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These days it’s hard to blog about work because I can’t breach confidentiality and pretty much everything I’m working on is confidential – or by discussing it I might seem to be disrespecting someone or an organisation (I had a meeting with ZNBC yesterday that shocked me so much, but can’t talk about it, cos I need to work with them, so don’t want to feel offended).
So I decided to blog about relationship issues that I’ve been observing here – and to be fair, I’ve been a party to it too, but thinking about my friends, watching Think Like A Man, I wanted to get this off my chest.
I’ve gone to several kitchen parties, baby showers, weddings etc since I’ve been back in Zambia, but what I’m hard pressed to find are truly happy couples. In fact I was slightly taken aback when at my last all women’s event, the mainly married women were talking about how they didn’t have passwords to their husbands phones, but the kids did, so they were using the kids as spies to find out if their husbands were sending or receiving inappropriate messages! What?!
They talked about it like it was so normal. Why on earth would I want to be with a partner I didn’t trust? Perhaps in other ways the man is making her a happy woman (in her soul, not physically).
Each relationship is different so I don’t judge when people stay in bad or unhealthy relationships, because we’ve all been there. But it does make me wonder, why would you do that to yourself?
Well I guess it’s like what Steve Harvey says, you have to have standards and you have to have self-respect.
Some of these women seem like proper Type A women – they have senior positions in their companies, real position of power, and they make their own money. Professionally they have self-respect and standards – they must have or they wouldn’t have got as far as they did. But something falls apart when it comes to relationships.
I blame it on the societal pressure. We’re women in Zambia, a country that looks down on you as a woman, let alone a single woman. I’ve walked into countless meetings where I have been blatantly ignored and disrespected because of being a woman, and more so a woman without a ring on her finger. Yet I might be the more senior figure in that room.
It’s a constant battle to walk that fine line of being strong enough as a woman without coming out like an aggressive wannabe male figure. So I can understand the urge to want to come home and be a woman, a woman who has a strong man by her side to take care of her – not because she needs to be taken care of, but because she wants to be.
But we put up with a lot just to have that man in our life. And is it really worth it? This morning my ipod decided to play Ciara’s Like A Boy and I was really listening to the lyrics.
‘What if I had a thing on the side, made you cry
Would the rules change up or would they still apply
If I played you like a toy?
Sometimes I wish I could act like a boy’
Or my personal favourite ‘Tell you I love you but when you call, I never get back’
Sadly despite what Ciara sings, I just don’t think a man can comprehend the pain women go through caring for someone who simply doesn’t care about them. In fact switch up the roles as suggested in Ciara’s song and the labels attached to the woman are anything but flattering.
But yet we still stay in relationships that do nothing for our soul. Sometimes it does seem hard to identify bad relationships – i.e. he doesn’t beat me, he doesn’t cheat on me etc – but it’s the little things isn’t it? That’s what having standards is about, standards and self-respect.
Why do we think it’s ok that a man can make you cry, not value your time, just because he says those three words us women love to hear? If you’re not important enough to have a call returned, your time respected, your commitment valued, what are you saying about yourself?
Sometimes being alone does not mean being lonely, it means having enough standards and self-respect to wait for the person that will value you and treat you like the queen you are to come into your life.
We all know this, one day we’ll listen and do it – then maybe you’ll have Kings stepping to you, to make you his Queen.
Taking time out from thinking about work and my career – sigh it really is hard when you’re on a trajectory for world domination – but I’ve had another thing on my mind – babies.
Yup. Living in Zambia you’re very aware of all the babies/children around. It seems everyone follows the same path growing up, which at some point involves getting married and having babies. And everyone says the same thing, ‘you should have one, having a baby changes your life!’
I have to admit this threw me because … well… I like my life as it is, why would I want to change it? Well I’d like more money, buy more shoes, travel more and stay in luxury hotels, but none of that has to do with having a baby.
People seem to find this response shocking, because after all I’m a 30 something year old woman, shouldn’t I want to have kids? As a child I never wanted to have children, I’ve never particularly liked kids – I like the ones related to me, though even they have their moments – and as I grew I expected, like other things in my life, this to change and I’d get all broody and have the 2.5 kids with the white picket fence.
