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Day 406 – This Selfish Thing

September 29, 2015

Good day World,

I have been up since three this morning praying, meditating, and stretching. I love it when I wake up like this and get things done.

Yesterday was particularly challenging. All of my hard work with relationship building seemed to have fallen apart. Just after I had made a concerted effort to be at peace with my sis and her man, someone reached out to me and gave me information about them that was very unsettling. And I had to tell my sis. I was nervous. I was shaking. I had thought that all of the drama was finally over. There were lies coming from several directions and someone was going to have to sort through them to find out the truth. And even though I have a lot of experience in cornering liars and busting them, I knew that this time, I could not tell my sis what to do or how to do it or who to believe or how to find out the truth. I just had to tell her what I knew and let her take responsibility for the rest.

This is called growing up. I also met and spoke with Sir Deplier yesterday. Earlier this month, I had spoken to him about our relationship. I know, he doesn’t make it to the blog that much. Suffice it to say that we had had a sort of agreement that I would help him with things, but he was making my life hell by lying all the time, keeping many secrets, and trying to bully me and take all my time and energy. Before we made our agreement, I had told him in advance that I would only help him if it didn’t hurt me. But he was hurting me. Over and over. And finally he did one big thing that broke the camel’s back. And earlier this month, I told him that I wanted to end our agreement. I actually told him I wanted to end it and ended it on the same day. And so yesterday, he came to talk to me. He was miserable. He did not know how he was going to make things work without me. And he didn’t ask me to work with him again (he’s too proud for that), but he did say, “I thought you wanted to help me. I trusted you. I thought you were going to make my life better, not worse.” I didn’t respond to his comments and he soon left. But I thought about it afterwards.

He was right. I had wanted to help him. In Truth, my Spirit had been called to help him, regardless of whether or not he was an asshole, but I didn’t want to help him in the way I had been helping him anymore. Because it was hurting me.

And I was confused about this whole “my brother’s keeper” concept. How far does it go and what exactly does it mean? I didn’t know if I should have done more with my sis’s situation or with Sir Deplier’s situation, but I did know that if I continued to be intimately tied to the stressors in their lives, then their stressors would become my stressors. And then I would be lying on a floor unable to function like I was some months ago. Perhaps I was done with trying to help people in the way I had been trying to help people, by taking on their problems and trying to solve them myself. Perhaps it was time to remove my hand and let them grow. It feels like they are my children. And I can give them advice. And I can give them help. But ultimately, they must do the hard work of evaluating themselves and evaluating their lives in order to discover what needs to be changed in order for them to have the kinds of lives they want.

I know it sounds selfish, but I want to say something about this selfish thing.

When I was little, I learned that selfish was one of the worst things that a human being could be. I don’t know if anyone ever told me this, but it was just common knowledge in our household. And somewhere, I picked up this idea that I was always supposed to help people, even if it hurt me. Even if I was weak or tired or broke or sick; even if I couldn’t breathe in the presence of my brother, I was supposed to let him live with me if he needed help. You were just supposed to help the people you professed to care about, no matter the cost to you… I spent a lot of time building these kinds of relationships: with family, friends, and men. I was the helper. It didn’t matter if people’s problems brought me a lot of stress or grief. I was strong and I could handle it. And most times, I didn’t even notice I was stressed out until my hair started falling out or until my “girls” got deflated. In most of my romantic relationships, there was a desire to stick around and help a man be the man I thought he could be. And I was mostly always stressed. And there was always a problem with someone, somewhere, to solve. And, boy, was I good at taking on people’s problems and their feelings. And the men I was dating, they would cheat or disappear or forget birthdays or lie or make promises they never kept and most of the time they wouldn’t notice if I was sick or tired, and if they noticed, they didn’t really do much to help. I remember dating a guy who always wanted to come over my house late at night (during my writing time) and he would ask me to spend time with him and distract me from my writing. And, because I felt obliged to be there for him, I would put my writing to the side to be a good girlfriend. This had been my way for some time. What was good for me just wasn’t as important as being there for others. Until my health broke down a year ago.

And God, You really know how to wake people up. As a sick person lying on the floor trying to breathe, you realize that you just don’t have the energy to help everyone. You have to use your limited reserve of energy wisely. When your hands start trembling every time you feel stressed, you realize that you can’t really afford to be stressed anymore. And your life view changes. And you realize that you can’t really do anything for anyone if you are sick and off balance. And so, staying well and changing yourself and your life so that you don’t have so many stressors becomes a priority. And although you are still wanting and willing to connect with others and help them with things, there is a limit to your involvement. If your health starts to deteriorate, then you disengage or change the relationship dynamic.

And there are times — there are people, and situations and causes worth dying for. There are times when you must sacrifice your health or your life for a greater cause because there is just no other way and Spirit has led you in that direction. But be clear about what you are sacrificing for and the cost you are willing to pay. Most times, people can solve their own problems just fine without you when given the opportunity and the responsibility.

And this is what it has taken to cure me of my addiction to stress and drama. God, You had to be like “Look, girl. I’m gon’ strike your body down if you start all that nonsense again.” And I’m OK with that. Actually, I’m glad about that. I’m learning the balance between caring for oneself and caring for others. You can do both. Selfish is not necessarily a bad word. It is OK to set boundaries so that you can be healthy and functional, and sometimes that means dealing with certain situations from a distance.

I am glad to be alive today. I am glad that I am learning how to be able to share Love with people while still Loving and honoring myself. I think I grew an inch last night. I think I can face the world now and be loving and open, and yet safe. Because I am learning to consider my well-being, too. What a concept… What a concept.

Ameen.

Day 406

This Selfish Thing

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From → The Renaissance

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