I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to save people. I’ve spent forever going back and forth, trusting, not trusting, jumping the gun and trusting again, giving second, third, fourth, fifth, millionth chances. And to be honest? I wasted so much of my time. I’m not going to make this entirely negative, as it’s taught me things. It’s taught me things about people, and it’s taught me things about myself. It’s taught me about friendship, love, family, and what to do when you feel like you’re at absolutely rock bottom.
For the longest time, I never made it a personal goal but I would attract the “strays” as my mother used to call them. I would attract the people that needed help and I wouldn’t run. I would take them home with me and I would introduce them to my mother, who in turn would make them cookies or dinner or anything that they wanted and treat them just like family. I guess that’s where I got it from. I would work on this with her. I would stand in the kitchen with this new person of the week and with my mother and we would make cookies and talk to them about their lives. Most of the time we learned that the people that I brought home with me? Well, their lives weren’t the best. Their lives weren’t very great or they had some kind of mental issue where they decided that their life was awful. In a lot of cases, the reality of this was just that their parents were super strict and mine well. Mine never were super strict with me. I’m thankful for that. I actually got to experience high school and go into college semi-prepared for what was going to hit me, but that’s not the point of this article.
My therapist, years down the road was trying to pinpoint my trust issues. A lot of them came down to these “strays”. They would come down to the fact that I felt like I couldn’t trust anyone because I constantly felt like I was getting taken advantage of. I’ve been that person. You’ve been that person. We’ve all been that person. When you want to have a good heart and you want to take care of everyone you meet, it’s hard not to get taken advantage of. I also found myself very angry. Very, very angry. I found myself bitter. I found myself wanting to scream, cry, throw things at everyone, and just go insane. It wasn’t because they took advantage of me, it was because they took advantage of my mother. My mom is one of the most warm-hearted, loving people in the universe and these people took advantage of her.
I learned though that I’m a good person. I’m a loving person, I’m a sweet, kind person. I learned that I need to stand up for myself and face my fears. I learned that I need to stand up for those that I love and that not everyone can be “saved.” Some of the people that need to be “saved” are people that are in that position for good reason. They’re in that position because they put themselves right there. They’re in that position because they don’t have the same kind of love as everyone else. They’re in that position because they didn’t fight, they didn’t stand up for themselves, and they don’t love themselves. I learned that you can’t love someone that won’t love themselves. I learned that you can’t love someone that won’t even try. I learned that you can’t love someone that doesn’t love you back, no matter how much time and effort you put into them. I learned that sometimes, it’s okay to walk away from someone. I learned that I’m worth more than I thought I was, and I’m more capable than I thought I was. I learned that I’m worth this. I’m worth loving. I learned that I was only trying to save people, and give them love because I thought that I didn’t deserve the love. I thought that I was unworthy of it. I thought that I needed to show someone else love before I could love myself, and I had it all backward. Through seeing this, and looking at these slightly damaged, not broken people, I learned that I needed to save myself. I needed to love myself.
Now that’s what I do. I save myself. I love myself. I put myself first because I can’t do anything for anyone else unless I’m in a good standing. And I do, I do love myself. For the first time in my life, at 28 years old, I can say that I love the person that I am. That I love myself.