Letter #3 Primum non nocere

Primum non nocere, the origin of this Latin saying is unknown, but for many centuries it represents the main concept of philosophy of medicine and medical practice. The Hippocratic Oath includes the promise to, first and foremost, “abstain from doing harm.”  Growing up as a doctor’s daughter, you heard this expression many times in your house.

But you never knew that one day this concept would become one of the main principles in your relationships with others, your health and your career. It would become a core of your philosophic outlook, which victoriously ended your lifelong internal battle with yourself and let’s focus on your serenity and wellbeing.

For many years you were convinced that the best, most fulfilling and meaningful way to live your life was to be helpful and useful to others. You were always proud of your reputation among your true friends as one of the nicest girls, someone with “no selfish bone in her body.” Among Russians, loyalty and endless dedication to friends and family are not just well-known qualities; they are core aspects of ourselves, deeply embedded in our hearts since birth.”

“So, what’s wrong with being loyal and helpful?” you might ask.  “Mother Teresa will always be remembered for her selfless act of caring for others.”  You are absolutely right; she was a remarkable woman.  And it is a true blessing to have trusted friends or partners, people who never betray you, who are always there for you—friends for life, as we call them.

Your biggest problem throughout your life was that you were a people pleaser. You never cared about your own wellbeing more than you cared about others.

When your were in a relationship, the only thought occupying your mind was how to make that other person happy. His life, his busy schedule, his habits and interests were your biggest priorities. His wish was literally your command. Your self-esteem was lower than the “snake’s -eye level”, and the only person who could not see that was You. You were just proud to be “the best girlfriend.” 

Most of your college friends didn’t keep in close touch with one another, even those who live in the same town. One time you convinced yourself that your main purpose in life was to bring my close college buddies together; therefore you should fly across the ocean and organize “long time no see” gatherings, trying to fill the gaps in their communications.  Don’t get me wrong, all of your friends were happy to see you, but were they thrilled to see one another? Meh… You were always the driver, the “locomotive,” the “Energizer Bunny” who would keep the remaining connections alive. tashie and college friends

Funniest thing…You loved giving presents more than you liked receiving them.  You always get that tingling excited sensation, anticipating the OTHER person’s reaction when they get your gifts. You weren’t trying to bribe anybody or buy their friendship; You were simply getting “high” on their happiness.  For many years, you bought gifts and meals that you couldn’t afford, you gave away my own possessions that you could have used myself, you used your vacation time to fly thousands of miles to see someone, you did homework for other students even when they never asked for help…and your only drive was to please other people.

You became an ENABLER.

Involuntarily, you would get dragged into every friend’s drama- One was unhappy with her hairstylist prices, and demanded you to call back in the middle of your workday, because she was upset. She honestly expected you to call that hairstylist and argue about her pricing. 

You would always be pulled in whenever your friends got into arguments. Bitching about other people’s imperfections is fun only once; doing it over and over drove you absolutely insane, especially if the topic hadn’t changed since the last venting session. 

You would buy expensive shoes and clothing, trying not to look different from my friends. Once a year you would send your mother on at least one (last year she got two) international trip. Frankly, though, out of all the people you had taken care of in your life; she deserves every dime and every second of your time. mom in greece

On the façade, you were a fearless “Russian pit bull” who would tear anyone apart in defending her friends and family, but inside your heart you were suffering from a classic case of “Stockholm syndrome,” protecting every person you loved and cared for.  And any time a relationship or business adventure failed, you would look up at the sky and ask the same question—WHY ME?

According to the laws of attraction, your thoughts attract the same energy you express. Positive thoughts bring happiness, and negativity brings losers into your life because “misery loves company.” Your case was completely the opposite. You were the “Sun” (hypothetically speaking) shining down on others with rays of unconditional love and support, and all you were getting back was their drama and jealousy.  The more you were giving out, the less you were getting back in. The law of attraction math clearly didn’t work for you.

You slowly started noticing that things change when you invest more time and money in yourself first, before putting on your Superwoman costume and running out to “save the world.” If you get your things done first, you would feel better doing things for others. If you made your own plans to go somewhere without relying on others, no one can cancel your trip and disappoint you. To “be kind to yourself” became your number one goal.

But.. On the morning of January 3rd, 2016 you found yourself in tears, texting to your dear friend about everyone who didn’t appreciate your generosity and your undivided attention.  Your mind became crystal clear when he simply said, “Stop running around for everybody, don’t you have your own things to do?” And I think he also called you a “bone head” for crying over others.  Gotta love those New Yorkers…

That day you said to yourself: 

Be kind to yourself, silly… Remember??

Run from the negativity and drama; concentrate on your own life first.  This life is indeed beautiful, and you are a lucky girl to have a loving family, wonderful co-workers and supporting managers.  You love what you do and you’re darn good at it.  You live in the greatest country in the world.  You are a child of two super powerful “parents” (the U.S. and Russia).  You are strong and smart, funny and kind…

Stop trying solving everyone else’s problems. Clean your house first.They can figure their own $hit out.

Accept the fact that not everyone will always like you.  (I know this one was hard for you.) Being likable doesn’t mean being a pushover. Being considerate is acceptable; letting people take advantage of your kindness is not.

Being assertive and speaking openly about things that matter is welcomed by honest and intelligent people. Don’t be afraid to offend fools—they will rain on your parade no matter what you say or do.

Primum non nocere. Another way to explain it is:  “It may be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing more harm than good.”i-741513_640

If your life is seems meaningless without other people’s affirmation, if your love to please others is doing more harm than good, please stop hurting yourself any further.  Be kind and treat yourself with love, respect and dignity.  You matter. Learn it now, my darling, when you are just 24. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *