I think we all start off our young adult life with this idea, of what we want our life and future to hold as an adult. This includes more than just our dreams, but who we are going to become, the career we want, how many children, if any; and so on. This entire illusion of the future and what we hope it holds for us. Even with our hopes and dreams mapped out, life just laughs at us as it unfolds and things just happen. We either hit the mark or we don’t… and often we don’t.
Have you ever asked yourself when is enough an enough? What about, how did I get here or who have I become? When did I stop loving myself? Well I can tell you I have. I have looked myself in the mirror and asked those very questions. I wondered who this woman was, that I was looking at in the mirror. There was a time that I hated who I had become and felt simply lost. I felt like I had no idea who this woman was in the reflection looking back at me. She was fragile, had no gumption, no ambition, and very low self-esteem.
From the time I was old enough to understand the meanings of family, encouragement, financial security, and opportunities; I was determined to have them. Then of course life happened. What can I say, I was young and naïve; like most who fall in love and marry young. I loved him more than myself, his needs before my own, his wants and dreams before mine, his everything; before my anything. I built my life around him. The entire time losing myself more and more as the days turned into years. At some point I found myself looking in the mirror asking myself where I went. I had allowed this and done this to myself by putting him before me over and over. Not only did I lose myself but, I also found myself alone. At the time I was still married but, never the less, I was alone both emotionally and physically. It took me six years before I learned to put myself first. During these six years… oh my, the worst of the worst happened to me. I lost a child, diagnosed with an uncommon blood disorder and a syndrome (of course it just had to be rare… because it took years before I was correctly diagnosed), and cancer.
During these years I learned so much about myself. I had finally learned that enough was enough. I was tired of not being a priority, coming last or not at all, and too many people walking in and out of my life-like was I revolving door. I spent many days alone surrounded by people. Funny how that happens isn’t it? I finally had decided it was time for me to put myself first. That I would stop allowing people to use me, that I would stop putting myself last, doing things that were good for me, and that made me happy. I would be reasonable and hold myself accountable for finding the woman I lost along the way.
It took me some time, but step by step I managed to find the woman I thought was gone. Maybe, even a better and calmer version of that person. I slowly started to rid myself of things that caused me unnecessary stress and drama. I started to distance myself and then remove those people I knew did not have my best intentions at heart. I became proactive at working towards goals I had put aside. I learned to accept my mistakes, learn from them and how to correct them so that I could grow.
I have seen the quote over and over again phrased many ways; you have to love yourself before anyone else can. It’s true. If you don’t love and respect yourself others won’t. We each set our own expectations of what we will tolerate from other people or what we think we deserve. Ridding yourself of negativity is difficult. Putting yourself first is harder than some people would ever think. There is nothing wrong with finding and making your own happiness. If your happiness, is the cost you are paying to make someone else content; then you need to be asking yourself, why you find that acceptable.
Be aware, make a plan and take action. Remember, that you are the only person reasonable for giving you the life and happiness you want. Tackle one task at a time and devote yourself to it. Understand and know that we are all flawed; nobody is perfect. Don’t lose yourself conforming to what society thinks you should be. There is nothing selfish about respecting, loving and making you a priority. Life is too short to spend it miserable and just living it day-to-day. Set high goals, standards and go make them happen for you.