8 signs you’re a do-gooder and how it might be holding you back

There’s a fine line between being a do-gooder and a pushover.

Doing good deeds is commendable, but when you’re always putting others first, you might be neglecting your own needs.

Being a do-gooder, you may often find yourself overextended, feeling drained, or even taken advantage of. This might be holding you back from reaching your full potential.

In this article, I’ll point out 8 signs that you’re a do-gooder and how this might be hindering your progress. Through this, hopefully, you’ll learn to strike a balance between helping others and helping yourself.

1) You struggle to say ‘No’

This is a common trait amongst do-gooders.

When someone asks you for a favor, your immediate instinct is to say ‘yes’. You hate the idea of letting anyone down and you always want to be there for others, even if it means compromising your own needs.

It’s a noble quality, no doubt. But constantly agreeing to do everything for everyone can leave you feeling overwhelmed and overstretched.

Moreover, it also sets a pattern of expectation. People start assuming that you’ll always be there to help, which can lead to them taking advantage of your willingness to assist.

Learning to say ‘no’ when necessary can be an empowering tool. It allows you to take control of your time and energy, and ensures that you’re not being held back by a constant need to please others.

Remember, it’s okay to prioritize yourself sometimes.

2) You feel guilty prioritizing yourself

I remember this one time when I had a crucial deadline for a project. I was working tirelessly to meet it. Just then, a friend called asking me to help him move. I knew it was going to be a day’s job, but I found it hard to say no.

I ended up helping him out, and consequently, missed my deadline. The guilt of letting my team down was heavy. But what struck me more was the realization that I had allowed my desire to help someone to overshadow my responsibilities.

Being a do-gooder, you might often find yourself in similar situations, where you feel guilty for choosing your needs over helping someone else. This constant guilt can be draining and can hold you back from focusing on your personal growth.

Learning to balance your commitments and understanding that it’s okay to prioritize yourself sometimes is crucial for your wellbeing and success.

3) You often neglect your own needs

Did you know that, according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people who continually put others’ needs before their own are more likely to experience higher levels of stress and lower levels of happiness?

Being a do-gooder, you might often find yourself putting everyone else’s needs before your own. Whether it’s sacrificing your sleep to help a friend in need or skipping meals to finish a task for someone else, you constantly overlook your own needs.

This self-neglect can lead to exhaustion and burnout. It can also hinder your personal growth as you’re always focused on others and not on yourself.

Remember, it’s important to take care of yourself too. Only then can you truly be able to help others effectively.

4) You’re always the peacekeeper

As a do-gooder, you might often find yourself playing the role of a peacekeeper. When there’s a conflict, you’re the first one to try and smooth things over, even if it means suppressing your own feelings and opinions.

While maintaining harmony is essential, constantly being the mediator can be emotionally draining. It can also hold you back from expressing your true feelings and standing up for what you believe in.

Fostering peace is commendable but remember to voice your opinions too. It’s important to ensure that in your quest for peace, your voice isn’t lost.

5) You’re always trying to fix others’ problems

You see a friend in trouble, and your heart aches. You can’t just stand by and watch. You feel compelled to step in, offer advice, lend a hand, or do whatever it takes to ease their burden.

It’s a beautiful trait, the ability to empathize and the desire to alleviate others’ suffering. But when you’re always trying to fix other people’s problems, you might be neglecting your own.

Moreover, constantly being the ‘fixer’ can hold you back from realizing that not every problem is yours to solve. Sometimes, people need to face their own battles to grow and learn.

Remember, it’s okay to offer support without taking on the responsibility of solving others’ problems. Your role as a friend or loved one is not always to ‘fix’, but sometimes just to ‘be there’.

6) You feel responsible for others’ happiness

I recall a time when a close friend was going through a rough patch. I did everything I could to cheer them up, from sending care packages to planning surprise visits. But despite my efforts, they remained unhappy. I felt like I had failed and carried that burden with me.

Being a do-gooder, you might often associate your worth with how happy you can make others. When they’re upset, you feel it’s your duty to cheer them up and you feel disappointed when you can’t.

But it’s important to remember that everyone has their own journey and emotions. You can offer support, but their happiness is not your responsibility nor a reflection of your worth. Learning this can help you focus more on your own happiness and less on others’, preventing it from holding you back.

7) You overcommit and overextend yourself

Whether it’s signing up for extra shifts at work, volunteering for every community event, or always being the one to help out friends and family, you have a tendency to take on more than you can handle.

Overcommitting stems from your desire to do good and be helpful. But it can lead to stress, burnout, and a lack of time for your own rest and personal pursuits.

Remember, it’s okay to set limits and respect your own capacity. Being aware of your limits and not overextending yourself is crucial in maintaining a balance between being a do-gooder and prioritizing your own well-being.

8) Your self-worth is tied to helping others

You derive immense satisfaction and sense of worth from helping others. While it’s wonderful to find joy in service, it’s essential to realize that your value is not purely defined by how much you help others.

You are more than just a do-gooder. You have your own talents, dreams, and strengths that make you unique and valuable. Understanding this can help you maintain a healthier sense of self-worth that isn’t solely tied to your acts of kindness and can prevent it from holding you back.

Final thoughts: Self-care is not selfish

It’s important to remember that helping others and being a ‘do-gooder’ is a wonderful trait and something to be proud of. However, it’s equally important to take care of your own needs and wants.

The well-known adage, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” rings true here. You can only give your best to others when you are at your best.

Psychologists often emphasize the importance of self-care and setting boundaries as critical aspects of maintaining mental health. It’s not about becoming selfish or uncaring, but ensuring that you have enough energy and emotional resources to continue doing good without burning out or holding yourself back.

So, as a do-gooder, while you continue to spread kindness and positivity, also take a moment to reflect on your own needs and happiness. Remember, it’s okay to say ‘no’ sometimes, it’s okay to prioritize yourself, and most importantly, it’s okay to take care of you.

Because at the end of the day, being a do-gooder isn’t just about helping others; it’s also about taking care of yourself so that you can continue spreading goodness in the world.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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