So let’s rewind this with me.
You are a pure and soft-hearted person that people are lucky to have because the adjective selfish has always had a negative connotation for you. It would be one of your worst nightmares to own that title. So you practice everything in order to avoid the term. You think about people before you think about yourself. It’s you before me and not me before you. Always.
You are a firm believer of Katherine Henson’s popular quote “Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness.” You believe kindness is the mightiest weapon. You are super sensitive to sound, smell, and the texture of fabrics, and you also probably cry a river when the neighbor’s dog that you never even played with suddenly dies.
Psychology will perfectly describe people like you as an HSP—a Highly Sensitive Person. But your friends often prefer calling you a snowflake and say that it is just banter.
In fact, most people who know you know this fact about you.
You are that girl of the group who will empty your pocket for a homeless person who tells you he has nothing to eat without checking whether he will really spend that money on food or drugs as you turn your back. You are that pure soul who still runs to see that childhood friend on the first day that her flight lands, even when she never made the same effort to come and see you. You are that person who spares tickets for your graduation ceremony for the best friend who casually “forgets” to invite you to her engagement. You are that individual who doesn’t say a thing and wails softly in a corner when your cousin humiliates you in front of a crowd simply because she wanted coffee but you brought her tea. Because blood is blood after all, right? Because she is older and you were taught to love and respect someone who you grew up with, right?
And that partner, the one who makes you do all his household chores while you are just the girlfriend and yet shows zero respect for you in front of his friends? You say nothing and let it be. Because in a relationship, one should be the dominant and the other should be the subservient. And the subservient is often the woman. And the woman is you. Aren’t you guilty of this?
Come on. Aren’t you tired yet? Aren’t you tired of picking people who do not hesitate to twist a dagger in you? Aren’t you exhausted from being there for people who forget that you need them too? Aren’t you done with choosing people instead of choosing yourself?
I am 100% convinced that when Katherine Henson wrote that quote, she did not mean it the way you practice it. Being kind does not mean putting up with everyone’s bullshit. Being loving does not mean ignoring all the red flags and doing everything you can just because you love them. Having a golden heart does not mean that you stay mute and do not utter a sound when someone is clearly taking advantage of you and your soft nature. If no one has told you, that’s self-harm too.
It is high time that you destroy the ideology that you become a bad person if you open your mouth when they humiliate, if you show them the mirror to tell them how horribly they behave, if you simply just defend yourself and walk away from what’s toxic to your health.
So what if that fake friend or that toxic ex “feels bad” if you walk away? They should indeed feel bad for what they are doing to you. It isn’t your place to feel bad for them when they do not pity you a single bit nor respect what you provide to their life.
When you do not say a thing when people treat you badly, you do two things: You give them the permission to continue treating you like shit and you let them live in the illusion that this is the right way to treat people, and thus they will repeat the same behavior towards someone else.
So, walk away when you have had enough. Let your absence speak what your presence could not.
Yell your hurt feelings in their face and burn that bridge. Burn that toxic relationship.
Remind yourself every day that it is okay to pick yourself. It is okay to be selfish sometimes. It is okay to put me before you.
And most importantly, before being kind to others, remember to be kind to yourself.