It hopes to encouraging people to commit acts of common decency without feeling vulnerable.

Here are the signs that you’re being too nice.

Not saying No when you should’ve.

Handling your storms by yourselves.

Avoiding conflicts that can be sparked with the truth.

Helping others to rise on the top.

Looking others benefiting from you while you’re no further ahead in your life.

Feeling isolated and alone.

Nobody has any idea about how you’re feeling.

Some people subscribe to you when they are in need of a particular thing. You put your trust in their act of being a victim, vulnerable, or dependable. But by exploiting favors, they serve to rob your desire to do good things for others down the line.

Then Why do we do this?

We often do a lot for other people because we don’t want to let them down even when we know that their demands are excessive. Sometimes we do more for other people and often let ourselves be used so that we won’t be rejected for other reasons.

•Insecurity

•Less self-awareness.

•Thinking it is our Islamic duty to put others first.

Relax,let me unpack this with an example so you can decide it for yourself. If you  spent four hours helping  your classmate  for her  assignment and then spent one hour complaining about it to your best friend, then sadly you’re just inviting negativity in your life and you need to change for good. Now ask yourself,why do you do the things that you do? Does your heart and mouth say the same thing? We do this to save relationships, avoid conflicts and all negative emotions, but no matter what  toxicity  will grow inside us and this will eventually lead to either burst out at some point or we will fall into depression.

I am not saying that helping others is wrong. Indeed we are told: “Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought others out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection. But when kindness comes from a place of uneasiness then it’s not true kindness and you’ll always sense it. You have to remember to nurture your soul through engaging in true acts of kindness that come from a place of love and pathos.

I know you’re tired but come, this is the way. Self-knowledge is the beginning of self-correction.

Surround yourself with the thoughts of faith and not fear. Take a moment before saying ‘sure’. If you have time and genuinely want help  then go ahead. If not then don’t be scared to say no, otherwise people will think its easy for you  and they’ll keep on asking for more.

Be honest with the people around you so that they know where you stand and

what you feel. You cannot help everyone around you and when you try and inevitably

fail, you will only blame yourself.  Keep on reminding yourself that you’re unavailable for anything that is toxic for you.

More than anything remember there is a difference between being kind and giving too much to the point that people start taking advantage of you. Be kind and give, but don’t ignore your well being too. That’s called keeping law of balance.You should never feel guilty for changing for the better and knowing your worth. When you have this awareness you’ll be able to draw some strong boundaries that will never be crossed.

The author is a student of Literature at Cluster University Srinagar.