If there’s one thing I learned about relationships after over two decades of existence, it’s that selflessness is a crucial factor in making things work. I’ve learned (and I’m sure you would agree) that we cannot always have our way. We need to compromise on some things and sacrifice the others for any relationship to work and, more importantly, for our own good.
This does not mean, however, that we should willingly give everything up for the happiness of another person. I realized that selflessness is important, but relationships shouldn’t revolve around it.
Here’s how too much selflessness can kill a relationship — whether it’s with parents, siblings, best friends, or the significant other.
1. Giving Too Much May Lead to Dependence
There’s no harm in wanting to give everything to a person you love, but giving too much may lead to dependence. They might get used to you giving them things, granting them favors, and basically doing anything they ask you to. This attitude leaves them vulnerable to the world and the challenges they have to face when you aren’t around.
And since every relationship is a two-way street, selflessness may also lead to your own dependence on the other person. It may even come to a point where you hesitate to decide on the most random things, like having dinner with a friend or buying something for yourself because you don’t know how it would affect them.
2. Giving in May Lead to Forgetting Yourself
Yes, it feels nice to take care of people — this is one of the reasons I volunteered to be a Medic while I was still studying. You cannot keep taking care of someone if you don’t take care of yourself first, though. Cliché as it sounds, you need “me time” to discover your capabilities and limitations, thus making yourself aware of the best way you can help others.
On another note, giving in all the time may lead to you putting aside your own wants and needs for someone else. Everyone will have to sacrifice something at some point in their lives, but don’t make it a regular occurrence. Remember that you are an individual too. Even if you want nothing but the best for someone you love, don’t give it entirely at your own expense.
3. Giving up May Lead to Countless What If’s
It’s natural to be interested in your loved one’s hobbies, but every relationship is a give-and-take situation so they should consider yours too. If you keep compromising your interests to accommodate another person, those things would inevitably build up and eventually lead to a series of what if’s that keep you awake at night.
Being adventurous and trying new things is great for your wellbeing, but don’t always give up what you like to do and what you want to try for somebody else. Encourage them to join you, too. And if they don’t want to, find some time for yourself to do it instead of giving it up for their sake.
Too much selflessness is toxic for any relationship, romantic or otherwise. It could lead to you being dependent on each other, forgetting to take care of yourself, and compromising the things you want to do and the place you want to go.
Take care of who you love and give them what they want, but make sure they do the same for you. Remember: a relationship only works if both parties are willing to make it work.