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Best Efforts Never Going to Be Enough

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  • #369021
    Tex
    Participant

    I have spent the last 35 years or so doing all I could to give back.  I am not patting myself on the back or in any way bragging.  I simply believed that was what I was to do and it made me happy.  I have given away more than I have received too much of the time.  But it made me happy because I believed I was making a difference.    About 10 years ago I found myself in a situation where I have since had to fight more often than not, to do what I thought was the right thing to do.  I am exhausted from trying to make it work, exhausted from fighting and having to explain myself on a daily basis.  I am heartbroken.  I gave freely of my time, money and my soul….because I truly believed if I held on long enough and did the right thing long enough, it would make a difference.  After 10 years I believe the naysayers I refused to listen to, they are right.  I find myself heartbroken, lost and financially ruined.  I have so much anger in my heart about this.  I am angry beyond words.  No, no one owes me anything.  No, there were no guarantees.  Going into it I only saw the difference I could make.  I didn’t care about the cost.  I truly believed that if I did the right thing long enough, things would turn around.  I don’t understand how evil, vile and self absorbed people and their actions are rewarded and even encouraged.  I don’t understand why someone who doesn’t just talk about doing the right thing but actually does it year after year without asking for anything from anyone-I don’t understand why it isn’t enough.  I am incredibly lost at the moment.  I am sure I am not the only person who has had this experience.  If this is you, my heart hurts for you.  It is a dark day when you realize that your best is never going to be enough.

    #369041
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tex:

    You are correct, you are not the only one who has had this experience.

    “About 10 years ago, I found myself in a situation where I have since had to fight more often than not, to do what I thought was the right thing to do”- I too fought to do what I thought was the right thing to do… only to eventually find out that what I thought was the right thing to do- was the wrong thing to do.

    When we believe so strongly that something is the right thing to do, we don’t consider that it may not be the right thing to do after all.

    “I gave freely of my time,  money and my soul… because I truly believed if I held on long enough and did the right thing long enough, it would make a difference.. things would turn around”- if you hold on to the wrong thing long enough, it is still the wrong thing to hold on to.

    Let’s say the right thing to do is to be dedicated to one’s spouse,  but in the context of having a spouse who is not dedicated to you on an ongoing basis, a spouse who repeatedly disrespects you-  ongoing dedication to a spouse, in this context, is the wrong thing to do.

    “It is a dark day when you realize that your best is never going to be enough”- it is a dark day, but it is also a freeing day when you realize that it is time to stop chasing the wrong thing/ to stop hoping for the wrong person, to let go.

    Your anger is understandable, your frustration over lost time, money and emotional resources is understandable. I know this anger and frustration. But I also know the freedom that results when you have enough of engaging in misguided best efforts.

    I hope to read more from you.

    anita

    #369075
    nycartist
    Participant

    Dear Tex,

    I feel for you. I feel very similar to you. I’m always the friend who reaches out, who helps, who comforts, who is reliable, who is loyal. I am the family member who is the peacemaker, the caregiver, the one who tries to bring people together when everyone is absorbed in their own lives. I am a good neighbor, a community organizer, etc. Not to toot my own horn, but I feel that I put in so much effort with EVERYONE, and yet when I’m down, I don’t see those same people reaching out to check on me. It’s an incredibly disappointing and isolating feeling.  Sometimes I just want to shout from the rooftops to everyone I know that they need to give a crap!!!

    I recently learned in therapy 2 things that may help you too. The first is if you’re doing something kind with the expectation that you get something back, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s a nice concept that the love you take is equal to the love you make, but it’s not always so. We must give freely without any expectation of returns, and let the act of giving bring us joy. The expectation is what leads to the suffering.

    The second thing I learned is that it can be exhausting to always be “that person” for everyone else. When you give away too much of yourself, you sometimes have nothing left for you. Make sure you’re taking care of your own needs before you give everything else away. You say that you’re now heartbroken and financially ruined. I often give too much of myself, but I’m working to make sure now that my cup is always full before filling others’ cups. It’s not easy to change this habit, but it is an act of self love and preservation.

