How Cancer Cured My Tendency To Over Give

At the point at which I got diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2020, I had been in therapy.

This was to help me understand why all the men I had been in relationships with were emotionally avoidant in how they related to me and in their own lives.

Little did I know that it would actually help me understand why I gravitated to such men, and how this dynamic also played out with family and friends.

I’ve talked before on this blog about how much of an over-giver I identified myself as, yet something about being diagnosed with cancer stopped all that pretty much overnight.

I had to focus on myself, my health, my well being, and it was fascinating to see how some people faded away once I was not available to help them with their problems. Perhaps waiting until I was ‘better’ and normal service could resume.

Except normal service has not resumed and never will.

The world wide pandemic taught everyone this lesson, at the same time in which cancer taught me – we cannot give to others at the detriment of ourselves.

So exactly how did I stop over giving?

  • I say ‘no’: I have learnt to simply say no when something does not feel right for me. Sometimes I give reasons, sometimes I communicate with non-action.
  • Non-action: Being someone who used to always respond, who used to always reach out. I no longer do that. I don’t do anything out of habit or obligation anymore. I check in with myself first and how it makes me feel.
  • I check in with myself: Do I want to do something? Do I have a legitimate responsibility to? How does my body feel? Do I have the mental space?
  • Mental Space: I give myself plenty of blank space, blank time with no plans. I need it to regroup.
  • Rest: I understand just how much it takes from me to give to others in the ways that I do. I take regular rest to recover.
  • Redistribution: I now only give my time and energy to those who I feel appreciate it, and give back.

Reading that back – feels strong!

I hope this helps you if you need permission to give to yourself first.

Have you had an illness that taught you the same thing?

Much love Txx

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