I originally wrote this back in 2011. I am reposting because I am really tied up with getting things in order for school AND re-reading it was a good reminder for me to take care of me...
Boy, it was almost hard to write that title. Not because I am a patron saint. Not because I am innately altruistic. It's because of my upbringing. It was hammered into my head at an early age that you never put yourself first. People who put themselves first were selfish and being selfish is very, very, very bad.
I think it's human nature. When you are told all of your life to put others first, your resentment festers, your fear of losing your very self builds up, your rebellion kicks in and you end up more selfish and self-centered than ever. Exhibit A: Me!
As a recovering alcoholic, I was told by others successful in recovery to put myself first. For my own survival and sanity. When I first heard this, I was a little taken aback. How decadent. How naughty. It felt like a sin.
But there was a catch, and it was this: the selfishness has to be in the form of self-care. It didn't mean stepping on somebody's head to get an X-Box on Black Friday.
The self-care thing was tough to learn. It meant learning to say no to people and ignoring attempts to book me on round-the-world guilt trips. I was such a pushover for so many years, trying to please everyone. And underneath, I was mountain of molten resentment, ready to blow. Learning self-care is a like opening a pressure-relief valve.
And in the end, we are supposed to take care of ourselves so we can be of service to others. And there's no panic that we are giving too much of ourselves because we've been watching out for ourselves consistently.
Why can't they teach this stuff in elementary school?