    I hope this helps in some way. Sending good vibes to you, Tex.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by nycartist.
    #369092
    Tex
    Participant

    Thank you Anita and NYCArtist.  I appreciate both of you.   And I agree wholeheartedly with all you have said.  I have made it my mission in life to always see the positive in all situations and that’s why this situation has really gotten to me.  I have lost my faith as a result.  I don’t ask for recognition or want anything in return for what I do.    The little guys I help cannot repay me.  They were never meant to.   I take care of cats that are abandoned,  born wild, etc..   I have seen so much suffering and don’t understand why innocent lives suffer.  I do my best but no amount of time, efforts or money fixes it.  I am burned out and heartbroken.   My husband is tired of spending money on something that doesn’t pay back.  I understand that.  I work and all my money goes to their food, meds, etc.  We fight about them.  It isn’t fair to my husband.  I don’t mind giving up things if it eases suffering but he doesn’t see it that way.  He isn’t wrong, just differing opinions.   I have many cats that I will have to have put down because they have no where to go.  I am too burned out and tired of fighting with my husband about wasting money.   My heart is broken.   Mostly because I have given up on them.  I have to live with knowing I gave up.  I was never the person who looked upon a situation and would say “isn’t that just awful ”  and walk away thinking that such acknowledgement was a form of help.   I have always done what I could where I was with what I had.  It made me happy.   I am now so lost.  I am desperately trying to find the good in this situation.

    #369102
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tex:

    I will read your recent post and reply when I am back to the computer in about 12 hours from now.

    anita

    #369171
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tex:

    In your first post, you wrote: “About 10 years ago I found myself in a situation where I have since had to fight more than not, to do what I thought was the right thing to do. I am exhausted .. from fighting and having to explain myself on a daily  basis… It is a dark  day when you realize that your best is never going to be enough”.

    Your second post explains that what you referred to as “the right thing to do” is to “take care of cats that are abandoned, born wild, etc… I work and all my money goes to their food, meds, etc… I have many cats”.

    The fighting you mentioned in your first post is the fighting with your husband about spending so much money on the cats that it resulted in your financial ruin: “My husband is tired of spending money.. I am too burned out and tired of fighting with my husband about wasting money… I find myself heartbroken, lost and financially ruined”.

    The dark day you mentioned in your first post is this: “I have many cats that I will have to have put down because they have no where to go… My heart is broken… I am so lost. I am desperately trying to find the good in this situation”.

    My input today: I understand your heartache, how badly you feel about the suffering of cats and the thought of putting down any of your cats.

    I will now point to the bigger picture because I think that’s where hope is. The bigger picture:

    (1) “It  isn’t fair to my husband.. He isn’t wrong”- it is not wrong of him to be concerned with the financial ruin of the two of you. I imagine that he is concerned about becoming even more financially ruined because there are always more cats that need to be rescued. Think of his and your financial well-being: if the two of you are homeless.. what could you possibly help abandoned cats?

    (2) You personally know the cats who may be put down, and it breaks your heart. But there are millions of cats, dogs and other animals that are put down all over the world as I am typing these words. There are millions of animals and people who are suffering as I am typing these words. You are suffering too. Your husband is suffering.

    What can you do to reduce suffering:

    – Have empathy for yourself, as much empathy for yourself as you have for your cats and express this empathy by taking good care of yourself.

    – Have empathy for your husband and take good care of each other.

    – Consider volunteering in an animal shelter (or in a human shelter, such that shelter abused women, for example).

    – Consider joining or donating (a limited amount of money) to a charity organization that benefits animals or humans.

    – Consider animal right activism. I don’t know much about it, but just came across an animal right activist online, Elisa Aaltola, who wrote a book called Animal Suffering: Philosophy and Culture. The book explores “animal suffering… compassion.. animal ethics.. At its center is the pivotal question: What is he moral significance of animal suffering?” (www. palgrave. com).

    anita

     

    #369198
    Tex
    Participant

    Anita everything you have said makes sense.   And I will look into the book.  Thank you for taking the time to help me sort through this very painful situation.

    #369203
    anita
    Participant

    You are welcome, Tex. Feel free to post again on this topic or on any other topic.

    anita

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