I cannot offer anyone anything if I do not have it for myself. I cannot do anything about anyone’s sadness if I don’t know what to do about mine. I also cannot do anything for anyone who doesn’t have a foundation of emotional stability and strength. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. It is exhausting. My role as a friend is to listen, advise when asked, and be supportive in healthy ways. It is my role to be overstanding and patient BUT not at the detriment of my own personal wellbeing. Who I am as an individual is to put on my oxygen mask first and then I can support others. I believe that it is okay for friends to take space to figure out their own situations and make sense of what’s happening in their own mind and body. I think it’s okay for people to have hurt feelings and go through rough times with their friends but the gaze first has to be on ourselves. The analysis of self takes precedence over looking outward for someone to dump emotions upon. I believe that some people are used to being IN their feelings but not necessarily observing their feelings and making sense of the source of it. They just stay in the realm of distress and emotional turmoil perpetually. Yikes!!!!!
I was there. I used to be there. I used to live there. I visit there from time to time because it’s an easy place to visit. However, just like annoying relatives, after a while you just put your foot down and create boundaries. As funny as that sounds, I think I had to create a boundary for myself with myself. I know when I’m at the top of the slippery slope and I know exactly what will push me down that slope, so I stop myself. I have to literally think a different thought so as to not trap myself in a cage of old ass emotions about old ass shit that’s not even happening right now. I know the residual effects are not happening right now in this moment and honestly, what’s missing is me being present. It is easy for me to think thoughts that keep me sad and small. I can easily punish myself with disruptive thoughts but that lacks compassion for me and it’s not in alignment with who I want to be nor who I am.
A part of self development and self growth is knowing when to stop my shit. Literally taking a pause and telling myself to take a fucking knee and turn the bullshit down. I know it’s time to take a step back when I’m being overly mean to the people I’m usually really nice to. I know it’s time when I’m eating bullshit, watching way too much tv and silent but only opening my mouth to be critical. I’m like oh….damn…I need to do better for myself and the people in my life deserve THE BEST parts of me and they don’t deserve to be casualties in the war I’m having within my mind and my spirit. I deserve to be healthy and whole, and that includes being good to myself with food, thought and deed. My emotional and physical wellness is my priority for me and my people reap the benefits and joys of that. When I’m soft and compassionate with myself it gives me the room to be that way with others. But a part of compassion is being able to be honest and truthful as well. That means that while I can be empathetic of someone’s feelings and their situation, I can also be honest and let them know when I have to take steps back. I don’t want to be caught in anyone’s war with themselves. There’s no winning.
Compassion for myself allows me to be compassionate with humanity. Knowing that I’ve come from a long way makes a huge difference to me and it reminds me that we all have a story. Just because someone looks okay and they seem okay it doesn’t mean they are and it doesn’t mean they were made like that. We all struggle and will struggle at some point. However life is made to be lived and loved. Life is for us to feel and go through all kinds of feelings and no one promised us it would be fair and fun. I believe that the access to freedom from suffering is gratitude. But guess what? Some days it’s hard to be grateful when you’re far up shit’s creek. It hard to be thankful and happy when you can’t overcome fucked up thoughts. It’s hard to love yourself when you have been treated like shit. All those things are thoughts that can be shifted WITH SERIOUS WORK. No matter how you slice it, there’s two ways of being in this life; sinking or swimming. Within both of those concepts is our life stories. It matters to no one but us how we operate. I am responsible for my story and you are responsible for yours. I choose swimming. Sometimes I’ll swim hard, sometimes I’ll float, sometimes I’ll doggy paddle and other times I’ll fight through rough waves. But I gain muscles emotionally, mentally and physically by making a choice to swim every damn day.