A Letter to My Family: Being a Good Person is Not Synonymous with Being a Door Mat
I fully believe in being a good person. I have lived my entire life, all 31 years, by the philosophy of
do unto others as you would have them do unto you
In fact, I credit many of you for this approach to life, as many of you helped instil this attitude in me as I was a child.
As I hope many of you know, my life has consisted of doing anything for anyone when I’ve been asked. I have done this in my professional life and my personal life. In both, I have never once asked for any sort of praise or thank you for any of it.
Ultimately, I have always answered the call for help, no matter when or what the call was for. And more importantly, I have answered the call regardless of the consequences to my own life.
In order to put everyone else first, I have put myself last.
So, today, I am writing to say no-more.
Just because we are bound together as family does not mean I deserve to be treated poorly by you. Being family does not mean I have to tolerate being hurt, time and time again. In fact, if anything, I believe the fact that we are family is the very reason I deserve better from you!
While I do not want to be a person who is keeping score or the person who builds up walls, I feel the need to start protecting my heart from the seemingly never ending hurt. And so, from here on out, I am going to start trying to practice more self-care and find a new balance.
Starting today, I am demanding better of each member of my extended family. I will help you, when I can, but I will not help you at the cost of my happiness and my self-respect. I deserve to be part of an equal relationship, and if you cannot offer me an equal partnership, than I will no longer be at your every beckon call. Instead, I will be focusing on those who care for and respect me. I will be focusing on nurturing the existing positive relationships in my life.
If you want to be a meaningful part of my life, then it’s time for you to start acting like you want to be. I will continue to live my life in a positive manner. I will continue to love and live my life compassionately. I will continue to help those truly in need. But, for the first time ever, I will also demand the same from you because I’ve finally started to realize that being a good person is not synonymous with being a door mat.
I do not know what this means exactly. And I really don’t know how it will unfold in reality. I have no intentions of cutting anyone out of my life, but I do have full intentions of putting myself first for a little while to figure out what I need for myself and from you, and from there I will work to accept the limitations that exist within those needs. After everything we have been though in the last few years with our lost babies and so many moments lacking basic compassion, I know that right now I need to practice some better self-care and find a better balance in my life.
I promise, when you treat me fairly and with respect, I will be here and I will answer the call. But until then, I hope you can understand on some level that I will love you from a bit further away as to protect my heart from more hurt because right now, I simply cannot bear anymore.
Me (your daughter, sister, step-daughter, step-sister, sister-in-law, and daughter in law)
Maybe one day I’ll actually have the courage to share this with my family. But for today, this letter is more of a promise to myself and right now that matters more than anything else.
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