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Are You Abandoning Yourself? Self-Abandonment is a Real Thing!


a bare tree
Feeling Depleted?

Understanding Self-Abandonment

Self-abandonment is the continuous action of rejecting or ignoring your own thoughts, feelings, and needs. While this might initially seem like selflessness or helping others, it is fundamentally different. True selflessness doesn't come at the cost of your own well-being. So, how can we distinguish between genuine helping and self-abandonment? We need to consider our motivations, the frequency of our actions, the nature of our relationships, and the outcomes we seek.


Why It Matters

Recognizing and addressing self-abandonment is crucial for maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself and others. When you constantly put others' needs before your own, you risk losing touch with your true self, leading to burnout, resentment, and unhappiness.


Three Ways We Abandon Ourselves


1.Neglecting Our Own Needs

This could involve something seemingly minor, such as not eating when hungry, or more significant actions, like attending to another's needs despite the negative impact on you. For example, pet-sitting when you are highly allergic to animals.


2. Codependency

Codependency is a complex topic, but it is closely related to self-abandonment. It involves great self-sacrifice, intense focus on others, and a deep fear of rejection. Codependent behaviors often lead to neglecting one's own needs and desires.


3. Not Trusting Yourself

This occurs when you ignore your own gut instincts and go against your beliefs and values. For example, agreeing to do something that goes against your will just to gain acceptance or preserve a relationship.


The Impact of Self-Abandonment

Although there are many other ways to self-abandonment, these are overarching categories that encompass the many branches in which one turns away from self. It might seem hard to believe, or the frequency might be downplayed, but the impact on self-worth, mental, and emotional health is significant. One can be left feeling constantly overwhelmed, self-critical, judgmental, and shameful, believing they are never good enough and behaving in ways that never achieve the relief they are hoping to get.


Ways to Stop Self-Abandonment

You will always be left with yourself; therefore, rejecting yourself to get approval from others leaves you at the mercy of everyone else to determine your worth. As corny as it sounds, it starts with treating yourself with love and kindness. Here are some practical steps to help you stop abandoning yourself:


1. Identify and Honor Your Beliefs and Values

Allow yourself to identify what you truly believe in and value. Pay attention to how you feel when these beliefs and values are violated. Name those feelings to yourself. The idea here is to stay present even when it's uncomfortable.


2. Consume Positive Content

Expose yourself to content that is helpful, encouraging, and supportive, rather than critical. Surround yourself with positive influences that uplift you.


3. Engage in Activities You Enjoy

Allow yourself to be adventurous and engage in things you want to do, regardless of others' opinions. Pursue hobbies, try new foods, explore different activities, and immerse yourself in various cultures.


4. Self-Awareness

Start by acknowledging your patterns of self-abandonment. Reflect on situations where you tend to ignore your own needs.


5. Set Boundaries

Learn to say no and establish clear boundaries to protect your time and energy.


6. Prioritize Self-Care

Make time for activities that nurture your mind, body, and soul.


7. Practice Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself and recognize that your needs and feelings are valid.


8. Seek Support

Talk to a therapist or join a support group to gain insights and strategies for maintaining a healthy balance.


Take Action

Take a moment to reflect on your daily habits and interactions. Are there areas where you might be abandoning yourself? Start implementing small changes today to honor and prioritize your well-being. Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish—it's essential.


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