Sometimes I forget how important I am to me. I spend so much of my day helping others, making sure things are taken care of, and meeting the needs of the family. I am a helper by nature. I have always been that way. Many times I notice that I am helping everyone else more than I am helping myself. I give my time, energy, advice, guidance, support, encouragement, love, and whatever else is needed. I am the person that people view as "strong" or "experienced".
This is what makes them come to me and pour out their pandora's box all over my life. I understand how valuable a listening ear is and I offer that even in the midst of me needing an ear to hear my voice. The issue is...most of the time people are selfish. They are only concerned with getting the help they need and I am left to ponder their problems and my own.
I think this happens because people see me as "strong". What they don't see is that I'm human and sometimes I need someone to be strong for me. I learned a few years ago that people will do what you allow. If you don't tell someone how you feel or that you need a break, they will never know. Some of that ignorance is by choice and some of it is due to silence. More times than not, I stay silent about things that bother me. I stay silent because that is what's comfortable.
For so many years I've spoken up about things and I've been ignored or shown that no one really cares. The more I am shown my value in the eyes of someone else, I start to reevaluate my value in my eyes. My past has broken a lot of me. I am not always the best version of myself because silence often shows up and eliminates my voice. One of the hardest things for me to do is ask for help. Not because I feel like I'm above it but because sometimes I feel like no one cares.
It wasn't until I removed myself that I started to see the truth. It isn't about me at all when people come to me with their problems, pains, and issues. They are only thinking about what they need. If I allow myself to be consumed by my own feelings I will be of no help. I had to realize the importance of timing. I had to learn how to say that I am not able to help to protect my own peace. I had to learn how important I am to me again. I have been living in silence most of my life. I wouldn't speak up about abuse, maltreatment, disrespect, negligence, or being taken for granted.
I would always internalize because that is how I was taught to deal with my issues. Even as a child I knew I wanted to help people. I had no idea what that really entailed. I'm thankful that God took me on a journey of realization.
I've learned that I have to teach people how to respect me, how to love me, and how to appreciate me. I know there will be times when I'm placed in a position to be a blessing for that moment. I also know that every moment is an opportunity for growth. I want to continue to grow with intention instead of silence. I want to get back to loving on me more than I'm loving on everyone else. If I'm not at my best then I can't be who I was created to be for all who cross my path. Being "strong" is overrated. I'll take being healthy over "strong" any day. Instead of just checking on your "strong" friends; treat them to the same kindness they give you.