What is a martyr? According to Merriam-Webster, the way we will chat about being a martyr is defined as“VICTIM. a great or constant sufferer.”
The really interesting thing I want to talk about today is the confusion that seems to exist between the notions of being a good person to others and being a martyr to others. It looks something like this: the noble and selfless “good” person puts their needs last and cares for others in their personal crisis, their dramas, their daily happenings and their disasters. That same “good” person has no personal life, sense of personal power or even solid relationships because they are so consumed with the needs of others. Or, if their significant other is the person to whom they are martyred, well, that is pretty much the saddest relationship because it sorta depends on a form of sacrifice that will leave you with absolutely nothing when the relationship ultimately- and usually- ends.
You are not being a good person by leaving yourself to wither while helping others to flourish. Helping others is awesome. Helping others is always most awesome when you are helping yourself first!!!
While I am far from a psychologist, I am no stranger to the modern martyr syndrome as its being played out in society. So… if you, indeed, are that “noble” man or woman who sacrifices themselves for another or others to an extreme, how do you stop?
Three things have helped my clients, friends and even me! immensely—
1. Get super healthy. In your home, that can mean everything from some home detoxing of chemicals to changing your exercise routine. 15 minutes of yoga a day has been a breakthrough for my life. What can you do to take your health quotient up a few points???
2. Get super confident. This is not always an easy one, but take steps in the right direction and you will get there. At home, brighter light and bolder color are ways to become more radiant. That bold color can translate into fashion, too. Standing straight will do crazy things to boost your confidence in and of itself.
3. Get your personal goals very focused! Its is really unappealing to give away your energy and time when you are truly excited and driven by your own life mission. Spend some time clarifying what it is that you want out of life for yourself and even find some images and make a vision board to make that vision more concrete!
Oh, yes, and a great therapist or counsellor or trusted, non-energy-robbing friend can help you make sense of the relationships within which you have lost your focus and your balance! Keep in mind that getting stronger and breaking martyr habits does not mean BLAMING others for their behavior, it means taking responsibility for your own behavior. This shift from blame to responsibility where martyr-esque behavior exists will help you immensely, I promise!
Here’s to great relationships and an exciting life where you fulfill your many missions! xoxo Dana
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