It can be difficult.

To be sure, a life of servitude can be more rewarding and fulfilling than a life dedicated to personal gratification. It can be a beautiful exchange.

But it’s also where boundaries go to die.

The moment you choose to let others in and find a way to meet their needs, there’s always the chance you’ll be taken advantage of. And like a donkey chasing a carrot, there might be intangible, ineffable incentives that keep stringing you along.

It might be weeks, months, or even years before you realize you’ve been had. The greater the investment, the greater the chance you’ll be steered by loss aversion. None of us like to feel like we’ve been duped. So, instead of acknowledging our mistakes, we’ll justify and rationalize our choices.

What’s often missing from this conversation is this:

You can only give out of your overflow. If you are exhausted, burnt out, and drained, how can you give to others? You can’t.

Before you can serve others well, you’ve got to become a master at serving yourself. Yes, it might seem selfish. It might even appear that way to those on the outside looking in. But it’s not selfish to care for yourself. If there is no you, there is no you to give.

Put yourself first and invest in your growth. You’ll be far more resourceful, and of more value to others when you’ve woodshedded and conquered yourself.

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