Women and martyrdom (and why we need to stop).

Beth Bridges

Women have long since derived satisfaction from doing things for others.

We feel pleased when we please others. We like to be selfless.

But in the pursuit of making sure every single person is ok, we have to be very careful not to become stuck in the grips of martyrdom and resentment.

Because, this happens very easily, and it takes us straight out of the joy of service, and snowballs us right into exhaustion, burnout, overwhelm and hormonal imbalance.

When life starts to feel not-so-great, we must stop ourselves and question our motives.

Are we doing so much for other people because are cup is overflowing and we genuinely have so much to give?

Or, on the contrary, are we doing so much for other people because that’s what we’ve always learnt that we ‘should’ do?
Because that’s been ingrained into us from the youngest of ages?
Because we want to be liked?
Because we are afraid of losing our ‘perfect woman’ status?

A little while ago, when I decided I didn’t want to be exhausted anymore, I examined why I found it so hard to step back – even when my body, mind and soul were very much begging me to. To focus on myself as #1 (rather than #5 or #10).

In my reflections, I realised that my service to others (and don’t we ALL serve others to so many degrees) was tainted, when it wasn’t fuelled by my own vitality, energy, wellness. 

In fact, when my service to others is being fuelled by ‘shoulds’, outdated expectations of the role of a woman, the fear of being disliked, and the desire to excessively please … I believe I am not really being of service at all.

I don’t want the things I do for other people – whether it be in my business or personal life – to be clouded by resentment.

I don’t want to ignore my own innate certainty of my personal boundaries.

And I no longer want to compare my own boundaries to anyone else’s, and believe that I’m ‘weak’ or ‘too sensitive’ because I don’t want to take on as much as I see other people doing.

I don’t want my service to the world to be driven by a sense of martyrdom.

You don’t have to be a martyr, to be a good person. You don’t have to over-extend yourself, time and time again, to prove your worth.

You are already worthy. 

And the only reason we allow ourselves to get to a point of sheer, drop-dead exhaustion, is because we don’t inherently believe this. 

We believe we have to prove our worth by doing. Doing, doing, doing. There’s always so much more to do. 

But it’s safe to just be, too. It’s safe to refill your cup. It’s safe to get your energy back (however long it takes, and if it’s been many years of relentless service and stress for you, then it may take a long time).

You are worthy when you are doing nothing.
You are worthy when you are prioritising yourself.
You are worthy simply because you exist.

It’s amazing to be of service – but don’t confuse service with martyrdom.

You offer the world your GREATEST service when you are not falling to pieces.

So if you know this is you, be honest with yourself … and go and start the process of putting yourself back together. Whatever it takes.

Deep down, you know what you need to do (or not do), for this to happen. Go forth and trust that your world will not fall apart, when you give yourself what you really need.

If you need my help, you know where I am.

All love –


Beth x


Naturopath / Women’s Life Coach // Perth, Australia / Skype /


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And, if you loved this blog, you may also love:

// 17 things I wish every woman knew.

// Why your hormones can’t balance.

// How to look after yourself when you’re a sensitive and introverted soul.

// Give back to your adrenals.

// ‘It just is’ – the mantra that will get you through anything.



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