A funny thing happens in personal relationships: once we have decided to fight for the well-being of the people around us and start sacrificing for others, our past acts of kindness can become our bondage. Or, at least, if we lose control of the situation.

The reason for this is that if everyone assumes that we are there for what others need, we stop offering our help and our efforts become a sign of selfishness, or even cruelty. Now, it is possible to break with this dynamic and fight for oneself instead of always fighting for others .

7 keys to living for myself and not for others

In order to gain autonomy and freedom, it is necessary to act on our beliefs and thoughts as well as on our habits. Let’s see how to do it. All this, to answer the question of: how to start living for me?

1. Work on self-pity

Some say that those who live by and for others do so because they experience something similar to masochism. These kinds of statements are clearly an exaggeration, but they do contain some truth.

The fact is that those who have become accustomed to always sacrificing themselves for others do so on the basis of a very internalised belief that one owes something to others ; that is, that one’s existence must be constantly compensated by good actions. The reasons why this belief has been adopted may vary greatly from case to case, but that feeling of contempt for oneself is there.

That is why it is essential to work on self-pity, to embrace the habit of not judging oneself constantly and cruelly .

2. Take a distance perspective

In situations where there are clashes of interests that are usually solved in one person by always accepting the conditions of the others, it is good that the person who sacrifices himself learns to adopt a more objective perspective .

To do this, it is necessary to stick to data that are undeniable and to draw conclusions from reflecting on them. To do this it may even be useful to use pen and paper and write down in a table the advantages and disadvantages of accepting such a proposal for oneself, on the one hand, and for the other person or organization, on the other.

3. Learn to say no

Something as simple as saying no to certain requests does a lot of good, especially when up to that point we were accepting any request made to us.

What is complicated in these cases is knowing how to manage the anxiety that can be produced by situations in which we want to decline one of these “invitations” to make an effort so that someone else can benefit from it. In this sense, there is no more trick than to oblige oneself to this , to firmly propose that, whatever happens, we should respond with a clear “no”.

Think of it this way: you may find it cruel to have to do that, but that’s only because you probably don’t have the habit of making requests and “mistreating” others, and therefore you haven’t gotten used to being denied these kinds of favors either.

4. Detects forms of manipulation

It is not easy, but to free oneself from the habit of living for others one must learn to recognize manipulation where it occurs .

For example, accusations of having previously asked for favours that were not really answered or of having a lot of free time may seem very obvious if they are explained in writing, but in the course of a real-time dialogue they can work and make us feel guilty in an irrational way, without falling into the cynical nature of this kind of approach.

5. Accepts the possibility of letting people go

There are relationships that, although in many cases started well, over time are only maintained through emotional blackmail and entrenched conflict. This is natural and over time it is almost inevitable that we do not go through one of these situations.

But more important than the pain that toxic relationships like these can cause us, is to accept that it is okay to cut off contact with someone who has been in our daily lives for a long time. Basically because the opposite is true, these people can use us as “hostages” to do what they want in return for not leaving our side.

6. Date whims

Beginning to respect oneself is a way of making our actions begin to form new beliefs about one’s identity. Because if we treat ourselves habitually with respect and affection, in the end our own self-image has many possibilities of adjusting to this new reality, getting rid of preconceived ideas of guilt. Self-esteem is also key in this process .

7. Jump into new personal projects

If everyone seems very busy and asks you for things to help accomplish other people’s goals, it may also be partly because you don’t have any important goals to accomplish . So, start adventures and develop projects that really interest you. In this way, it will come out of you to use your time in activities that fill you up, and not always to please others.