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I know dozens and dozens of people who have the ‘gift’ of service. They get to know those around them – customers, family, friends or colleagues and they anticipate and meet their needs on a regular basis. It truly is a gift to have that very special attribute.

It becomes a problem when we are so loving and so giving that we forget about ourselves. Our mission in life is to please other people and make them happy. Does that sound like you?

We love to help others and the payback is their attention and gratitude. Unfortunately, I know too many people who have their identity wrapped up in giving to others. They often don’t pursue what they want because their first priority is to someone else and there is a good chance that they aren’t able to speak up and ask for what they want.

What often happens next is the build up of resentment. They resent that they never got to do what they really wanted, they may have been asked, but they let someone else choose.

Then they get upset and their partner is confused because they never spoke up. This goes much deeper than putting your partner first when it comes to the TV show you want to watch or the restaurant you want to eat at.

It’s not being afraid to pursue your own interests and hobbies – separate and apart from your partner.

It’s about taking the time to create your own identity – know who you are, what your interests and values are, and most importantly – what your boundaries are. Know what you will and will not accept in to your life and stand your ground.

To gain the respect of others, we must first respect and value ourselves. That is easier said than done. We need to know first what we want and then find ways to make that happen. YOU make it a reality – not your partner.

Just because those close to you may not support you or they may try to make you feel bad or threaten you for wanting to pursue your own interests – don’t let them.

Balance is important. You want to spend time with your loved ones and you also want to spend time for you.

When you take a back seat to others, you can slowly erode your confidence and identity. You could become lost and unmotivated and very unhappy.

How do you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? Learn to Believe in yourself – define who you are and what you stand for. Never ever let anyone take that away from you!