I think around 29 I did get broody. The idea of a little baba was very appealing. A year later the broodiness was gone! People who don’t know me well think my none-interest in kids and having babies is because of my significant other – he has his kids, he doesn’t want any more. But I learnt a long time ago not to let a man drive my decisions – biggest way to regret anything you do! So while I took it into consideration, thinking, ‘what if one day, this so called maternal instinct kicks in’, but the more I’m around kids, and as the days go by, I just don’t feel it.
Ok maybe I’m also lazy and children are hardwork. It’s not like you can just leave them to just get on with it while you chill in front of the TV. And I’m not a morning person, so if kids needed to eat before say 11am, they’d starve until they learnt to make their own food. Waking up in the middle of the night? Nah, not for me. Call me selfish but I’m quite content with my life as it is. In fact the only reason I even fleetingly entertain the idea of a child is the fear of having all this fabulousness die with me! How will I be remembered if I don’t have kids to carry on my memory? But that is probably too selfish a reason to have a child, surely I can just have a stature of myself erected?
Children are expensive too. School- fees! Sheesh. These people pay in dollars! The amount of money they buy would really add fabulous new shoes in my collection, not to mention a few handbags and diamonds too, I’m just saying.
For me that whole biological clock is ticking just doesn’t seem to resonate, and seeing that the clock of choice for me is a Tag Heuer, I have no doubt that it’s ticking away just fine.
Last week we buried my uncle (for the purpose of our Zambian tradition where everyone is an uncle, I mean my mother’s brother). At the same time, my sister buried her husband’s sister. Yesterday, we found out a close family friend’s brother had died.
Death, they say, is a natural progression of life. But we like to think that death comes at the end, when you’ve lived your life, when you’ve enjoyed your life. Looking at the people I know who have died in the last week, that isn’t always the case.
When people die, we feel sad, we mourn their life, we ask God why He had to take them away, we try to accept that it was their time and we need to move on with our lives. We feel for those who have lost a life partner – a husband or a wife, those who have lost a child, a parent, a sibling, shake our head, say a prayer, and move on with our life. Unless it’s an immediate loved one, we easily move on with our lives, and hope for the best for those who have been left behind.
From my experience, those who have been left behind, focus on the death, sometimes unable to move on, hoping to find an answer as to why the person died. In my own life, I’ve lost (why do we say that, like they’ve been misplaced?) two brothers, now two uncles, a nephew, a best friend, and numerous aquaintance. My reaction to their deaths is based on my relationship with them. One brother, I felt like I lost a part of me, but I was also riddled with guilt – had I done enough for him while he was alive, sadly I always knew the answer was no. And even in his death, I’m failing to honor his memory properly – but that’s another blog.
Now, as I’m older, I look at death in a different way, a reminder to live life – every day. With my uncle’s passing, which was truly tragic, because it didn’t have to be, he died alone – none of us as his family there, all getting on with our lives, always thinking there was tomorrow to see him, tomorrow to check on him, tomorrow to pay him attention, tomorrow for anything he might need. Yet we all forgot the fundamental words – that the present, is a gift.
We do this all the time, take the present for granted. Always thinking about tomorrow. There are definitely times when you need to think about tomorrow, if it’s about finances, or education, or a career, but when it comes to relationships, tomorrow is definitely not something we should worry about. Relationships are very much in the present, and that’s all relationships you value be it a boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, parent, or child, or sibling. Those you can’t get back tomorrow.
Even as I write this, I struggle questioning my own relationship, looking at the flaws and wondering if I can deal with them, as opposed to looking at the positives and recognising the fact that this might not be the ideal relationship I always dreamt of, but that it is the perfect relationship I’ve been in my whole life. Should I keep looking at tomorrow for the answer or enjoy the present I have in my life today?
We always question the meaning of life, asking what our purpose on life is, but we can go through all of life only to die without knowing our purpose. Perhaps our purpose is in death, to remind those who live to truly live life and know what we value in life before we die and are returned to the earth.
I read somewhere (a UK newspaper) that the 30s in women is described as flirthysomethings. Supposedly life is the happiest at this age. In our 30s we women seem to have ‘found’ ourselves, or at least we’re more accepting and comfortable with the women we’ve become – flaws and all.
What it also means is that we’re also at our sexual peak – there is a definite co-relation between confidence and sexual behaviour. But we’ve also had some practice to realise what we like and what we don’t like. Probably the best time to be in a relationship – you know what you want as a fully developed person.
