There seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life, and quite frankly it’s a huge misconception.
From the time that I was little I was conditioned to believe that although I am important, sometimes the needs of others were more so. I don’t think that my family did this intentionally, but when it came down to whose feelings were more important between me and anyone older than me, “respecting my elders” was always more important. At the end of the day no matter who it is, it was “respectful” to let others be more right and have more of a say than myself. I was taught to bite my tongue, no matter how abusive or intense it got.
As I got older this theme started happening in my intimate relationships as well as my other family members.
This is what I have learned:
It’s important to respect everyone especially people older than you, but when it comes down to it, you have to care about yourself more than you care about anyone or anything else.
It is you who has to sit with your met or unmet needs. It is you who has to work through your own inner turmoil at the end of the day. It’s you who has to navigate your trauma and hurt feelings. It’s you who feels violated when you let people use you. It’s you who feels guilty when you do something you really don’t want to do. You are the one that has to face your feelings, reality, and choices.
You cannot unconditionally love others when you deny the love you have for yourself. You cannot be present with anyone when you refuse to sit with yourself and your needs.
Care about others, but care about yourself more.
You have to do what feels good for you. You have to do what feels natural and right for your own life, even if it disrupts others. You have to create your boundaries around what you need rather than what others want.
When we can get into a habit of prioritizing ourselves to the point that it feels natural, we can give to others from a full cup. When we get into a habit of selflessly acknowledging the needs of others but not making them be more important than our own, we can get to a place of wholeness. When we know how to carry ourselves in a way where we feel full, we can really commit to loving others.
Care about others, but care about yourself more. Always.