- The best thing for me and everyone that I love is to put me first– It is no secret that I am a people pleaser but to give of myself I need to have of me to give, not putting myself first has affected me and my loved ones adversely. As long as I can remember, I have always put people before me. I am the first to volunteer to arrange anything from a baby shower to birthday party. I remember a time when I was running from one event to the next to make everyone happy. I had become completely exhausted and depressed because I had nothing left of me for myself and was spending all of my energy on everyone else. Obviously, I had made it my duty to please everyone and I kept telling myself that loved ones should come first. The truth is that I have to come first in order to be able to give the best to my children and the people who I love. My entire life I have made decisions based on others. I have stayed in the wrong situations for people, instead of getting out of these situations for me. This has been a tough year for me and I have had to put my foot down, put myself first and stop giving my all at the detriment of myself and others around me. Once I began making decisions based on me first, I suddenly was in a happy space and everyone around me was suddenly happier as well. When I put myself first, I have more to give and I am living a fulfilling life and those closest to me benefit greatly. Putting me first is not being selfish but rather being fair. This for me is still a work in progress because I am quick to put others first, but I have taken leaps in the right direction and definitely am getting better every day and I am constantly making conscious choices and decisions that put me first in my life.
- I can no longer keep the wrong people for me in my life– The truth is you become like the people you choose to share your company with. I had a number of toxic people that were in my life and they were not good for me at all. I made bad decisions because of the company that I had been keeping and I was putting the wrong people before myself and before the right people. I have had to put my foot down here and keep it down. If people are bad for me, then they do not belong in my life. It is important to be the best me that I can be and anyone who does not allow me to be my best or keeps me from achieving my goals is not worth having in my life. It is not being a bitch, it is being real and painting the picture of my life that I want without being distracted.
- I cannot allow people’s opinions and judgement on other people to stop me from getting to know someone– I formed opinions on one person in particular based on what others had said about this person. I took the time to get to know the person for myself and realised that I had been wrongly informed and misguided. I cannot allow other people to form my opinions because it is not fair, and I could end up not missing out on having good people in my life, this would be absolutely tragic. People are entitled to their own opinions, I am entitled to form my own. I have also stopped listening as people start speaking in a negative or nasty way about others. I don’t care what people think about other people and if it is nasty then I don’t want to know. Like mom always said: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it” and most importantly don’t entertain it when people are mean.
- No matter how hard I fall or however terrible the situation seems, it is only as bad as I allow my mind to make it– As I mentioned, I have had a hard year so far. There have been big obstacles and I have had to make huge changes and hard decisions to make. When I have been at my lowest my mind has somehow seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I remember years back, sitting in a Doctors room, feeling miserable, sick and very sorry for myself when I noticed a book on the table. I stood up and bent down to pick up the small white book with navy blue writing on the cover. It was a book of “feel good” quotes. I read “Don’t forget to sing in the life boats”. Suddenly I felt like a I was being a real brat. In my mind I pictured a big ship sinking, people were standing with orange life jackets over their shoulders and fastened around their waists. They were being helped into life boats, some crying, some screaming and some pushing and shoving. I pictured one man with chubby, rosy cheeks, dark hair and a beard sitting in one of the boats. The man began to sing in my mind and suddenly the storm seemed distant and people were instantly relaxed and calm. You create the reaction to a situation and only you can control your reaction and how you deal with it. Breathe, think and then react in best way for you. Always see the light even in a dark night.
- In business and making money, thinking outside of the box and not limiting myself is the way forward– I have learned that there are many ways to make money and to make business work. I have had to diversify my thinking and seize opportunity that really are everywhere. The future is bright and there is so much opportunity to take advantage of if I just stop limiting myself and get out of the box. Thinking outside of the norm and paving the way to a successful future is what I have learned to do.
For such a long time I was completely suppressed by the situation I was in and I allowed people to affect my mind space. The most destructive effect of this negative mind space was on my health. There was a time when I found myself ill every day. Eventually I suspected that there was something seriously wrong with me. I was physically ill every single day. I would literally throw up every day. Fear of some or other dreaded disease set in, and I was wasting hours daily thinking what could be wrong with me, google of course had everything for my symptoms and mostly terminal illnesses popped up. I was spiralling into an unhealthy negative hole that I had created through my own bad decisions. The cure for all the possible diseases that I had thought of was as simple as sorting my head out.
