Photo by Vinh Tran

By Vinh Tran

I’d like to consider myself as a selfless person, to an extent where I constantly find myself too available for whoever needs me. Double booking, tight schedules, and mental exhaustion–however, I’d prefer this than being too far closed off from everybody. But what’s the last checkpoint to where instead of being generous with your time, the idea of being an altruistic friend becomes an obsession with being needed? There’s a fine line between sacrifice and delusion.

That’s where I often see myself, in that middle ground or limbo between the total destruction of self. Even right now, one of my friends asked me to take their pictures last minute and I still said yes. Keep in mind that I don’t have any film, my lenses are due for a cleaning, and I’m still in the process of scanning and developing 5 other rolls by the end of the week. So then, why? Why am I finding myself being too selfless for my own good? Why do I have this constant need to be wanted? It honestly feels like I’m craving this idea that people rely on me and that I can be a dependable person someone can always turn to. 

But that’s all wishful thinking and this ideal person I’m envisioning doesn’t exist and will probably never come to fruition. It’s an asinine idea to want and strive for, but why even now, conscious of how delusional it sounds, I’m still doing it? Honestly, I never have the complete answers to the questions I ask myself, who else can even give me the answers anyhow. I should be able to figure this all out on my own. But I guess I’ve been so preoccupied with other people that it’s become difficult to deal with my own issues. 

Spreading yourself too thin doesn’t seem bad at times though. If you just rearrange the circumstances a bit, you can definitely find ways to reframe the idea of being excessively generous with your time. 

“I’m just really into being productive!” 

“I like to spend my free time making other people happy.”

“I have a compulsive obsession with being a dependable friend to the point where I can’t say no to others even if it kills me.”

At the end of the day, you have to reframe your state of mind and put the focus on yourself once in a while. Now I’m not saying to completely shut yourself out of lending a hand, but maybe divert some of that energy you spend on others towards yourself. Right now, it’s a bit difficult to do that because I’ve been so accustomed to saying yes to all of my friends. I haven’t really spent a day to myself and diverted a whole 24 hours just for me. But I guess the best time to start is now. The clock’s ticking, make it worth your while. 


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