I Mean, It’s Not Like It Really Matters Anyway…

I’ve always struggled being able to see the value in doing things for myself. Like just for myself. With no one around to see them being done or to see the product of them having been done. Like just for the pleasure and enjoyment of it. Especially if there is another activity waiting for me that is needed or will be seen or enjoyed by someone else. After all, it’s not like it really matters that much anyway.

Matters…what does that mean? That is has a purpose or a result that is important, necessary, wanted…Does waking up early to write or read or meditate matter? Well, they say it’s good for the mind, for stress, etc. Does spending time painting a random picture for no one matter? People say that hobbies are good for our sense of self and that being creative is important.

But how do you make those reasons real for someone like me who has never really been taught to choose oneself over others in any moment. If there’s ever something that needs to be done at the house or for work or for a friend, I am on it and in it without a second guess or hesitation about whether it’s worth doing. If there’s something that I was going to do for myself instead, I say “it’s not like it really matters anyway.”

It’s great to be there for others and so, maybe a few times doesn’t make too much of a difference really, but cumulatively, over time, I noticed resentment building up towards people who choose themselves over me. Well, I put aside my needs and wants for you so why aren’t you able to do the same for me? Why is that random activity more important than me? I used to feel jealous of people who were able to do that, who were able to say, “you know what, I really need to take care of me right now.” They were always the happiest and most giving and supportive when they were there for me, but I was resentful that I would never be more important to them than they were to themselves. When you have never put yourself first, it makes you really mad that others do.

The irony hit me a few years ago. As much as I insisted that I could put other people first better than most, others were never actually more important to me than I was to myself. I was really using them as a distraction from myself. Which is easy, and cowardly. And even though I might have physically been there for someone at the drop of a hat, I wouldn’t REALLY be there for them. Because I wasn’t happy myself. I wasn’t really able to put aside my own emotions, my own needs and truly give myself to them.

The shitty fact is that no one else is going to take care of your needs until you do. All they can do is support and help you, but they can’t even do that until you start doing it for yourself. So yes, that writing routine matters. That random painting matters. Those mornings you just go sit outside and do nothing matters. So go do it for you so you can truly be there for others.

Originally published on Struggle Out Loud at http://struggleoutloud.me

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