Today I am walking with my head high, loving the feeling of the warm golden-yellow rays of the fiery African winter sun on my face. The South African winter sun shines brighter and warmer than the South African summer sun. If I take a moment to soak in the golden sun’s warm radiance, in the midst of the Fierce, piercing winter wind which chills to the bone, I realise that I don’t even notice the venom in the pitiless wind. In my mind the almost prophetic and luminous sun shadows even the cruellest and most remorseless wind. The winter sky is crystal clear and bright blue, not a cloud or haze can be seen because with the bite of the winter wind, comes the clear blissful sky, that only it can bring, as it clears all dust and pollution as it howls across the dry Joburg. It is in the heart of harsh, bitter Joburg winter that I realise how positivity flows through every vein in my body.
I am truly proud of how far I have come and how much the bad times have taught me. The greatest truth that I have learned is that I create my own reality. If I allow negativity to consume me, then it will consume every part of my life, my mind, my body and even my health.
When I learned that I hold the greatest tool of all, I began to learn how to use it and it was right then that I opened the door to the true positivity and amazing things.
Let me break it down for you. My mind was polluted with rubbish, how could I be happy and healthy whilst my mind was in the trash? The answer is I couldn’t, I was completed focussed on the trash. In order to see the sun shine through the polluted sky, I had to get rid of the pollution, “throw out the trash” – so to speak. Secondly the mind is an incredible thing. What you imagine, comes to light. If you imagine you are sick, you shall be sick. If you imagine being healthy, so shall you be. The mouth too is a powerful tool, if you speak only bad things then that is what you will get but if you speak good things even when your ship is sinking then good things will come your way. Start small, think about your life and what you want to change. For example, you aren’t making ends meet and your bills are piling up. Think about financial freedom, think about how you will feel and picture you what you will do when you achieve it. Most of all picture it in the present, own it in your mind and it will become yours.
Your mind is able to paint incredible pictures, visualise exactly what you want and see it in your mind’s eye and fixate on the beautiful vision you have created in your incredible mind. Speak it, say it out loud. I have learned that the tongue is a very powerful thing. If you say you are broke, so shall you be. If you repeatedly say “why me? Why are things so bad for me? Nothing ever goes right for me?” Do not cry when nothing goes right for you! You are speaking this into your life.
Just before you think that I think you are an idiot for speaking and imagining bad into your life, let me say, I have done it, many times. I would constantly think about how difficult a certain time in my life was and it would become more difficult. Looking back, it was really not that difficult in the first place. I was choosing to see the bad and ignore the amazing parts at the particular time. I am here to help anyone in the situation which I found myself in.
When I started writing, it was out of passion to help people and this is one of the most incredible tools that I can pass on. Stop thinking negatively and expecting a positive outcome. You are completely in control of your thoughts and thereby you are completely in control of your destiny. Get your mind out of the rubbish and into the light. Start making things happen in your life by making it happen through your thoughts, imagination and words. You can change your life right here and right now, so what is stopping you? Be who you want to be, go where you want to go and be the writer of your book.
Take out the trash, before you drown in it. Invite good things in, open your eyes and watch your tongue. What you speak and what you imagine, will be what you get. Start today on a brand-new canvas and paint your perfect world with your imagination. See and speak your desire into being and stop limiting yourself with your own mind. Do not allow negative thoughts to creep in because you are having an off day or not yet where you want to be. The key is to be 100% in control of your mind. Be aware as anything negative pops into your head and fight it off with over powering positivity. Be thankful for where you are and how far you have come.
Don’t hold onto anger towards those who have caused you pain. Anger will only hurt you and will have no effect on the person whatsoever. I believe that every person comes into my life for a reason and if that reason was to teach me a difficult lesson then I have gained through the heartache. Though it took me years to get to where I am, I truly know now that I have gained from even the hardest and most traumatic experiences. I have learnt many a lesson and I believe I am the best version of me today. I am more driven today than ever before, and I am more satisfied with my life than I could ever have dreamed.
I am walking in the glorious sun and choosing to take in the beauty and not the wind that could penetrate my bones if I allowed it. I have chosen to see the beauty instead of the horror. I have stopped noticing the ugliness and I am happier than I have ever been.
I’ve wasted way too much time and energy on reacting to words or actions from people. The worst part is that it is the people who deserve the least that seem to get the biggest reaction out of me. Seriously? I have wasted so much time and energy on people who aren’t even worth a minute of my time, the ones who literally add no value to my life whatsoever.
