I have been considering a couple of things lately… Maybe my insights will help someone else who struggles with similar concerns… Or it may just help to know that others struggle too, in their own ways.
One thing I am trying to do is recognize when I am making decisions based on guilt as opposed to need or desire. This is proving to be incredibly challenging for me as it seems I cannot always differentiate between guilt and desire. Now, one would think that would be an easy distinction, but for me (as it turns out) there is a bit of a blurred line. So much of who I am, who I choose to be, revolves around making others happy. I want that. I feel good when I can make other people feel good too. This creates an obscurity in recognizing what I do for the sheer purpose of bringing myself and others happiness and what I do out of some perceived obligation.
The next thing I am beginning to recognize is my further need to work on caring for myself. (This coincides perfectly with the guilt topic.) By taking care of myself, I do not only mean eating right and exercising. I mean recognizing my own needs, being compassionate toward myself, forgiving myself for imperfections, assisting myself through adversity with supportive thinking, and stopping the constant barrage of critical thoughts that seem to inevitably accompany hardship of any kind; be it a hard day, a difficult interaction, a simple misunderstanding or something more serious. I am now becoming more aware of my thoughts and taking more responsibility for my own happiness. This is not a new concept for me. I have been working on this for years. I did some major self-examining ten years ago and came out of a crisis with a newfound set of skills and understanding. I now recognize a deeper level of needs I have been neglecting.
A dear friend, someone whose insight I revere immensely, asked me the other day how is it that I can have such a great understanding of love and compassion, yet not offer that to the most important person of all, myself. I didn’t know what to say to her. My first thought was to laugh at the ridiculousness of the thought. Of course I love myself. I felt irritated and defensive at the idea of needing to “love” myself. That gave me pause to think. Maybe I am not caring for me as well as I could be. I have never been a very patient person, least of all with myself. I became very self sufficient and independent around the age of 12 and I think on some level I may be stuck in that adolescent mentality where I don’t offer myself a whole lot of understanding and consideration. So… I am working on it today. I want to be happy; I want to make others happy. Life is a learning experience, and I am sharing mine with you!
Love yourselves today!