Time To Take Care Of Me.

Selfish Or Self-Care?

"Without your own health, your own happiness, and your own stability, you have nothing."

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I feel like the past three years of my life have been filled with highs and lows. The landscape didn't seem to include many stable plantains, but instead jagged spurts of vertical mountains and dangerously low valleys. The last three years have knocked me down, hard. They have made me second guess my decisions and reconsider my dreams, but mostly, they have taught me things that will change my life for the better.

I have learned that time is the most valuable thing we own and therefore being present is the best way to have satisfaction. Shortly after I reprioritized the importance of money to instead be on people and experiences. I saw that being rich doesn't fix things. I realized that hyper-focusing on the external only abandons the internal - and that appearance fades. Nurturing the soul is most important. I learned that life is too short for "I wish" or "I should have." And, I have discovered that without your own health, happiness, and stability, you have nothing.

I learned that it's okay to look inside. That there is a distinct difference between being "selfish" and prioritizing "selfcare". The two can be intertwined, confusing and capable of stirring up a whole lot of trouble, but identifying between them is a necessary battle to achieve self-empowerment and discovery. If you're like me and pleasing others seems to run in your blood - second nature, done without hesitation, sometimes to a fault - it is crucial. Especially, when taking care of others leads to hurting yourself.

I don't think I knew how much this habit had affected me until it had done its fair share of damage. I had given up my own interests, prioritized the desires of those around me, and lost sight of the future I wanted in pursuit of "not rocking the boat." I had had too many crashes and I wasn't going to be responsible for another. And so, I became a sponge of information and others dreams, absorbing the lives I saw and slowly squeezing out the one I owned. I was petrified of being selfish and because of it, took things too far.

Come college, the drift was amplified. I saw my tendency lead to neglect and not knowing who I was, grabbed anything I could. I wanted people to like me, I hated conflict, I was desperate to be "happy" and I looked for the easy way out. Yet still, I got tired of my people pleasing self and I chose instead to numb the issue at hand. I used to be a follower unfulfilled, I didn't know another way.

It was only a matter of time. I needed to learn how to lead myself and taking charge wasn't going to be easy, but it had to happen.

Through the process I found myself admitting to a lot of self-destruction. I had the power to do things differently, but I either didn't see it or didn't do it. Coming to terms with my passive personality allowed me to go about things in a new way.

Living your life for others, dimming your light for fear of rejection or hiding "you" to make someone else "happier" won't get you very far. And sure, there is a level of respect that any good friend should possess, but also a fine line between compassion for others and ignoring personal content. Acknowledging what I deserved changed my life - I know it can change other people's, too.

Typically the fear of disappointment and lack of acceptance affects decision making. It becomes such a powerful, learned instinct that forces a gap between someone and their inner peace. I lost touch with who I was and once I understood, saw that I forgot, I was desperate to remember. From this point on it became a process of reintroduction and for that, I can not be more grateful.

I began to learn again, exactly who I hoped to be. I saw the things that brought me raw joy and the things I could live without. I figured out what made me mad and how to handle it. I got sad, really sad, but it showed me the people that I love, and that they too can hurt me. Most of all, I was able to appropriately take care of myself. Reiterating that my self-respect will no longer be ignored in fear of "selfishness." If others occupy my attention, I deserve it too.

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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What It's Like To Hate Your Reflection When No One Thinks You Should

"OH MY GOSH! You are way too skinny to even think anything is wrong with you!"

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I honestly have spent a lot of time working to love myself, as we all should. It is a task that requires a lot of effort on a frequent basis because I will refuse to look at my body for weeks on end, knowing it is easier to pretend everything under my sweatshirt is as its' supposed to be.

But sometimes, a lot of times really, it is so hard to practice self-love when it comes to my body. I am a five foot something female and I have always struggled with maintaining a healthy weight. It mostly falls under 100 pounds, I know a lot of people hate me for even trying to complain about being so skinny but at some point, skinny is also unhealthy.

Please try and remember that the next time you slam down your skinny friend for complaining about something with their body, I would like to be able to look in the mirror and not see every single rib, skin, and bone.

It can be kinda tough, I am not very tall and weigh less than a fifth grader. That kinda sucks, could you imagine still being the exact height and weight from when you were in the prime of your elementary school years?

Who would want that? Do you understand how easily I could be pushed over by a teenager who is younger than me? So easily. The wind nearly knocks me over if it catches me off guard.

But, that is what makes me struggle so much with being empathetic with my body or crave a want to be proud of the skin and flesh that I am. I see pointy elbows, jutted out collarbones, and to me, that is pathetic and sad. But I am learning every day to be kinder to myself because it is worth it to give myself credit for the parts of my body that I do look at.

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