I am in control of my reaction to a situation or a person, and I am going to stop reacting to nonsense. Time is life’s most valuable commodity, and I am wasting it on meaningless situations and purposeless people. I have recently learnt that surrounding myself with like-minded, driven people who have positive energy and add value to my life is so important. People who drive me and make me want to succeed are the best people to keep around me. Wasting time and energy on negative people with bad habits that try to bring me down at every opportunity need to go. My obligation to long-term friendships and relationships that aren’t healthy to me has become very obvious to me of late and it is time for me to stop the cycle. I have no obligation to unhealthy company and people who do not motivate me and have a positive influence in my life.
Right here, right now I am pledging to stop reacting to futile people and situations. I am from now on, focusing all energy on my goals and aspirations. I am going places and will not be side tracked at all. All distractions will be removed from my life and I will only be moving up from here. Reacting in anger or despair has only affected me negatively and kept me from having my eyes, mind and heart firmly fixed on my goals. Anger only damages me, and I will no longer allow it in my life. I am letting go of anger and negativity and people who cause it. My eyes have been opened wide in the last couple of weeks and I have been given an incredible drive as well as an awareness about how I allow people to affect my life and my goals. I am more focused than ever, and I am going to make things happen. I have been blessed with incredible new experiences, and I am learning new and exciting things every day. I am so excited about the future and what is in stall for me. I know what I want in my life, I have goals, and I am driven, it is time to start acting and go and get what I deserve! My time is precious, and I am using it for me!
To quote Joel Osteen:
“You need to associate with people that inspire you, people that challenge you to rise higher, people that make you better. Don’t waste your valuable time with people that are not adding to your growth. Your destiny is too important.” His words are true and very much relevant in my life today.
I have to take accountability for myself and my choices and cutting out people who don’t add value in my life has become incredibly important to me. I need to stop worrying about how I am hurting people by letting go and start thinking about how I am hurting myself by holding on. I have been too soft and too giving for too long and the only person who has suffered for it is me. Letting go of negative people is the way forward in my life, and I am starting now.
Negative people have one thing in common, they love bringing people down. Negative people never keep their negativity to themselves, and they feel the need to spread it around and manifest it wherever they go.
No matter what you say, the company that you keep influences your decisions and choices so keep the right company. You cannot place the blame on the company you keep, place the blame on yourself for choosing to keep the company that you do.
Putting me first is my main priority. Looking after me means choosing the right people to hang around and cutting out those that are not healthy for me. Wasted time can never be regained and wasted energy is draining and taking focus off my goals.
There are so many positive people in my life, but yet so many negative people as well. I have started identifying the negative people and I have to let go. These people are obstacles in my life, and they are diverting and distracting my focus and I have allowed it up until now.
“Bad company corrupts good character.” — this quote comes to mind. I am not sure who wrote it, but I came across it recently. The truth is that when you surround yourself with trash, you become trash.
My choice of company has led me to this discovery and revelation in my life. I have chosen to have the wrong people in my life, and I am fully aware of the damage it has caused up until now. It is up to me to change the company I keep and cut out the rubbish. Where I am going, there is no space for rubbish, only blue diamonds. I am no longer wasting time on stones, I am here to find diamonds and make the magic I want to happen in my life.
Life is a gift, and I am going to show my appreciation by going big and achieving my goals, taking the life I want and deserve and making it mine!
Depression, the huge mistake I made which caused it and getting over it.
As a child, life was fairly easy. I was always good at making friends and was always able to stand up for myself so bullying wasn’t ever a problem for me. I had a really happy childhood and things were always bright and I have so many happy memories. In my early adult years, I began to become more popular and thrived on the positive attention. I was well known in my circles and would be greeted with adoration by people within my community. I had an incredible amount of friends and I was completely driven by their love for me. I spent so much time doing everything I could for my friends and I would run from one event to the next to please everyone. After all I was loved and needed to return the favour. How can positive attention be a bad thing? I mean everyone loves attention, right?
I was indeed filled with confidence as I walked through the streets of my city. I had a very positive energy about me and I eluded complete control of this incredibly amazing person who I thought I was. I had created my opinion of myself and my self worth based on how everyone saw me…which was great while everyone cherished me and made me the centre of attention.
I had literally handed over the remote control to my life to everyone else. I had no control of my life. Not only had I allowed myself to build Me on how everyone else saw me but I managed to hand my remote control over to people who would soon destroy my happiness. When a house is built, the most important first step is building a strong foundation. My house did not have a foundation and therefore could never withstand the harshest of storms.
