I have decided.
I am just going to love myself so everybody else will have to as well.
Seems like this is what we all should naturally resort to survival wise, however a lot of people do not. I certainly wasn't one of them. All my life I've tried to care about the people I love, people that loved me, the people that did not love me, people who didn't care, people I thought I'd owed something, co-workers, strangers... I had put them ahead of what I needed to do - for me. No surprise I was so drained all the time. Some of the energy boomeranged back, but most of it dissipated into the abyss.
What a futile attempt to be liked, recognized, loved and cared for. Recently I realized that moving a notch toward the "egocentric bitch" on the spectrum of self-care and self-acceptance could do me some good. So I did. I thought: "we live once, and I better make damn sure I get what I desire rather than waiting for a parent, parter, employer, government, friends, etc. give it to me. After all, no one knows what I need better than myself, right?
The results were quick and dramatic. Within the past two months I've met the most incredible photographer, artists, marketing and accounting assistants, coaches and bodybuilders, entrepreneurs and other incredible people a lot of whom are my partners now. If I hadn't been so outspoken and uncompromising about my top priorities, this would have never happened. The energy would have dissipated again, and again - I would have been left with depleted and unhappy.
Moral: take care of yourself, especially if you're a giver. Balance is crucial. If you're worried about "taking" too much, reflect on your day in the evening. Whom did you help? Whose day did you make? Who helped you and made you smile, or energized you? Look at the two columns and evaluate which one needs work. For me - it will always be making sure I allow to be helped and cared for without being too worried I'm inconveniencing others.