Do you have a history of ‘helper syndrome’? I am using this term to replace more graphic but less palatable terms, like sacrificial lamb, martyr, saint or rescuer.
As I see it, the roots of this syndrome are a mixture of nature and nurture.
Some of us learned to get praise, attention and feelings of significance through being helpful and useful in environments where saying no carried negative consequences that we feared.
Fast forward to adult life and we discover that we are no longer rewarded with gold stars.
Instead, ‘Helper Syndrome’ leads to:
- Being used by others, causing the sufferer to feel valued for the wrong things, misunderstood and underappreciated.
- Experiences of invalidation from others, if they wanted attention or approval but, not advice or solutions.
- Frustration, overload, overwhelm and even burnout
- Lack of clarity about who and what we are designed to serve
At some point in my journey as a chronic sufferer, I began to appreciate the fine difference between self-sacrifice and service. Apparently, due my Pisces sun (the self sacrificing part) and my Virgo ascendant (the service part), I’m wired to learn the difference, including the shadow and the light of such qualities.
While there is a time and a place for self sacrifice in the transformative crucible of spiritual practice, success in the so-called real world requires us to be clear with our boundaries and personal limitations. This puts us in the realm of service.
Self-sacrifice is a problem in the real world, other than in special circumstances, such as emergencies or after giving birth to a baby. However, in those special circumstances we are given the resources we need through raised hormone levels, irrespective of nature and nurture considerations.
The transformation of self-sacrifice to service requires self-awareness, including conscious direction of energies through committing only to whom and to what we feel genuinely called, and designed, to serve.
Over the last couple of years, I have gained enormous clarity around who and what I am best suited to serve, as a result of my journey with a process called Tribal Marketing.
But, just a few years ago, I was beyond confused about what I should be offering – and to whom. I trained as an Independent Funeral and Wedding Celebrant, planning to leave the coaching and training worlds altogether.
I liked the work but knew that it needed to be a ‘side’ rather than the ‘main’ of my offering. I returned to coaching and transformed my business.
Are you as stuck as I was a few years ago? Click here to learn more about Tribal Marketing.