As my life was hit by some harsh storms, I crumbled. The person that I had built on everyone else’s opinions could not stand alone. I became very depressed and felt completely hopeless. I had absolutely no want to live and more and more I felt that dying would be the best escape. I had no idea that I had in fact caused this problem. It was not the people who had broken me down because if I had built myself worth and self opinion on ME, I would not have been so easily broken.
Six months after being diagnosed with depression I found myself hitting rock bottom. The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that the only way to go is up. When I had nothing left I was forced to learn my mistake and I started my journey of recovery.
Living my life for everyone else had left me completely exhausted and unable to even get out of bed in the morning.
I sat down all by myself and started to get to know me. At first I wrote down my positives and negatives and though the list of positives which I could think of was only one or two things, the negative list seemed endless. How could everyone around me have seen me as an incredibly strong and amazing woman when I myself was unable to think of more than two positive things about me. Luckily I was soon to realize that my mind was completely over powered by depression and I did in fact have lots of positives. So with time, my list grew and the negatives did not seem all that bad anymore. Now was the time to make it. Now was the time to stop giving my energy to everyone else and now was the time to build my self worth on me.
Getting to know me and the journey of self discovery is one that teaches me every day. I have so much to give but never again will I allow people to just take. Giving is on my time and by my rules. I love giving and I truly feel the need to give back as I have been so richly blessed along the way that it would be a complete sin to not pass on blessings.
I have learned exactly what I should not be doing and what I do not want to do. Things that drain me are being cut out of my life.
I cannot choose which cards life has to deal me but I can choose how I play the cards which I am dealt. I choose to paint a beautiful picture and leave the sadness and regret behind. I will take what I need to from construction criticism but I will not allow negativity to define me. I am worth so much more than what everyone thinks of me and I will continue to walk my journey as the whole me. I choose to love the things that are positive and accept the things about me that aren’t so great. I am a whole person and I am the only perfect me.
In the famous and wonderful words of Dr Suess “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
Be yourself, build your own foundation and when the storm comes, your house will remain strong and steadfast.
After overcoming depression, I learnt that not all days are going to be good days. Some days the sun just doesn’t shine. Every now and then depression comes to remind me of what I went through but at the same time reminds me how far I have come. I have come a long way since the days when I could not get through, since the days I thought that I couldn’t carry on. The best thing about hitting rock bottom was that I could only go up from the bottom and up I went! I was strong enough to overcome depression and grow through the experience and most of all the journey of getting to know me. You never know your strength, until you need to use it. When I needed to sort my head out, suddenly I had the strength to do it. Never be afraid to talk to those closest to you or to ask for help. Seek professional help if you need it, I know I did.
When the day is dark, I have a guide to get through, these are my 12 tips:
- Fake it until you make it – When you aren’t happy, smile anyway. Take a look in the mirror and smile at yourself.
- Dress up – Put your make-up and your heels on, looking good helps you feel good. Wear the little black dress you hardly wear or a nice suit. Wear whatever makes you feel fabulous (Leave the sneakers and baggy pants alone on days like this!)
- Have a healthy great tasting breakfast, for me plain yoghurt with berries and seeds is a great tasting healthy way to start the day. Salmon is a fantastic way to start the day too, salmon, avo and cream cheese is enough to put a smile on your dial!
- Do a couple burpees or jumping squats if you prefer. You don’t have to go overboard, no one is asking you to run a marathon. 10 – 20 is enough to get your blood pumping and lift your mood.
- MEDITATE – this one was very difficult for me to grasp but in the world of technology, there are so many helpful apps to get you started. My favourite is “Guided Meditations – Pitashi Mobile Imagination”. This app eases you into meditating with a number of beginner meditations. If there is one thing that is going to take you to new levels in your mental state, this is it! Meditate, meditate, meditate, I cannot say it enough!
- Call your bestie up just to say hi and have a chat, this can make you feel a million times better.
- Put on your favourite feel good tune (dance around the room if you like). Music is amazing, and it can lift your mood immediately.
- There is plenty of motivational stuff online, google or check in at your favourite motivational blog.
- If you are religious, pray and have some quiet time.
- Give yourself positive affirmation – you are amazing, you are alive, and you are blessed, remember that.
- Imagine a place where you are at complete peace. When you do this, engage all five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. For example, imagine you are walking next to a river. You are watching the sparkling blue water as it lazily drifts slowly and you listen to the way it trickles and murmurs as it flows. You bend down to touch the slightly numbing, icy water, cupping your hands, you bring some tangy, cold water to your mouth, you sip it and feel alive. The air smells fresh and drops of water hit your face.
