Okay I know this says part one, but full disclosure… who really knows if I’m going to make it be a multi part series. I would just like to leave it open to that possibility.
Anyways, on with the show:
Recently, as you all know, my blog underwent an overhaul and so did our guest room– It is now the guest room/official F&F headquarters. It was a big process to get it cleaned up and situated as an office space; Most of us know that cleaning means going through everything and reliving the memories of each thing you find. One of the best things I stumbled across was a bag filled with warm fuzzies from my camp years.
Let me explain: I went to the best camp in the world (not debatable or up for discussion) Shwayder Camp. At the end of each session we would decorate paper lunch bags and hang them on the wall of the “Mo”. We would then write little notes, warm fuzzies, to our friends and counselors and put them in their bags on the last day. Over the years I’d kept these, starting from my aleph year all the way to being an SIT, and it was amazing to read them and be transported to such a great time. As I was going through them I found one from my LYD year, my last year as a camper, and this note came from a friend who I’d only met a short two weeks prior. Reading it got me to thinking, and thus this post came to fruition.
In the warm fuzzy this girl told me that she saw a lot of herself, who she had been, in me. She saw my pain and she saw how hard I tried, but she also saw right through me. She knew very quickly how much I valued other peoples opinions of me, how I’d go above and beyond, and how I let that consume me the same way it had consumed her. She was trying to help, give me words of advise from one growing soul to another. I remember the first time I read it on the bus home from camp, I cried, I’m not sure it had as profound of an effect on me then as it does now.
At 23, nine years older and wiser, I would like to think I have become someone who is self sufficient, comfortable with who I am and being with myself, and have mastered the illustrious balance of my needs and the needs of others. After reading this though, I felt like I was hit by a truck– I still put people and their needs and thoughts of me in front of my own, and value what they think of me more than what I think of myself. Isn’t this something we’re supposed to grow out of with age?
I spent the past few days marinating in this thought, the fact that I can be a completely different person than what I was, yet still have the same stumbling block in front of me. It has always been my biggest struggle; caring too much. Not always is caring a bad thing, but it is when you don’t end up caring for yourself. To this day, I will put my own wants and needs behind me in order to take care of someone else and make them happy. I still care what people think of me; so much so that I spend what little energy I have consumed in replaying interactions I’ve had to make sure that I never did anything wrong. I care so much, and sometimes instead of that being a good thing which makes people flock to me, can come across as over attentive and overbearing.
Recently I’ve learned that there is a delicate balance between being selfish and putting your needs first. Just as there is a delicate balance between caring for others and pushing your own needs too far to the side. So what is it? What is the magical thing that can make me my own priority while still remaining a good friend and a good person in general?
Listen, if I had that answer I’d be cashing in on it. But, alas, here I am writing out my thoughts and learning as I go.
I think at the end of the day, we need to care about ourselves and our own well being. We need to do things that make us feel happy and complete, and at the same time we need to surround ourselves by people who help us achieve that. 2019, 5779, this year is the year of knowing our worth and not settling for anything less than what we deserve. No more toxicity, no more putting ourselves last, no more putting energy into people who take and don’t give, and no more letting people live rent free in our minds (shout out to the amazing person who taught me that). We are going to take care of ourselves as much as we aim to take care of others, and we are subsequently going to make this world a better place as we become the best versions of ourselves.
Growth isn’t stagnant, hence why it’s growth, and sometimes there is pain in growing. To achieve our fullest potential and happiness we may face heartache and struggles, but as long as we continue the movement into becoming a better person it will hopefully all be worth it in the end.
When you love yourself, you are able to love others so much more.
Here’s to the year of becoming the greatest version of ourselves and knowing that we are enough.
[The featured image is brought to you by the talented Britt Cohen of @thebrittedit and her company @newyorkandnarrative. Go check her out!]