I admit I have a ‘fetish’ of sorts for helping people. I enjoy listening to a person’s problems. I enjoy providing a shoulder to cry upon when needed.
I certainly get a “thrill” from being the go-to guy for problems and worries, but I don’t ask anything in return. Mostly, I just enjoy helping people.
The key to a successful relationship with someone is living other-centered. This isn’t to say you need to be co-dependent. Co-dependence is when a person relies upon another for their sense of self worth and identity. This isn’t healthy. I know. I was the co-dependent in a relationship. Living other-centered is when you willingly place someone’s concerns, problems and joys above your own. You do whatever you can to ease their suffering without reward.
Ok, living other-centered does involve reward. It gives you a sense of appreciation for the person you care about and simply makes you feel good.
However, a martyr isn’t someone who lives other-centered. We all know a martyr. He is someone who sacrifices himself to supposedly help another but lords it over. A martyr wants to be recognized for their “good” deeds and sacrifice. They often tout what they give up and do for people. They are simply annoying. Living other-centered is quietly helping people when they need it, often without their realization. It’s isn’t anything grand that requires fireworks and a bullhorn. It is a smile. It is a hand on the small of the back. It is moving something out of someone’s way before they even walk that direction. Don’t allow your left hand to know what your right hand is doing, essentially.
Relationships die when people are selfish. How can you relate to someone when you are concerned about yourself? In an ideal relationship, both people are only concerned about the well being of the other. They both do everything they can to ease the suffering and share the joy of the other.
The hardest part of living other-centered is sharing joy. Strangely, I find it easy to share pain and problems with people. When someone shares a joy such as a new job or finally finding the “One,” I grow jealous and depressed. Part of me is happy for them, but I wish it was me. Sharing joy is the true test to living other-centered, particularly when someone you love wants you to be happy they found someone else. The best way to share joy is to take yourself out of the situation. Focus upon how the other person is feeling. Feel sorry for yourself in the quiet of night and then just move on.
To sum my drivel:
- Seek to help people without reward
- Co-dependency is when someone’s identity and sense of self relies upon someone else: highly unhealthy
- Martyrs don’t live other-centered, they seek recognition.
- Share in others joy by stepping outside yourself
- Don’t be selfish