How to Stop Being a Martyr

picture of a lit match close to a bunch of other unlit matches

Stop Setting Yourself on Fire to Keep Everybody Else Warm

Have you ever felt like you’re constantly putting out fires in your personal or professional life? Do you find yourself sacrificing your own well-being and happiness to make others happy? It’s time to stop setting yourself on fire to keep everybody else warm.

Empathy and Compassion are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing:

  • Empathy means taking on the feelings of the person in front of you. So, if they are having a panic attack and come to you for help, empathy would cause you to have a panic attack with them. This is not very helpful for either of you.
  • Compassion means there is a genuine understanding of the suffering of the other person and even warmth from you, but there is also a healthy distance that allows you to be safe and helpful without being drawn into their suffering. In short, compassion allows you to support others without sacrificing your own well-being.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of being a people-pleaser, but constantly prioritizing others over yourself can lead to burnout, stress, and even resentment. It’s important to set boundaries and take care of your own needs in order to live a fulfilling and healthy life.

Here are some tips to help you stop setting yourself on fire:

1. Learn to say no

Saying no can be hard, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do everything for everyone all the time. Learn to prioritize your own needs and don’t be afraid to say no when you need to.

2. Prioritize self-care

Make self-care a priority in your life. This can be anything from taking a bubble bath to going for a walk to practicing mindfulness meditation. Whatever it is that makes you feel happy and relaxed, make time for it regularly.

3. Set boundaries

Setting boundaries is key to taking care of yourself. Whether it’s saying no to certain requests or limiting your availability, make sure you’re clear about your boundaries and stick to them.

4. Practice gratitude

Gratitude can help shift your focus from what you don’t have to what you do have. Take time to reflect on the things in your life that you’re grateful for, and you’ll likely find that you feel more fulfilled and content.

5. Surround yourself with supportive people

Having a strong support system can make all the difference when it comes to taking care of yourself. Surround yourself with people who lift you up, support your goals, and encourage you to prioritize your own well-being.

Remember, self-love isn’t selfish – it’s necessary. By setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, and surrounding yourself with supportive people, you can stop setting yourself on fire and start living a happier, healthier life. Get in touch when you’re ready to get started.


Learn more about Stress Management Counseling in Austin.

Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s has worked in the helping profession since he started college in 1990. After completing his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas, Austin in 1994, he attended the highly-regarded University of Minnesota to earn his Master’s degree in 1997. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is recognized as a Board Approved Supervisor by the State of Texas Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Jonathan has completed Level-2 of the Gottman Method of Couples Counseling, and in 1998 received training from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Advanced Critical Incident Stress Management & Debriefing. To learn more about Jonathan’s practice, click here: Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s.

© Copyright 2023 - Gate Healing, PLLC - All Rights Reserved. Material provided on this website is for educational and/or informational purposes only. Direct consultation with a qualified licensed health care provider, licensed professional counselor, or psychotherapist should be sought as necessary for any specific questions or problems. This site should not be construed as offering either medical advice or online professional service; no therapeutic relationship with a licensed professional counselor is established by use of this site. Please do not send emails to this site or anyone associated with it that may include confidential information.