Saturday, May 4, 2013

Choosing Me, Every Day

I have realized lately that I will pick up anything – absolutely anything – to keep from looking at myself. My favorite item is another person: all their wants, needs, fears and hopes. I want to help them, I say, I want to make their lives better. I want all of this, and yet often it comes at the expense of myself.
I have found that the best answer I can give when someone asks me for something is, “let me think about it,” because in the moment, I can’t get past their excitement or what they want or need from me. In order to connect fully with what is best for ME, I have to physically step away from them and into an empty space. I have to take some days to mull it over. During that time, I have to work pretty hard to separate what I think they want from me from what I want for myself. I find that in my head, I hear a lot of “yeah, but, they need you…they want you…they’ll appreciate you.” I find I have to catch myself, stop the train of thought and say, very firmly, “Yes, it would be good for them, but what about me?”
Recently I made the decision that I was going to wait for something better; that my choices in life are this, or something better. I made a decision in my head to be different, to act differently, to give myself more of my own time and energy, and I thought that suddenly the entire world would know that I have changed. They would know that I have given up taking on other people, that I have given up self doubt, that I have given up sacrificing myself for the good of others, although in reality no one is asking that of me; they all expect me to put myself and my own needs first.
I think this, and then I am blown away and thrown off balance when something is asked of me that does not align with these new decisions I have made. Until now, it was not actually clear to me that I have to make them again: again and again. That every day, when someone asks me if I want something that will not serve me, if I know it won’t make me feel good, I have to decide AGAIN that I don’t want it. That first time I decided it was a thought; the thoughts only go so far while there is no enticement. The actions kick in when I’m out in the real world, and people who know nothing about me – and ultimately, whose task in life is to take care of themselves, NOT me – ask me to do something that I don’t want to do, or that I know will ultimately not make me feel well.
At the risk of looking rude, ungrateful or disagreeable, I have to say no. I have to make that decision again: the one where I choose what I know is best for me, despite everyone else.
Of course this can apply to anything. I asked someone once who had almost 20 years sober if they ever still just wanted a beer.
“Of course,” he said. “Of course I do. The difference is that now I don’t act on it.”
I had this conversation years ago, and yet the reality of it seems to have just sunk in. I have to choose me, over and over again, before it can really be about me. After every decision that I make for myself, it will become easier to make another one, but that does not necessarily mean that people will stop asking me. Perhaps one day I’ll stop wanting to distract myself with the needs of others, but until then, I have to decide not to take them, regardless of if they’re offered; regardless of whether I want them or not.

Love and choosing me -- again -- kisses,