- If all else fails…. chocolate. Dark chocolate apparently stimulates the production of endorphins and contains serotonin which makes you happy. What better way to help lift your mood?
You are in control of your mind, you are the only person who can pull yourself together. Don’t beat yourself up for the bad days but always remember that after the rain, comes the sunshine, after the night comes the day. Tomorrow the sun will shine and with the brand-new day, you get a new start.
May tomorrow bring you lots of smiles. 🙂
I am not a judgmental person at all in general, I really don’t care what people do and don’t judge them for doing crazy or even stupid things. However, when it comes to people who abuse others, I can be very judgmental, though probably not my place to be. When I see bad parenting or a child or person suffering at the hands of another person, I get really angry.
Being foster mom to two abused children (now adults), who came to live with me over six years ago, it really hits a nerve when abuse rears its ugly head around me. It is very close to home and I am very quick to get up in arms. I have seen abuse on too many occasions. It happens everywhere. Last year I had an extra child placed with me as place of safety because of her terrible home situation. This year once again there is a child who is being abused at home that my children know. The truth is that it is absolutely everywhere, and many people are trapped in a situation of abuse because they are frightened to do anything about it, they are dependent on the perpetrator or for whatever their reason may be. Some people (particularly people who were abused from childhood) have been abused for so long that they only know abuse, there is no sense of it being wrong in their minds because it is all that they know.
Abuse is a vicious circle and some people are unable or unwilling to break that circle. When I was abused, I could not understand why the perpetrator wanted to do the same thing that he was subjected to his whole life. I really struggled to understand why he did not want to be different having seen the trauma that abuse causes. For me it was unthinkable that an adult could not see right from wrong and not choose to do what is right. I really struggled to understand why he abused me and what made him do it. I spent a long time really trying to figure it out and to be honest, I don’t think I ever will. The truth is I cannot truly understand how another person thinks. We are all different and we cannot get inside the mind of someone else. Nor do we actually know each other’s full journey or what people have been through.
Trying to understand someone can be infuriating as well as impossible. I cannot think the way he thinks, and I need to stop trying to, the truth is that my mind cannot comprehend the reasoning behind his behaviour. If I do something wrong, I can look at the situation, analyze it and find what lead to me doing it and I can apologise, grow and learn from my mistake. I cannot make the person behind my abuse learn from his mistakes and I cannot truly know what lead to his behaviour. As much as I always feel the need to analyze everything and come to a reasonable conclusion, I have had to learn that I cannot understand everyone, and I cannot always find a conclusion. Sometimes I just have to understand that I am not that person and cannot think like they do. I can draw my own conclusions and speculate, however is this really any help at all?
I believe that abuse was a normal condition for my abuser. But I thought that he would be able to see the damage and not want to continue the cycle. I became angry that he didn’t stop the cycle, that he abused me even though he “loved” me. He never wanted to protect me from abuse, that is what cut the deepest. Why would someone who loves me want to hurt me? You see I cannot understand because I am not aware of all of the facts of his childhood. It is not something that men talk about, especially in the family that he came from. Boys don’t cry, and men don’t need help. It is a dangerous situation because children suffering from any form of trauma are not treated or given any form of help.
I cannot fix anyone, and I should stop trying. I cannot help someone who does not want to help themselves. The only person I am in control of is me. I can be a positive influence and I can share my experience but thinking I can fix the person that caused the problem is really just silly.
In a more recent incident I was sitting with a lady who does a lot of welfare work and she was telling me about some of the cases where the mothers keep having children with different men and the men leave and the mothers abuse their children. I was so disgusted and said, “how dare they, they have no right, they are adults and should know better”. Her answer to me was extremely blunt and hit me like a bucket of cold water. She said, “how can they know that it is wrong if they have never known anything else?”
The Jungle book springs to mind. Mowgli, a little boy raised by wolves in the jungle, rejected humankind despite being human, the animals were all he knew. This I feel to be a great example. Mowgli did not know humans and therefore he rejected them. And honestly who am I to judge anyone in any way. Yes, abuse makes me angry and I want to judge but it is not my place. I do not know the background, I do not know why a mother abuses her children and if it is all that she has ever known, then how can she know different.
