First things first, nobody (including me) comes to life decisions like these overnight. I didn’t either. In fact, today I’m saying this and tomorrow I will find myself back in a situation where I feel like I need to save someone, but that’s just me. I live and I learn, and I take it one day at a time.
I started being selfish because, too often, I’ve been generous when someone’s behavior didn’t merit that. It’s not that people aren’t deserving of good deeds–it’s that you should always value yourself enough to stay out of situations where you are being taken for granted. We always know when someone isn’t appreciative of all that we do for them, yet we stick around hoping that one day they will thank us for our years of loyalty and give us our due credit.
The whole point is–it shouldn’t matter to us. We shouldn’t accept this or that just because at the end there will be an imaginary trophy from society for being the Robinhood of people who didn’t want any saving.
If you read my last post, you know that I struggle with this and as an empath, I feel the need to continue talking about it. Our souls persist on doing this so we must actively work towards preserving our energy for relationships and situations that serve us, that add to our wellbeing, that nourish us–things, places, and people that make us feel whole.
When I was a teenager, I remember being the really annoying friend that was always yelling about who should be doing what. In fact, my friends proudly and constantly referred to me as Fidel (not sure if I mentioned that here before, but it’s worth noting). I really just couldn’t shut the fuck up. I usually still can’t. My opinion has to make it out, because in my mind, my sometimes messy life means I’ve got a whole lots of messages to share with other people.
Anyway, I acted that way with family, friends, and boo’s too. There was a boy in particular whose business I was all over. Did he fill out college applications? Is he going to graduate on time? Did he get his assignments in? I went out of my way and beyond to make sure he was doing what he needed to do. Yes, I was being responsible for my stuff, but why add on the burden of worrying for someone else’s stuff? Mostly out of guilt for my lack of emotional availability. For me, caring about his business was my way of showing love.
I also had a boyfriend as a teen that I watched over all the time. He was confused about his path in life and I thought I could help him find the way… But after some time I realized I was forcing him to grow up faster than he wanted to. He wanted to take his time exploring.
Looking back, I want to laugh at the lengths I went to hide my feelings, to then show them in such obvious ways with grand gestures…
That’s the lesson I should’ve learned back then but kept learning over and over: there is a time for the lessons in people’s lives. Those times vary for everyone. Wish it would’ve stuck, but then:
As I got older, I learned about social inequality. I had observed situations around me my whole life that made me think people were to blame for their own circumstances. If someone was poor, it was because they were lazy. I began to feel guilty for ever having felt that way, and in turn my guilt became part of this savior complex that I’ve been talking about.
I thought of how privileged I was to have been able to go away to college and get my degree. The more I learned, the more it was clear to me: not only was it more difficult for low-income families to send their kids to college, but the system is designed to be that way. When I learned all the nuts and bolts that make up the educational system in our country, I was even more determined, angry, and ready to fight for other people.
But case after case, as I helped more people, I realized that something needed to be done on a much larger level. Deep down, I had always known that, but never had the confidence to create a plan to do that. I had learned from many wise sayings that in order to create change, I had to embody it in some sense. I contemplated for a long time what a revolution in education would look like.
I have dreams that, if accomplished, would help everyone. So why not focus my time and efforts into making those dreams come true? I know that the people I love will always understand. I know that if I don’t do this now, I am missing out on some crucial years of my life. I know that being true to myself brought me the freedom I am enjoying from writing, working towards my goals, fulfilling my passion in life, and being honest in my relationships and friendships. I have created a life I can be pleased with. Better yet, I’ve learned how to find peace and happiness even when my circumstances aren’t the best.
Selfishness hasn’t cost me anything I didn’t need. Selfishness has given me yoga, amazing moments sun-gazing, beautiful experiences in nature, long walks that allowed me to clear my thoughts, meditation that allowed me to slow down, and spirituality for my yearning soul. Selfishness has given me the opportunity to discover talents I did not know I possessed, and ideas that I never would have thought of had I stayed around negative people who did not want change just yet. Selfishness has given me freedom to enjoy the small moments in life, and to connect with the universe in a way that is deeply special.
I’m grateful for my selfishness–it taught me (and continues to teach me) that when I am at my best, I can be of best help to others.
Provide from your overflow, stay beautiful, stay selfish, and stay on top of your self-care!