By: Olivia Crescenzi, IATG Contributor March 17, 2016
It happens all too often; your thoughts and problems get overwhelming and pile up until a mountain forms that you’ll seemingly never be able to conquer. So what do you do? Throw yourself into someone else’s problems? Try to fix a friend, a partner, or even a stranger? Toss your own worries to the side and hope that your efforts to help clear someone else’s conscience will miraculously dissolve your own guilt or pain or shortcomings? While these things may help for a while and you may be an awesome friend for doing so, your health will, undoubtedly, slip between the cracks. Soon enough, it will become too much to bare and you’ll break – your worries buried so deep down into the dark nooks of your mind that the mere thought of actually working through them is daunting.
Has this happened to you? I can promise it’s happened to me, and if you’re the kind of person who always seems drawn to others, it will probably happen over and over again. But don’t worry! That’s why we’re here. I’m here to tell you that, as admirable and inspiring as it is that you love to give your time and energy to those around you, it’s absolutely imperative that you put aside time for yourself, that you confront those dark, scary demons that everyone has and work on bringing your own monsters to the light before tackling those of others.
Maybe you’re someone who feels the need to constantly please everyone around you, even at the sake of your own peace of mind.
One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is that the most genuine relationships will never ask you to sacrifice yourself. And if they do, they aren’t true. They aren’t deserving of your time or your efforts, and certainly not your health and happiness.
I came across a quote the other day that pulled at my tiniest heart strings, because it was so true and relatable. It was one of those quotes that you read and instantly nod to yourself saying, ‘Gosh, did I need that.’
It said, “Show up for yourself. Do not wait on you for a second longer.”
Did you feel that? I sure did.
It’s taken me years to leave my people-pleasing self behind. Of course, I think it’s a trait embedded in us all, but there’s a huge difference between compassion for others and self-sacrifice. Now, I’m not talking about the kind of self-sacrifice that stems from love and dictates that you’ll do anything for those you care about; that’s normal. I’m talking about the relationships that suck everything out of you, that drain you mentally and physically until one day you look in the mirror and all you see is a hollow shell of yourself, full of problems and worries left unattended. Well to that I say, “enough.”
Please believe me when I say you are enough. Your problems and worries are just as real and worthy of your time and energy as anyone else’s. In fact, they are the most important – because only by sorting through your own monsters can you ever be fully present and show up as the best version of yourself to everyone else. So dig deep. Pull those demons out into the light and tackle them one by one. You are so worth it.
When was the last time you spent time with yourself? Grab a journal, take a walk, or spend time doing something you love! It’s time to spoil YOU!
Olivia is a twenty-year-old Microbiology & Immunology student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. On the (more often than not) moments that she's caught procrastinating her studying, she is just your regular teenager (yes, still) that values friends, family and dramatic reality TV more than anyone. She is a collaborator, an empathizer, and pretty middle ground between an idealist and a realist. Most importantly and above all, however, she's obsessed with our culture as young girls and women, and she wants nothing more than to delve deep into this important discussion with you.
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