Carry that weight is not about shedding those pesky extra pounds. It is about carrying something much more harmful to our wellbeing; hauling around the weight of other people.
The savior complex
Many of us believe we have to lift the load of everyone we know, and even some we don’t know but have heard about. We take responsibility for the happiness of other people to the point it makes us physically ill. This is not an overstatement. When we place the happiness of other people ahead of our own happiness we can literally worry ourselves to death. This is the savior complex. The idea that if we worry enough other people will be happy. It doesn’t work. We, you and I, cannot worry enough to make others happy. What we derive from the savior complex is only a distraction from the more important task; taking care of ourselves.
I know some people will read this and think; that is so selfish! Caring for other people is a noble service. Yes, caring for others is noble, but have you been on an airplane and listened to the safety instructions? If the oxygen masks fall from the overhead bin, place the mask on yourself first, then help others. That is not being selfish. You cannot help anyone else if you pass-out first. You are not placing your own wellbeing ahead of others, you are insuring you will be there to help others!
The dire results
Caregivers of all descriptions are cautioned to look after their own wellbeing lest they fall ill and can be of no help to others. A dear friend of mine who has spent her life looking after others first, who knows full well the caution of self care, was just diagnosed with cancer. There is no doubt in my mind that in helping so many others before looking after her own wellbeing resulted in overlooking something that could have been treated successfully years ago.
The results don’t have to be as dramatic as cancer either. They can be ulcers, headaches and emotional rollercoasters just as easily. What I am saying is, you don’t have to carry everyone else’s load. Feel free to help, but you will be of no help if it is you in bed needing help.
Want help with that load?
Learn to pick and choose which loads to carry for others and for how long. Read my book It’s All About Me. Click on the cover below to read a sample then order your own copy.