For the majority of my life, I was a very meek and shy person. I let other people walk all over me and I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way. I was a wallflower. Essentially, I became that way due to how I was raised— in a chaotic and abusive household where I was better off staying out of my angry father’s rage path. I love my father and I understand he didn’t know any better, but the way he treated me as a child was very damaging to my self-esteem. I was taught to be seen and not heard, to muffle my voice, and to let other people stand out ahead of me. I was subconsciously afraid that if I stood out, I could get hurt.
We all undergo some sort of trauma during childhood, and how we grow up into an adult mirrors the way we were raised, unless we make an active effort to change it. As I began upon a journey of healing and doing inner work, I started to realize the ways in which I hid myself that allowed other people to thrive whereas I was stuck in survival mode. In order to grow up fully, I had to learn how to toughen up— to become a savage. To not let other people walk all over me.
Part of growing up and taking care of yourself is to actually put your own needs and feelings over those of others. I was raised, partially due to being female, partially due to my own background and traumas, to take care of others over myself. I was emotionally rewarded by those around me, but on a more practical level, I was not doing myself any favors. I got trapped in jobs and relationships where I was mistreated and abused, and as a result, I was very unhappy and not getting very far in life. I began to mistreat and abuse others. And I learned that the best way to do things is not to retaliate against the world, as I was doing when I was less self-aware, but to take care of yourself first, at all costs. To do that, sometimes you have to be a bit of a savage.
Other people will ask you for favors that you might not feel like doing. They might make you feel bad about it. But if it is not in your own best interest, you have no obligation to do so. Of course, you can make a lot of enemies this way— people will not understand you and you might be a bit of a lone wolf. But you will also start to see that the people who matter will love you no matter what. When you start to become a bit more of a savage, meaning that you don’t let others take advantage of you, you protect yourself, and you see that people will actually begin to respect you more. You begin to become more attractive to others because you have confidence— something many people lack.
It took me many years to finally learn this lesson— to protect myself rather than to let others take advantage of me, and it was a hard one because I had been taken advantage of for so many years without even realizing it. But when you start to let go so much of what other people think and you begin to live from an authentic place of being centered in your own heart and intuition, you will see that other people will actually be inspired by you.