I feel that there is a desperate need for education, we need to educate children and make sure that they understand what abuse is. Education will ensure that should a child or adult find themselves in an abusive situation, they will be able to identify it as such. More emphasis needs to be put on emotional abuse, emotional abuse is what stops people sharing their stories as well as causing the victim to feel unwarranted guilt.
I have every right to be angry for the way I have been mistreated but I cannot expect to understand the reasons why people in the past chose to abuse me or what lead them to become abusive in the first place. The only thing I can do is choose to tell my story and choose to make a difference in the lives of others.
I want to be a pillar of strength for anyone facing abuse and I know that in my own way, I can help victims to become survivors.
I love people and I love being loved and appreciated by people. I love being popular and I love positive attention. This is one of the major contributors to me falling into depression. Another major factor was my history of abuse and me identifying with abuse and allowing it to continue without realising it.
As far back as I can remember I have always gone out of my way for everyone around me, winning favour where ever I could and giving so much to the people around me. I gave and gave, and everyone took and took. As long as I was giving, I felt great because I thought that people liked me. I was confident and happy while not realising that I was being completely drained. I remember running from one get together to the next, never wanting to disappoint anyone by saying no. My weekends were completely exhausting, and I was feeling as if I was drowning. I was absolutely exhausted at the start of each week and I never felt rested at all. I was literally driving on fumes and not coping with day to day things. My concentration levels were really low, and I was wasting excessive amounts of time rechecking simple things because I had been unable to concentrate properly in the first place. Small tasks felt like huge mountains and I was waking up each day feeling exhausted and dreading the day ahead. I was simply wishing my days away. Waiting for home time, waiting for bed time, waiting for a break that I could just sit and breathe.
Tanu B. Singh. said:
“Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice because the flow has passed and will never pass again. Enjoy every moment.”
I was watching time go by, not realising that I could never get time back. I was in zombie mode and I was literally wasting my life. All because I wanted to please everyone. Time is a very valuable commodity, wasting it is a tragedy.
At the end of the day I was only damaging myself. I had become so used to putting everyone else first that I had become someone that I wasn’t. I had become the person everyone wanted me to be instead of being true to myself. I had to hit rock bottom before I even noticed how far I had slipped into the very damaging world of the people pleaser. I have a terrible habit of trying to save the wounded and find the lost. This is the very reason that I got into the first abusive relationship at 17. The guy I got involved with needed saving, needed me, or so I thought. Although I wouldn’t go back and change the past, I need to remind myself to stop putting everyone else first constantly.
Not only is people pleasing completely draining, it is very dangerous because as quickly as you build your self-esteem up on the positive attention from people, your self-esteem can be broken in an instant by negative attention. You make yourself completely vulnerable to being made or broken by people. People’s behaviour is completely out of your control, but you are basing your self-esteem on them. This is without a doubt the most dangerous thing you can do and the effects on your mental health are catastrophic. It takes one person to knock you down into the pits of depression or to give you an anxiety disorder. And at the same time you have completely lost yourself.
Suddenly the people pleaser is faced with turmoil and this is when I was given the amazing opportunity to find myself. This was the time to get to know me and to learn how to set strict boundaries and put me first. We grow up being told not to be selfish and to give unto others, but I am telling you right now, be selfish, look after yourself, put yourself first. Take time to get to know yourself, take time to grow, learn, and better yourself. Take the time to build your self-esteem on YOU. You are the only solid foundation on which to build your self-esteem. If you build your self-esteem on others, you give them the power to destroy you. Never mind the fact that you are left completely emotionally exhausted pleasing everyone and having nothing left for yourself.
I am not saying don’t do anything for anyone else, I am saying put you first. Set boundaries, be assertive and learn to say no. Give yourself time and love yourself first. Spend time with yourself, take time out of your day to spend on you. Stop wasting energy on what other people think of you. What people think of you is entirely their business. What you think of yourself is your business. And if you have areas within you that you need to work on, do it. Fix the things you don’t like and be the best version of you.
Doing good for others is healthy and creates happiness, don’t confuse this with being a people pleaser. Giving is good but trying to please everyone is when giving becomes dangerous. When you look after yourself first, you become content, happy and confident and you are able to analyse and decide what you want to give and to who.
Take time to do something that is purely for you. Paint, draw, write, whatever you enjoy doing, find a hobby. The satisfaction you get out of doing something you enjoy for you is worth all the weight in gold. Remember you are the only person who truly knows you, so change what you don’t like and learn to love yourself. Loving yourself is truly the very best thing you can do for you and everyone around you.