It is not a secret that helping others makes us feel better about ourselves and our lives.
It frees us from our self-centered problems and feelings for a little while and gives us a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
A problem arises, however, when we help others in a way that compromises our values, violates our integrity, or causes us to give more than we are capable of.
This type of giving leads to regret, remorse, and resentment.
It makes us feel worse about ourselves and it strains our relationships.
Truth be told, it is not actually helpful to those we are aiming to serve either.
In fact, it is more an act of cowardice than it is an act of service.
When we are unable or unwilling to speak up for ourselves to say that we are uncomfortable with what is being asked of us and merely go along to get along, it starts to eat at us.
It drives a wedge into our soul and divides us from ourselves.
The longer that we move in this way, the more alienated we become from who we truly are and are meant to be.
The result is that we become strangers to ourselves and our purpose.
Lost, confused, and angry, we cast blame, but deep down we know that if only we would have had the courage to say no in the beginning, things would be so much different now.
We would be so much different now.
When we find ourselves in this place, it is easy to lash out and to blame others for our situation, but that will only make things worse.
Instead, we must look inward and get honest.
We must figure out where we went wrong and do our best to make it right.
And, we must gracefully bow out of whatever situations or relationships are causing us so much discomfort so that we can reaffirm our values, rebuild our integrity, and regain our center so that we can begin to truly be of service from our hearts and our truth.