"A lot of us (myself included obviously) have a tendency to let the needs of others supersede our own, and sometimes it becomes not a matter of selfishness or ego but instead of self-preservation to stop worrying about everyone else and take care of ourselves.
So take care of yourself. It's not only that you deserve it, but that you need it."
These are not my words. But these words keep ringing in my ears. Not these exactly but the variations of them I have heard over and over and over in the last year. And more often in recent months.
The problem: I don't really know how. It seems I've always had someone else to take care of. Or taken on someone else to take care of. Or it feels like I've usually been so sick and "crippled" someone has had to step in and take care of me. And if no one does I just crumble and eventually sweep up the pieces and tape them back together as best I can. And the "repaired" me is often ok for a while but worse for wear in the long run.
This is a shitty pattern that needs to stop. It is just so hard to stop it because I am truly a caring, giving person. I want to help others. I want to fix things. And in doing so and being this way I don't fix myself. I don't give myself the things I REALLY need. I fill voids with things I THINK I need. Sorta live vicariously I guess. Maybe I do this as an avoidance technique. Maybe I figure if I can support others and fix their shit then I won't have to deal with mine. That's a possibility but I don't think it is always the case.
I think it is mostly just ingrained from childhood. Having to parent one's parent kinda messes with priorities of growing up. Having to step up so early I'm not sure I ever got a fair chance to learn how to self preserve beyond fighting tooth and nail for things. Sure I learned REAL quick how to take care of myself on a base level - get up on time, brush my teeth, cook food, clean myself up, get myself to school and daycare and activities. But I never learned what it meant to really self-preserve beyond a base level. To self-preserve in positive, non-survival related ways. Plus, I figured why should anyone have to go through what I've been through or anything else for that matter without support when I can be of support? When I can step up and help shoulder some of the burden?
In my efforts to self-preserve, I am not going to just stop caring about others. But I am going to definitely make an effort to be much more aware of my personal boundaries regarding how much I care and what if anything I allow myself to become involved in. I am going to make it a goal of mine for the next week to take a minimum of half an hour out of each day and do something just for me. Gonna see how this works. A few things I have identified that can be just for me are: reading a book, learning a new song on guitar, writing somewhere other than here, spending time with my dog outside in the sunshine.
The trick is going to be doing this without feeling guilty for it. I have fought this so hard in the past and am still fighting it. I am always thinking in the back of my mind about all of the other things I "should" be doing or "could" be doing. Things that "need" to be done. So maybe first I'll take care of a small something that needs to be done (put up clean laundry, do a few dishes, straighten up a mess or something along these lines) so I can feel accomplished and then take the self-preservation time. Maybe this will work. I sure hope so.