When I was younger, I thought the way people’s brains worked was interesting. I loved learning about why someone might act or be a certain way. If I’m being honest, I’ve probably taken every personality test out there. My obsession with learning about people’s personalities would eventually turn into me taking psychology classes and wanting to pursue that as a career. I loved it. It wasn’t just about enjoying the topic of psychology though. One of the things that made me want to pursue it the most was the fact that people had told me in the past that I was good at helping people sort out issues they had. I always took pride in the fact that the people in my life could count on me. No matter what it was, I’d be- here for them and help them with whatever they needed. I could be there to talk, to listen, be a shoulder to cry on or just be by their side. Being there for people was my “thing”. I wanted to help people more than anything in the world. I figured it somehow gave me a purpose, especially in a world where people are constantly being put into categories and given labels. It was easy for me to fall into that role. All of us, at some point or another, have known what it’s like to be put into different groups, whether you want to be or not. We even do it with our friends. We all know that really funny friend, the responsible one, and the one that is always there when you just need someone to talk to. I liked being that friend people could go to if they needed it- or at least, I thought I did.
Looking back now, I realize sometimes things don’t always go as you expected, or like you wanted them to go. Good intentions don’t fix everything, sometimes the people you care about the most, are hurt in ways that we can’t fix, as much as you try it isn’t always possible to help them. You can’t make things better just by talking, and at a certain point it becomes unhealthy to drop everything you are doing to be there. People are always saying you should help yourself before you help others. I knew the saying well. But at the time it was nearly impossible for me to understand what they meant by it. In my mind, if someone needed help I was going to be there, even if it meant I couldn’t focus on myself for a little while. The issue is that the people you love don’t always do what is best for them, and sometimes they don’t use the advice you give them. And if they aren’t taking it, you need to let go.
It doesn’t make sense at the moment, but sometimes you need to think about how a certain situation may affect you.
There isn’t a clear cut path in life, Things change but you can’t force it. You can’t make people go to the ones they love or stop feeling the way they do. It’s hard to walk away or put something on hold, especially when it’s involving people you love because you don’t want to make someone feel bad or hurt more. But those sayings are true. Being there for someone non-stop and taking in their emotions all the time can take a serious toll on you. It can make you anxious to the point where you don’t want to do anything or go anywhere. You feel like you are carrying something so heavy but you can’t drop it, because if you do, then who’s going to carry it?
Now that I’m older, I’ve realized the importance of balance. You can’t put the needs of other people above your own, even if it is someone you really care about. That doesn’t mean you can’t be there for them, you just need to remember that you also need to be there for yourself. Psychology is still something I really like. and I still like helping people and talking with them. But I have learned to keep my mental health in the center of things so I don’t get burnt out.
I don’t want to pursue psychology as a career anymore, because I don’t need to have a “purpose” to feel like I’m worth something.