There was a single moment when I knew I had gone too far in giving of myself. I knew it because I felt myself disappear.
This was also the moment I knew I needed to end my relationship. I was being asked to give, so I gave, and then he pushed me away. Then he'd come back and ask me to give again. I'd give. Then he'd push me away.
I had no boundaries for myself. I didn't nourish myself. I didn't ask him to give in return. I just kept giving because I saw he was in pain and that's what you do when someone else is hurting. You make them feel better. But if you give too much, you lose yourself.
It was an on-again, off-again relationship. The end was approaching, and I knew it. I was doing things because I felt I had to. I didn't really want to.
I didn't really want to sit in two hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic after a long day just to see him. What I wanted was to take a nice walk with my dog, cook some dinner, and curl up with a good book. Instead of telling him this, I got in the car.
Halfway there, he called me and told me he didn't want me to come. I remember getting off the freeway with tears streaming down my face while he called me over and over and I just let it ring. The bag of tea and healing goodies I had packed for him sat on the seat next to me.
That moment wasn't especially significant on its own. The back and forth, asking and giving, pushing and pulling was a constant struggle. This was just the last straw. It was like I had been waiting for that line to be crossed.
When that happened, the last ounce of my personhood vanished. I felt completely empty. It was in that car with tears streaming down my face and my phone ringing off the hook that I knew I had to take drastic action, or I would lose myself for good.
Something happened in that empty place. I found freedom in the realization that there was nothing left to lose. I went into survival mode. I decided, from that moment on, to do what was best for me.
You don't lose yourself in a single moment. It's happening bit by bit, day by day. It's happening every single time you choose not to honor yourself. It's happening every time you give of yourself regardless of your own needs.
You can't give what you don't have.
Start working with boundaries. Commit to putting yourself first. You have to serve yourself before you can be of service to others.