The downside is that we have that very real biological clock ticking as well as the social pressures that come with being an unmarried woman in her 30s. Just the other day my mum remarked we needed to be nice to our relatives as we’d need them when planning my kitchen party – I ignored the comment.
However, now that I am in a somewhat stable relationship these two issues can’t help but rear their annoying heads. Kids? Well my partner has enough for both of us, but do I want my own, one that grows in me? Erm, not really. Call me selfish but I’m just not ready to turn my whole life upside down for anyone else, I like my life just as it is, and I like spending money on fun things, like shoes and parties, and not on real life things – diapers, school fees etc (I don’t quite make enough money for both). Marriage? Now that’s a tricky one. I really want to wear a wedding dress, I think they can be so pretty. And I am a romantic at heart, I like the idea of spending the rest of my life with someone I love (doesn’t everyone though?).
It’s definitely too early to even consider marriage with my current partner, but somehow in your 30s you really do start thinking about all these grown up things. Time becomes more precious – do I really want to invest in a relationship that might not be going anywhere? But at the same time, I don’t want to walk into a relationship analysing everything to see if he is husband material. Hmmm so dating really doesn’t get any less complicated in your 30s does it? I guess I’ll wait to see if it gets any easier in my 40s – though I do have awhile to go before I get there.
It comes down to the bottom line, are you happy?
A friend of mine has recently decided to throw in the towel with her seven year marriage because her husband didn’t make her feel special. I do simplify the issue, yes there were some very real reasons why the marriage didn’t work, and while people (her family, his family) would have preferred if, like other married women, she shipikishered (endured) it boiled down to that very simple issue.
I may not be an expert on love but I’m certainly an expert on heartache. I do believe relationships are hardwork – like anything worth having – but I do think the benefits must outweigh the hardwork. What is the point of putting in the effort and time to just feel miserable at the end of it all? While on the surface my friend and her husband seemed happy, the effort she was putting in to keep her marriage was eating away at her until she realised that she wasn’t being ‘rewarded’ for this effort with the love, respect, and affection she wanted and deserved.
I think it takes a strong person to leave a relationship that isn’t working. After all, it’s in our nature to want to be loved. But deep down when you’re not feeling special or fulfilled, all you’re feeling is miserable, unappreciated and empty.
Call me a hopeless romantic but I do believe that when you care about someone, you consider them and their feelings. You change (as difficult as it is) to make them happy, not because it’s important to you, but because it’s important to them. It’s the little things that count I think.
I’m beginning to understand the benefits of getting into a relationship when you are a whole person. What I mean is that you need to know who you are, what is important to you and what isn’t. I think, especially as women, we ignore the problems in our relationship because the man makes us ‘happy’. We ignore that that happiness is short-lived, if you’re only happy when you’re together but spend most of your time apart, is that enough to sustain a relationship?
We tend to fight for things long after we know that thing is broken or is not meant to be, rather than ask ourselves the simple question, am I happy?
Maybe I am simplifying it again. When asking yourself that question, put it in context. I do believe happiness is a state of ‘being’, which means that at any given moment you can be happy or unhappy depending on the situation. But I refer to the question of am I happy in this relationship? Am I happy with who I am in this relationship? Let’s not forget we tend to become different people to accommodate someone else in our life/relationship. I believe we should become a better version of ourselves, but if you don’t like what you see when you look honestly in the mirror then you shouldn’t ignore that. But back to the questions. Ask yourself, does this person have my best interest in mind? Does this person try to make me happy? Does he listen to me, does he put me first when he can?
Communication is key, be honest with yourself, and be honest with your partner. If one person is unhappy in the relationship, sooner or later there will be two unhappy people. Address it when you can, to nip it in the bud, and if it doesn’t work out, don’t be sad to move on. Take those lessons with you to find true happiness. Seven years later, my friend said, ‘life is too short to be unhappy’. We know this, yet we tend to think life is longer than it really is. Be happy.
As we’ve entered the new year, I think it’s only right that I start on a note that is important to all of us, love and relationships. For this post I’m going to focus particular on love and relationships relating to the opposite sex (or same depending on your inclination), because this is something I’ve been experiencing for the last couple of months.
