Some of my friends and family will read this title and be like, "....but you don't really do that much." The thing is, though, how can you know if you're not in my shoes?
Oh right. You can't.
I'm the person who does all of the work in group projects but never says anything about it. I'm the person who takes everybody home even when I know they won't pay me for gas. I'm the person who pays for your lunch when you "forgot" your wallet even though I know you'll never pay me back. I go overboard for birthdays when the other person might not even know when mine is. I buy really expensive gifts because I know the other person wants them, not because I can afford it.
I babysit the night before a test. I drive 45 minutes to see my Mom who didn't ask me to come, but I know will freak out in the best way, anyway. I do a lot.
The big problem is, no one is asking me to do these things. I'm not getting a grade on them or brownie points from Jesus up in heaven. Nobody pays me for the services that I choose to do of my own free will, and they shouldn't. What should be happening is realization.
I don't need to do these things every single time I see someone even slightly struggling. The fact of the matter is, everyone around me is fully grown. They can and will take care of themselves if I'm out of pocket. They don't sit around waiting for me to fix their problems or get mad when I have another obligation. I put this all on myself.
Is there great reward most of the time? Absolutely. People notice these things in you and will speak it, making you feel on top of the world. They will give you an extra squeeze at the end of every hug, and make sure to text you 'good luck' on the day of a big test you've been stressing over.
Sometimes, people don't know how to love as well as you do. They haven't ever experienced it and don't show their gratitude or admiration in the same ways. If you're like me, we've just got to learn to be okay with that.
More than this though, we need to remind ourselves that we don't always have to jump at every call and get up in the middle of the night to pick up somebody who had too much to drink. We don't have to be the one to stop studying early to go eat with our friend who doesn't want to sit alone in the dining hall. It's so important to know that it's okay to worry about you.
It's okay to get a text at 1 AM when you're fast asleep and roll over and continue slumbering. It's okay to skip a dinner with friends if you want to be alone and watch your favorite old movie. It's okay to cancel plans that you weren't looking forward to because you're stressed and need to take a nap.
It's okay to say no.
It'll be really foreign at first and you might feel this guilt that you can't control. But, I promise it will go away. Your mental health matters, too and if you've surrounded yourself with the right people, they won't just understand, but they'll encourage it.
Make sure you take a breather sometimes. You deserve it.