I Owe Myself A Lot

Published in Mental Health - 3 mins to read

During lockdown 2.0 it finally sunk in that I spend far too much time worrying about other people and not I’m paying anywhere near enough attention to my own wants and needs. It’s always been in a way in which I’ve tried to feel some kind of self worth - by helping others with their problems - but during my simple life in quarantine, there was nobody to help (or at least, nobody willing to accept my help), and I realised how amazing it was to spend that energy on myself instead. Now we’re back to normality again, and the temptation to become emotionally invested in the trials and tribulations of others has rematerialised, but so far it’s felt surprisingly easy not to bow to it. I was always worried that my friends would not still want to be friends with me if I didn’t bend over backwards for them, but now it seems I’ve managed to scrape together enough self esteem that I’m not so afraid of that.

Which brings me onto my next thought; I owe myself a lot. I’ve been this way for a very long time, I’ve been incredibly harsh on myself for as long as I can remember, but the reasons for being that way seem like they might finally be shifting. I’m not going to turn into one of these “love myself despite all my many imperfections” type people because I think they’re super obnoxious, and it’s not like any of you would believe me anyway, but I have had a small taste of self compassion, and now I would like more. I’m aiming for neither self-love nor self-hatred, instead some kind of middleground of self-ambivalence which lets me simply get on with my life without spending too much energy thinking about whether I’m a good or a bad person. In order to get there though, I have to overcome a long history of self hatred, and to balance it back to net neutral is going to take years of being kinder to myself.

I’d always been terrified of being labelled as selfish, either in my own mind or on the tongues of others, but now that’s my goal; I want to be more selfish. Obviously not too selfish; ideally still achieving the latter of my aforementioned goals of not being branded as selfish by anyone else, but selfish enough in that I put my own interests first. Selfishness feels good; doing what I want to do feels good, saying no to the things I don’t want to go to feels good, not being burdened by the problems of others' design feels good. I’m excited to continue my journey into further selfishness.