I’m a people pleaser by nature, I used to think that was the way we all need to live, give of ourselves, put others first, always forgive, try to forget, don’t hold a grudge, walk a mile in their shoes, kill them with kindness, you get back what you give.
“When you leave this earth you will be remembered for how you lived your life, not what you have in it or what you did for yourself.” I grew up hearing all those quotes from my Mother, I watched her live by those words
It was instilled in my head it was the ” Mother Theresa , Christian, good way to live.”
And so…somehow in all that talk I learned that I was of less importance in this world than everyone else, that I should somehow sacrifice myself to make the lives of others better.
And so I lived that way of life for many years, I stayed in a bad marriage for 17 years because I thought his life and the happiness of his family was more important than mine. I stayed entangled in bad friendships because of loyalty and time, because I was supposed to be the bigger person, I was not allowed to judge. I sacrificed all of me for my children.
Sounds like a good person doesn’t it?
You know what you end up with when you marry such a giver? You end up with an empty shell that has given everything away and has kept nothing for herself.
By teaching my children to live this way, I was teaching them that everyone else came first, that they mattered LAST in their lives. ( What a horrible lesson to teach my kids). And only when I started keeping a little reserve for myself as the kids got older do I feel I was truly a good parent.
There is something about reaching mid-life that changes you in many ways, It is the age when all your life lessons collide with this new person that cares less of what people think about them, that realizes that we are not going to please everyone EVER, that sacrificing ourselves, in the end sacrifices everyone we love and are trying to help because it empty’s us of all our goodness.
I wish I could go back and talk to my younger self and tell her : it is okay to put yourself first, no it is absolutely necessary to put yourself first – You are all you have, when you give all of you away, you have nothing left for anyone.
The answer is Balance, we all need it, we all deserve it, we all must find a way to keep it for ourselves.
I still believe in all those core values my Mother taught me, but I believe it is important to pick the people you share your good stuff with, and not waste it on those that will suck the life out of you .
Put energy in to those that give you back the same energy, give love to those that will re-fuel you with love, treat yourself better than you treat ANYONE else and you will have an abundance of everything good to give back . Pick the people you spend your energy on wisely, there will always be those that are just out to take from you and will drain you, but trust me there are people out there that will give you back as much as you give, choose them.
I don’t feel like I OWE anyone anymore, I choose the people I spend my time and love on, and I choose them wisely, sure there are times I catch myself giving it away to someone who doesn’t deserve it, but I have gotten to a point where I can spot that within myself now, I listen to my gut, I respond to the negative feelings I get in my body, I don’t ignore the signs.
All the love I give now is the best of my love, because I am not spreading it so thin , because I am getting re-fueled, because for the first time in my life I can say ” I am the most important person in my life , I come first and I am in control of my life , my future, my well-being.
Damn, I love getting older.
It’s a ticket we have earned to stop apologizing for Loving and putting ourselves first.