I matter. What is important to me matters. There is an inherent value to me—to my needs, my desires, my hopes and my dreams. How can I expect you to see that if I cannot see that?
Seems like some basic stuff, doesn’t it? I think this has applied to everyone else. I knew cognitively these basics should apply to me too. Other peoples’ needs, wants and dreams mattered. And for most of my life, others’ have mattered more.
I just whole-heartedly understood this today. No matter how much I tried to convince myself that my own needs, wants or dreams were important, I always dropped them when or if someone/something came along in need of a rescuer.
I got better over the past seven years or so at self-care and setting healthy boundaries. I got better at understanding that I cannot save everyone/everything. I got better at having fewer crisis-oriented people in my inner circle.
It wasn’t until I was on contest deadline for the book editing recently that I was faced with an opportunity to choose me—my hopes and dreams—over someone else’s. A new person in my life needed help. She had no one else here and I had no way of contacting those she did have in another state. I was on deadline for the book and for two other projects that were important to me.
My automatic reaction was to drop what I was doing to try to rescue her. I was in turmoil because I knew that I could not meet my deadlines and be the only one helping her.
The book and one of the other projects were my babies; I was creating them. They were/are my dreams coming true, and for the first time, my dreams mattered more to me than someone else’s crisis. No matter how much I wanted to be the one to help.
I was able to get her help with one phone call. As it turned out, he was able to help her far better than I could have and could contact her out-of-state support. I didn’t need to be the hero of her story. I needed to be the hero of my own at that moment in time. I have not felt that conflicted about a decision in a very long time.
Because of the editing process, I had been watching this hero/rescuer theme emerge. I knew it was there, but had no real insight into how I literally have dropped what was important to me to rescue, to champion a cause, or to make sure another human knew they mattered. Repeatedly I have done this since I was a child trying to rescue my mother.
Helping others is part of my nature and that is not going to change. Helping others, when it means that I value them more than myself, is simply not a pattern of behavior I wish to continue.
I often say that we have to care for ourselves before we can care for others. This lets us do so much more out in the world for others. Perhaps it goes without saying for you that this would include valuing our own wants and dreams. I apparently need this said separately. I knew I should feel my dreams, wants and needs matter, and I tried hard to live my life as if I believed it in my heart. If I had believed it, I probably would not have repeated this pattern.
Having the behavioral patterns laid out before me in writing is truly invaluable. I am not always proud of what I see. In this case, the universe provided me with an experience to highlight this unhealthy pattern to help drive the point home.
It became a full-circle moment for me to see myself more clearly and to choose something different in my now. I chose me, my book, and my presentation. By doing so, I showed myself that I mattered to me. I have forsaken myself enough in this life. I had no idea just how much.
Are you a rescuer? Do you put your own needs, wants or dreams on hold so that others can reach theirs? Do you feel your own value?