I always feel, no felt, guilty about putting myself first. I don’t know, it was just something about thinking about myself and prioritizing me, that made me feel unreasonably selfish. I mean good people put others first, right? That’s what I thought you know, and that it’s bad to be selfish. No, not necessarily.
Something that I have noticed is that I am not alone in feeling this way. Especially looking at other student-leaders, especially females, I feel like we are always hesitant to say no, to put ourselves first, to take time for ourselves. We are always somehow apologizing for not living to some sort of standard, or letting other people down, but as the character of Blake Lively said in the movie “A Simple Favor” (if you haven’t, you should totally watch it), we should stop saying sorry -‘it’s a fucked up female habit”. And that’s true, stop saying sorry, especially when it comes to taking care of yourself.
It’s okay to say “fuck it”. I’m not promoting not giving a crap about anything, but if you are like me you may tend to overthink, overanalyze, over-stress over situations. So sometimes, for your own sanity it’’s good to let things go and let life just happen.
I like to have control so I can understand if this seems really hard to do, but I have learned that you can’t control everything and you just need to have faith that somethings are just going to work out. Somethings will survive without your involvement, your club will be okay if you take a day off to dedicate to other commitments, it is okay to postpone a deadline you’ve set for yourself if other things come up, people are going to be okay if you respond to that email in a fews hours or even the next day. Trust me. I was the type to always respond to emails or text messages IMMEDIATELY, but now I decide to let it wait because I have other things to focus on (yes naps count) and I have come to recognize that nothing is going to collapse without my immediate response. You can be on top of things without sacrificing your own feelings or wellbeing. It is okay to say you can’t handle this, or to delegate responsibilities to others and trust your teammates to do their jobs.
I noticed that I am always checking up on others, making sure that everyone and everything around me is okay (which is a great thing to do-be supportive of your colleagues, friends and family) but then I would not deal with my own feelings and problems. I would not check up on Adjoa. At the cost of making others feel better, I would sacrifice my own thoughts. That’s not healthy. Also because things would end up piling up and piling up and what a mess I was when I broke down!
So now it’s not that I care less about other things or people, I just care more about me, you know. I factor myself more into the equation. People around you may notice and feel like you don’t care about them, or are distancing yourself but it’s not your responsibility to make other people feel better about your decisions (especially for yourself). No one but you has to be okay with you.
Plus you can’t make others feel good, if you yourself are not good. So before asking how so and so is doing, ask yourself about yourself. Check yourself before you check others.
This is the time for us to be “selfish” to concentrate on ourselves, to get to know who we are without external influences, to learn how to take care of our mental health, to learn how to stand up for our decisions/opinions. We have to learn this now, so that we can learn to conquer the real world without sacrificing ourselves.