I am trying to keep up with the daily prompts from The Daily Post to be more consistent with posting here. There are just times when my head is so full of other things that it is difficult to sit down and write something coherent. I try not to work too hard at it. If it comes, it comes.. and while there are days when a silent spell takes my space over, there are times when the words just flow freely and I am just always here. The prompts are supposed to help make that happen. I try.
One of my favorite hashtags in my Instagram account is #YouAreImportantToo. We go about our lives prioritizing things according to their importance to us — and oftentimes, we end up putting ourselves at the bottom of the list. I guess it doesn’t help that we are basically raised on the concept of being selfless, or at least trying to be. So we put everyone else ahead of us on the list, until the whole town is up above us. If we were all on a totem pole, you find yourself at the base, with everyone else sitting on top of you. And there you are carrying that load.
And yet, common sense tells us that you have to be strong enough to carry all that weight. To be able to prop someone up, you have to have the strength help carry that load. To help others, you must have the capacity to do just that which means you have to be in a good place yourself.
How often do we hear ourselves saying that we can wait our turn? Or that they can go ahead, and we can be last?
We all have our hierarchy of what is important to us, and that denominates our value system. Where do you figure in that heirarchy?
I used to do just that — putting everyone else ahead of me, until I came to the realization that not only did that impede my helping the ones I wanted to help, but it greatly diminished my self worth. Everyone was more important — I was supposed to put myself last, and for the longest time, I did. Until I witnessed how someone showed me how wrong that was by thinking the same way. It took me a painful experience watching someone put his happiness last, and knowing I was tied to that happiness, find myself the last priority. And that was my wake up call.
I shed the martyr complex and told myself I was more important than last place. That while I cannot be priority all the time, I deserved some importance, because I mattered. I had to start with me.
It was important for me to acknowledge that I was part of the equation and that I had to take care of myself in order to be strong enough and be able to do what I wanted for the other important people in my life. It wasn’t a matter of who was more important, but more of valuing one’s self just as much if not more than others. You cannot stand strong for others if you do not believe in yourself. You cannot be there for others if you do not take care of yourself.
We put such importance on the other people who matter in our lives, and we often fail to give ourselves the priority we deserve in the pecking order of things. Being selfless is a good trait, but not to the point of sacrificing our self worth.
I learned the hard way how important it is to give myself my due. I’ve gone long enough thinking everything and everyone was more important than me and I could put myself last all the time. When everything else was said and done, I felt like I lost, having deprived myself to make way or give way to others. So others could have their fun, have their cake, their piece of the pie — I stood aside.
I have come to realize that I have to be in step with my efforts to take care of others by taking care of me. That I have to leave some for myself, even if I just take a bite and give them the rest of the cake. It helps me to help others better. And to paraphrase the Golden Rule, it helps me to keep things in perspective where it comes to doing unto others what I would want them to do to me. When what you feel and when your happiness and well-being is important to you, then you are better able to help others with theirs.
So it pays and helps to always be reminded that YOU ARE IMPORTANT, TOO.