I'm recently single for what's basically the first time in six years. I realized that, after my most recent breakup, I tend to put my partners first at my expense. It caused me a lot of grief in my last relationship. How can I learn to love myself, put myself first and treat myself the way I deserve?
Me, Myself and I
Dear Me, Myself and I,
Six years is a long time to devote to anything, and when that time is full of decision making that drains you, it feels even longer. I am proud of you for realizing that it’s time to prioritize yourself and your needs. It is never too late to remember who you are and to treat yourself with the kindness and gentleness that you deserve.
Those of us with an endless desire to be everything for everyone forget that we, too, are people. We, too, have the needs and wants and hopes that remain unfulfilled as we push them incessantly to the back burner. Picture yourself entering center stage under your mental spotlight, becoming the star of the show. You are no longer a stage manager or Beyoncé in the "Cater 2 U" music video. It’s your turn to enjoy warmth now.
I am wary of the language of self-care because its associations have become so materialistic. Sheet masks, scented candles and bath bombs appeal to a certain demographic, and if you fit in there, partake in it to your heart’s desire. But if high-end hygiene isn’t your thing, don’t worry. The mantra of self-care is not about material goods but about allotting time for yourself to unwind, to be a person in the world and not someone’s partner or friend or roommate or sibling or so on. You deserve a healthy portion of your own time. No more slivers, Me.
So much of pleasing others requires availability and sacrificing our needs to become more available. Turn this on its head, and learn to be available to yourself. Have a lazy Sunday afternoon by yourself. Go to the movies, the Spencer or Potter Lake by yourself. Get comfortable with this different strain of joy, the inner warmth of self-fulfillment. You know you’ve spent far too long warming yourself from the glow of fires you create for other people. It’s cold out there, Me, and it’s time for you to sit in front of your own fireplace and take care of yourself.
I believe in you.
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Aroog Khaliq is a junior from Overland Park studying English and psychology.