Lose the Mother Teresa syndrome

As healers of the world, we want to take care of everything and everyone and make it better. But sometimes, we neglect to take care of ourselves. We think that makes us good people and good healers. We are so selfless. Look at Mother Teresa! She gave up all conveniences and even nice fashion just to dedicate herself to help others. There’s too much giving out and not enough receiving. I’m noticing this syndrome lately in myself, my loved ones, and even in other healers.

The first symptom you are deep in the syndrome? Resentment. You’ll hear that inner little voice saying, “Hey, what about me?” It’s not selfish to consider yourself in the equation. In fact, the word “selfish” needs to leave the dictionary for healer types. There needs to be balance and we are too on the other end of the spectrum! I am learning that the Universe isn’t withholding all that I need, I’m just replaying my childhood learned syndrome.

Other symptoms of this dreaded disease:

  1. Giving away what you love. One habit from childhood that rears its head: I’ll buy a book or something I like and think I need to give it away to someone else. Afterall, Mother Teresa would have been this selfless. But what message did I get behind this belief? Hmmm, I don’t deserve but someone else does? I remember being down to having $10 in my pocket and spending it all on my former daughter for clothes. That’s what a good mother does. But she didn’t appreciate the sacrifice and in fact, complained the clothes I bought weren’t good enough. Your environment will reinforce the faulty message that you aren’t important.
  2. Or, I will buy myself some kind of cool book or toy and don’t have enough time to get to it. Hmmm. Not worth the time?
  3. Stop yourself if you ever hear yourself say, “No, I’m okay. I don’t need that,” when others offer to give to you. It’s not graciousness, it’s denying.
  4. Ask for help. Ask for support. Ask for what you need. Maybe behind not asking is in the past or in childhood you asked for what you needed and you weren’t heard, or worse, you weren’t priority. Do it differently this time around. And if others don’t hear your pleas now? Surround yourself with new players who do! The players were faulty.
  5. You will notice your needs are not being met. You are down to your last dollar, or you feel alone and emotionally unsupported, or you’re forgotten in some way.
  6. I always know I’m deep in the syndrome when I hear myself cry out, “Is this enough yet? Did I do enough?” What’s your inner cry that points your knee deep in it?

So, how do you get heal the syndrome?

Be “selfish” for a little while. Take really good care of yourself. Draw a bath. Read your favorite book. Reward yourself now. Be there for yourself like you would a friend. Believe in yourself and your talents & see yourself, even though others might not have.

And get angry! Your needs do need to be met! It’s not entitlement or because you are more special than anyone else. It’s that you are just as special as everyone else and deserve the same good things in life. What you were taught early on was the Mother Teresa syndrome.

There’s only one Mother Teresa and it works for her, not for anyone else.

To read more posts visit my new website’s Sensitive Artist blog here. and do check out my Help! I’m Sensitive book series there.



  1. GREAT article… I am dis-eased… I vow to cure myself NOW! I also sent it to a comrade in misery, with special instructions to pay attention to #2

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