Recently, I was having a private coaching session with a client who was feeling frustrated and stuck.

She felt she continuously let herself down.

As our session evolved, she realized she had an unconscious agreement with herself that deemed the needs, wants, and well-being of others as more important than her own.

Like my client, there are a lot of women who have also created this unconscious agreement because of their desire to be liked by others.

But they do so at the cost of their own happiness.

How does this limiting agreement show up in our lives?

  • Dreams and goals that mostly go unfulfilled
  • Taking on other people’s drama
  • Feeling short on time for themselves
  • Rarely treating themselves to enjoyable experiences
  • Procrastinating
  • Trying to solve friends’ and families’ problems
  • Gaining weight (mostly because of added stress)
  • Not being able to sleep
  • Feeling stressed and anxious

I had my client make a list of all the ways she was putting others before herself. It turned out to be a long list. She sighed and said, “It’s too hard to not show up this way. I don’t know how to be any other way.”

She’s right. It’s hard mostly because we have not been taught how to align our self-worth from an inner perspective rather than from outside of ourselves.

The cost of not putting your needs, wants, and well-being first yields big consequences such as depression, feeling unfulfilled, and stuck.

What is the root cause of moving through life with the mindset that others come before you?

Here are few recurring themes I’ve noticed in my coaching practice:

  • Guilt
  • Avoidance
  • Lack of self-love
  • False sense of self-worth
  • Loving others more than yourself
  • The need to feel important and needed
  • Not believing those around you can actually solve their problems effectively

While exploring these root causes can take time to process, heal, release, and relearn, there is one shift you can make immediately: teach those in your circle how to fish.

You see, when we remove the root causes that keeps us from putting ourselves first, we are left with the genuine desire to help others be happier. We don’t really help others when we solve their challenges.We are teaching them how to depend on us while denying our own needs.

Instead of teaching others to depend on you for the ebbs and flows of life, teach others how to fish by asking them a very simple yet powerful question, “What can you do today in order to solve this challenge?”

Continue to ask the question until you’ve helped your loved one come up with a list of things they can do to proactively create their desired outcomes.

That question empowers and reminds the other party that they are capable of creating solutions for their obstacles no matter how big or small. It also lets them know you believe in their ability to be resourceful during times of adversity. Those on the receiving end of this process begin to trust they have what it takes to solve their challenges. In the meantime, you are creating space to honor what your soul requires.

Teaching others how to fish definitely requires practice. It also requires the ability to let others do their inner work so that in turn you can do yours. It’s possible if you decide to commit first to yourself and then to others.

Getting back to my client …

After admitting to herself there was a payoff in her pushing her needs under the carpet, she realized she was doing so as a way of avoiding her deep-rooted fear of success. Ahh yes!

She deliberately (yet unconsciously) made sure she did not have the time or emotional bandwidth to deal with her own insecurities and fears.

In her mind, she was strong and powerful because she walked through life like a fairy godmother sprinkling fairy dust and solving everyone’s issues. When deep inside, she was putting more and more distance between her true self and who she was showing up as.

My client committed to learning a new way of being that allowed her to transform the pain of nourishing others before herself into creating the space that allows her to be, do and experience herself as soul happy.

What about you?

Have you been teaching your loved ones how to fish or have you been guiding them into depending on you to solve the ebbs and flow of life?

I would love to hear your comments below!