I find it funny, that only recently, has it been an influx of meme's and quotes emphasizing the importance of choosing yourself. Now, it seems, that everybody is tweeting the importance of putting yourself first and the necessity of prioritizing self care. Everyone's instagram story seems to be a never ending rolodex of self care affirmations. And don't get me wrong, Its great! I love to see it! It's just...funny.
You know what else is funny? I have slowly but surely turned into one of those people. LOL!
Again, it's not a bad thing at all because every quote I have seen seems to ring true. However, it is interesting to me that once you approach a certain stage in life the cliche quotes you have read 100 times paint a different picture. They resonate a little differently now. They are no longer just trendy quotes to post, they are not meme's posted to que the "amen" corner. All those quotes seem to make sense now. They sound different in my head and they seem to feel completely different falling from my lips.
It's almost like when you have gelato for the first time.You have heard about the frozen dessert that puts ice cream to complete an utter shame but, until you have tasted yourself it's all...talk. You have no real experience in the matter of gelato versus ice cream so, you speculate that it could be better. You might pass by the windows of the gelato spot but never venture in because you really don't get the hype and what's wrong with ice cream, right?! Nonetheless, one day, your friends convince you to take the leap of faith, try the gelato, and low and behold... the game has forever changed!
So is my journey with choosing myself.
I looked in the store window many of times, stopped in once or twice but never purchased because what's wrong with prioritizing others? That's the selfless thing to do right? That is the christian thing to do right? Better to give than it is to receive is what the bible says. But ooh on that fateful day, I finally picked up a little something off the shelf... and the game forever changed.
Now, I will never in my life apologize for choosing myself first. Why? Because when I do and I do it correctly, I show up so much better for others. I finally have a cup to pour from. I can now give the best versions of myself to everything around me because I chose to put myself ahead of the unimportant and feed the parts of me that had gone unattended for way longer than they should have. Some may not understand, some may even call me selfish or inconsiderate for it, however, I have decided that I am not apologizing for choosing me. I will no longer apologize for making my emotional well being a priority, especially when it has come second fiddle for so long and I encourage every single person reading this to do the same.
Of course there are times in life when we put others needs ahead of our own. Family, friends, church, your job, the list goes on and on but, when do you ever stop and take inventory of yourself? When do you take the time to retreat and tend to YOUR OWN wounded? Even in battle they know when to turn back, and reassess the current situation they they are in. It doesn't mean they stop fighting but, what it does mean is they know when it is time to re-prioritize.
We all have to learn when to stop and reassess. If you have a habit of putting others feeling before your own, it may be time to chose you. If you tend to retreat from confrontation in fear of ridicule or shame for any reason, it may be time to choose you. If your needs are never being met or constantly overlooked it may be time to choose you.
And you know what love... don't let anybody make you feel ashamed for doing it either!
I will no longer allow anyone to guilt shame me because I choose to put myself first. My mental health is important. My emotional stability is important. My boundaries are extremely important and when I respect each of these things I am better for it. I am able to strive for better, I am able to give better, I am able to experience life better, and I am able to receive others better. I have learned that when I am at my best, I am able to better handle others at their worst. This may seem slightly odd but it is the truth.
I am able to understand that not everyone is in a place to give their best. Honestly, not everyone is even aware that they are not giving their best because they have spent majority of their lives giving away pieces of themselves that they no longer have awareness of the behaviors. However, in spite of what others are capable of, when I take responsibility for my capabilities and also acknowledge my limitations and cater to those, I can better care for those around me in whatever capacity I can. The only way that I can show up in the best way possible for things that I genuinely care about is to show up for myself!
That means setting my boundaries and expectations, being aware of and giving space to my emotions, and managing what I allow to take up my thinking space. I know this sounds like a lot but they are all intertwined with each other and they all matter. It is all apart of the process and I can not stress that enough!
Choosing yourself and doing it unapologetically is a process! It takes constant effort and conscious decision. It takes you making small agreements with yourself everyday. It takes you making the effort everyday to break the bad habits that cause you to put yourself on the back burner. It will not be an automatic response especially if you are not used to doing it and it may even be a little scary at first. But I promise you, it is worth the work. If I'm honest, the journey to this point has not been one of ease, in fact , it has been slightly traumatizing. Nonetheless, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing because the woman that writes to you today is so much better for it. She has learned to love herself so much better and treat herself well even when others could not. The woman that writes to you now understands better because she is pouring from a cup filled and not a cup empty. I am able to receive differently and give differently because of the ever evolving process of choosing myself. And you, my love, can experience that too. In no way am I perfect, in no way have I arrived, but I am choose me every single day and doing this is a constant commitment.
It's going to take work.
It's going to take real dedication.
It's going to take you loving yourself more.
It's going to take respecting yourself more.
It's going to take strength and courage.
It's going to take you choosing a side.
But when you do... it will be worth it.