January 24


Does Our Value Lie In Being Useful To Others?

By Celeste DeCamps

January 24, 2020

boundaries, helping hand, procrastination, value

If you don't let me focus on your problems then I'll be forced to focus on mine.

I’m addicted to helping people. Doesn’t that sound quite grandiose and selfless?  If I’m going to take a hard look at myself, doing for others keeps me from working on myself. I don’t want to figure out what’s wrong with me. It’s too depressing. I feel better when I can put my attention on another person. It comes down to absolute procrastination on my part. Oh, I was going to work out today, but my friend needs me to listen to the horrible date she had. I was going to work on my marketing, but a friend needs me to help her organize her home. I was going to start a healthy diet, but my husband brought home cookies for me and I don’t want to hurt his feelings. I’m such a good wife.

I was brought up to do for others. That’s a good and bad thing. It’s good when we set time aside to be there for friends and family. Doing volunteer work and giving back to the community is important. It’s bad if all we do is be on call for everyone because our value lies in being useful. That’s a tough pill to swallow. I don’t want to believe that’s why I help others but I have to admit that may be true. What if everyone finds out they really don’t need me? Does my whole sense of existence implode? Do I have to travel back in time to make sure that doesn’t happen? I watch way too much Dr. Who. 

It’s easier to be consumed with someone else’s issues. It takes the heat off of us and our problems. I’ll figure out why I’m not getting more done for my business later. I’ll implement a great strategy when I have some time for myself. I hope someone calls me soon. This “taking a look at myself’ is not comfortable at all. 

It took me a long time to set up boundaries and stop saying “yes” to every request. I felt guilty and worried that people would end up mad at me. I envisioned friends and family walking away, never to return. None of that happened, but it made me feel anxious. Little by little, I found it easier to say “no” and the apprehension started to fade. I still have to check myself because it’s easy to slip back to my old ways. I feel good when I can lend a hand. I just have to make sure it’s not at my expense and not an escape from my own job. 

Luckily for me, I decided to combine work with being of service to others. I enjoy speaking to groups and sharing tools to raise our self-esteem and confidence. It’s wonderful to see people transform in front of me and feel good about themselves. The work itself is rewarding. It’s all the unglamorous stuff, like marketing, that I have to constantly stay on top of. Fortunately, I have wonderful people in my life that take the time to rescue and guide me through it. They don’t want their existence to implode either. 

Let’s keep supporting and encouraging each other. It’s beneficial when asked, to share our experiences and give advice. We will just make sure we are doing it because we have the time. We have to remind ourselves that we are important and loved even when we have to say “no.” Unless we are talking about cookies, then the answer is always “yes.”

About the author

Celeste DeCamps has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Miami. She worked in radio and television, was a professional belly dancer, drummer, percussionist, nightclub owner, and a sales rep for Southern Wine and Spirits for 12 years. Throughout her different career moves, speaking to and teaching women how to be more confident is Celeste's most fulfilling job.

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