Was once told that I gravitate towards drama, that I seek it & I choose to live in it because that is what my life has been: a series of little dramas here & there sprinkled into my childhood & teen & adult years. I am thankful for the little moments, good & bad, because they have helped shape me into who I am today. I have always gravitated towards those that are in need of help. I love to help in small & big ways. Love to help those I know & those I don’t know. I’ve been known to give to the poor, make baskets for moms that have lost a child, host fundraisers/ car port sales for cancer sufferers, & send helpful books to friends I know could benefit from reading. Been known to have hard conversations with those in need of help, guidance, assistance & distress. Known to donate money to two sponsored children in Honduras, Cammie & Juan. Love to give to FMSC, BBBS, World Vision, & other organizations, monthly. Need help, I’m there. I enjoy helping others. I seek people to help & actively search for ways to assist others. If I can help someone, in even a small way, I will. I do everything I can to help. I think, if somehow, I can be the one to save them from whatever it is that is blocking them from being their best & happiest & healthiest selves, then I’ll do it. & if I can’t, I will lead them to a resource or person that can. Was recently chatting with my therapist about my desire to help & assist others in any way that I am able & capable. Told her how guilty I feel that I can’t help my mentally unstable mom more & how she puts me through guilt trips for not coming to see her with my family. It’s too hard on me, mentally & physically. I just want to fix her & make her happy, magically. My therapist looked at me & said, “you can’t be responsible for the emotional well-being of another individual. It is not your job. Your job is to take care of your emotional well-being & that is all.” She gave me permission to stop trying so hard to make my mom, & others, happy- to overcompensate & kill myself trying too hard. It’s an exhausting job. People are who they are & you can’t make others happy with your very best efforts & the best of intentions. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to choose to be happy or not happy, healthy or not healthy, positive or negative, etc. I was raised to put others first, to take care of the less fortunate, to sit with the broken, & to do my best to help those in need, always. I think this is a great way to be brought up if coupled with self-care at the top of the totem pole. You can’t give to others what you do not have for yourself. I think I have given, at times, at the expense of my own emotional stability & it has compromised my own well-being. Boundaries are so important to learn & to uphold. Without them, you will be walked on, taken advantage of, & had. People will take what they can, again & again, until you set up a boundary & stick to it, no matter what. Boundaries = a healthy state. No boundaries = an unhealthy state. There is a balance that I have yet to find & there is a way to be there & help without compromising your own health. Sometimes I find that really hard to do & I become fixated on helping people get to a better place & space. & sometimes I want it for them more than they want it for themselves, & that my friends, is not healthy. On that same note, sometimes I am happier for another’s engagement more than they are- I feel big & I love big & I care big. I have a big heart. It is as if I can feel their pain. I hurt when those I love hurt & I want to make it better. I am not the type to allow it to roll off my back as some people are able to do. I’ve spent decades trying to obtain that magical power of not allowing someone’s pain to affect me in such profound ways. I’m learning & getting better, but damn I have a long way to go. I care so much & so deeply & I wrap myself around those that struggle. I think too much. The struggle is real. The truth is that if we only focus on those that truly need us, we abandon the healthy people in our lives that we almost believe don’t need us. The people in our lives always need us even when they appear not to. My therapist told me that if we focus on only helping the needy, our families don’t get the attention they deserve & absolutely require to function at the highest level possible. I’m guilty of this. My hubs is probably the most stable person I know & requires so little to be happy & sometimes I forget to fill up his cup because I have been so busy looking outside my home for people to save, help, empower, or enlighten, that I have essentially abandoned my husband’s needs & wants. I did not even recognize I was doing this. We have to fill our own cup, first. When you are a mom, you forget about yourself, as we tend to put our children’s needs before our very own. Don’t forget that your health: mental, physical, emotional, physiological, & psychological directly affect the health & well-being of your children, the good & the bad. That’s a lot to carry. My goal for 2017 is to first take care of me & then those in my household. Then, help those in need the best to my ability & do so with limits in mind. Otherwise, the desire to help others, outside of these four walls, will indefinitely overshadow my life & the life of my loved ones. They will suffer a lack of attentiveness, care, & love. You are not responsible for the well-being of another human being, but you are responsible for your own. You can’t fix another person. You can be there, sit with them, hold them, hear them, hug them, & love them. You can recommend resources & direct them to people that may be of assistance, but their well-being & emotional stability is ultimately up to them. It is their choice. Sometimes we have to have fragile & hard conversations with the ones we love the most about our deep concerns & it is not comfortable or fun. In fact, it can be downright frightening, but if you have a concern for a friend’s (fill in the blank), & you say nothing, you are being compliant & not being the friend you need to be. It’s easier to sit back & say & do nothing, but to be a true friend, a truly caring person, you have to speak up because their (fill in the blank) outweighs your temporary discomfort. Do the right thing & have the hard conversations because that is where healing begins. Do your best to be your best & take care of you & your loved ones before trying to save the planet. Do your part & know that it is good enough & you are good enough & that you are a gem as you are, right now.