In a recent therapy session, my therapist asked me to differentiate between the people I allow into my home and the people I allow into my heart. This question baffled me. How can one differentiate the two! How can I let someone into my home who is not already in my heart? After hours of stewing in discomfort, I am starting to see my patterns.

I am beginning to realise that I have so many people in my life who don’t even know me. I have played the helper role for so long that my real self, the human that I am, is hidden behind layers of role playing. I am the person who listens to strangers narrating their life story in a crowded room. I am the person who feels the emotions of someone so deeply that I cannot differentiate my emotions from theirs. I am the person who loves so much that I cannot bear to see anyone in pain. All my life, I have hated these qualities. I hated how sensitive I am, how gullible I am, and how quickly I am moved to action by others. I cannot blame myself for the hate because this quality of mine let me suffer in abusive relationships, be a parentified child, and become a people-pleaser who is always attuned to other people’s needs. 

At this moment in my life, I know my needs. I am not ashamed to ask for them, but when I turn to see the relationships I’ve built, I’m surprised to see that I have very few relationships that would actually meet my needs. What else can one expect from relationships where I’ve been performing the length and breadth of emotional labour, from relationships with no real connection but me giving and giving until I felt exhausted. This cycle got so bad that I began feeling guilty for feeling exhausted. Maybe I should listen to my exhaustion instead of blaming it. Maybe my exhaustion is telling me something important “Stop. Slow down. Choose people who see you, not people who make you feel important and indispensable, .” Because I am only human and I need to be respected and loved for being human, not for how good I am at being emotionally available or giving.

A new journey begins in letting people in who respect and value my authentic self and stepping down from my caretaker role.

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