In yesterday’s post, I mentioned how my inspiration for getting help was my brother. Truthfully, he was my primary motivation for staying alive at that time. I wanted today’s post to offer an update, as well as to provide an opportunity to talk about the positives and negatives of living for yourself vs living for someone else.
When my mood was at its worst, when my thoughts were the scariest, I was not capable of believing in myself. Honestly, I didn’t believe that I was worth it. I didn’t value myself as a person; I thought I was too damaged and weak. My brother gave me purpose. Staying alive for him, I thought, was more noble than staying alive for myself. I am proof that in times of dire need, we can temporarily sustain ourselves by living for others.
Although much was remedied during my hospitalization, I still had to work towards achieving wellness once I got home. Thoughts of self harm still crept up. I avoided hurting myself, however, by promising my boyfriend that I wouldn’t do anything. I kept myself safe for him – not myself. This wasn’t a problem until our relationship ended. Who would I not cut for now? Lacking answers, I made a painful mistake.
This past week, I’ve noticed a change. I see the reminder of what I did, and I’m confused and a little embarrassed. Because I know that I deserve better. I deserve to not hurt myself.
I’ve always been a “people pleaser.” We talk about this in therapy pretty often. I overextend myself by refusing to say no and I sacrifice my own comfort for others’. It sounds noble, but it’s really just crummy. Part of being a people pleaser has involved me valuing others more than I value myself. This ties into my feelings of not wanting to live for myself. Living for yourself requires you to be a little selfish sometimes and to limit how much you try to fulfill others’ expectations.
Today, I tried to live for myself. I didn’t shave my legs to go to a scholarship luncheon because I just didn’t want to and no one there should be looking at my legs that closely anyway. I went to therapy. I went to yoga. I helped my brother with math not because I owe him, but because I love him. Today, I feel worth it.
Living for yourself is not about being a pretentious poop. It’s about recognizing, as my yoga instructor would say, the divinity within yourself. That divinity is just something that you recognize that is more powerful than you are. It can be beauty, art, music, science, service, friendship, family, or anything else that moves you. Just know that a little part of that lives in your heart, and because of it, you are stronger. Recognize what makes you divine.
I confess that part of my motivation for telling you about my recent regression is to keep myself accountable. I recognize that I am a fallible human being, and that this is just one of the many mistakes I will make in my lifetime. I think that even though I made this mistake, I did the right thing by telling my mom and therapist and recommitting to my desire to have a safe, healthy life for me.