I can hardly believe that it’s been almost six months since I started seeing Mr Mature, as I don’t have the best track record of choosing men, I’ve had my fair share of cheaters, liars, dogs, bad boys, commitment phobes, you name the problem man, I’ve probably dated him. And I use the term dating, loosely! My longest mutually monogamous relationship probably lasted all of three months. Going in with Mr Mature, I didn’t really know what I wanted, but I knew it was nice to have this attractive, intelligent, successful, kind man want to be with me. However, I was also wary that he was into me purely for my young, seductive appeal – I tend to lean more towards sexy than beautiful in men’s eyes.
Months later, we’re still together and dare I say ‘in love’? But it’s definitely not without its challenges. I think while there is definite positives for dating at an older age, when you know yourself better, have more confidence, higher self-esteem etc, it does mean that you come with your own share of baggage from failed relationships, traumas, pre-conceived ideas of what a relationship should be and even a level of stubborness as you’re used to your own life, your way and nothing else.
Sometimes it’s easier to throw in the towel and keep on stepping until you find the perfect match. But then you ask yourself if such a think exists, without putting any work into it? Think about everything in life, what has come to you without you having to put any effort and work into it?
I am a big believer in communication – Mr Mature isn’t great at communicating, which is scary at times, but I think he hears me. One thing he always says to me is don’t change for me, don’t do stuff just to please me. As women, I think it’s too easy for us to compromise to please our partners, but when you are constantly compromising then you get miserable and unhappy. Relationships are a two way street, both partners have to make an effort, and while I don’t advocate in constantly banging your peeves to your partner, I do think that if something bothers or hurts you, you have to speak up about it. Sometimes your partner doesn’t even know that that’s how you’re feeling.
What I’ve found particularly difficult is divorcing my past (baggage and issues) from this relationship. It’s not that it ever crosses my mind to think that he’s unfaithful – though in Zambia, that would hardly be surprising, and even he thinks that I think he’s up to no good because of his lack of communication at times, but that’s not it at all. I think as women we tend to know our partners are cheating, we just choose to ignore it, so that isn’t the thing I worry about – plus unlike previous relationships, I never went into it thinking he would cheat!
But it’s other things, and I feel that sometimes I let my past experience determine my present. In 2012, I do want to put the baggage behind me and remember that the present is a gift and (just another cliche for effect), life is too short to be miserable. I know I have a good man, and I’m pretty sure he knows he has a good woman, will we last? Who knows, but it’s more important to love for today. You also can’t live your life being scared of another failed relationship – though it does make me laugh that he thinks my ‘independence’ is what has kept me from a deep, meaningful relationship! – I will continue to communicate and if that freaks him out or becomes too much for him, so be it, it just means we weren’t met to be. It will hurt, but it won’t kill or break me.
Love and relationships should be fun, should make you grow as a person, not make you sad, miserable and break you down. If it does, then you need to ask yourself why are you in that relationship? Remember, another person does not define who you are as a person, they might help make you a better person, but only a better person of who you already are. Love you more than you love anyone else, so that you can give healthy love to another.
Love and peace in 2012 – I wish you all the best and happiness – for all of us!
Demarco’s song I Love My Life is definitely my new theme song. And it’s fitting that I’m listening to it right now, on Zambia’s 47th Independence Day.
The last few months have been full of learnings, both good and bad, but on this day, I feel like I have a lot to appreciate, I’ve learnt a lot and I still have so much to look forward to.
Today, we had some family friends over to visit my dad, and I was so happy when I heard him tell them that he had accepted that he has cancer.
I think the cancer diagnosis was hard on all of us, but even though it’s still early days as he still does more and more tests to figure out the best treatment options for him, I’m happy that he isn’t letting him get down.
At his age (70 something), he has lost a good number of his friends and he says he is grateful to have lived as long as he has. Which is such a great and positive attitude to have, but I hope it doesn’t meant that he won’t fight his disease anyway. As annoying as he sometimes can be, I’m definitely grateful to spend these days with him, especially now as he opens up to his life during Kaunda days and before independence – he actually is enjoying having a captive audience these days. Though sometimes I worry about him giving his opinion willy nilly. Right now the country seems to be split – you’re either PF or you’re not. The point of an opposition hasn’t fully sunk in to everyone – but that’s a side bar.
I digress. My father’s illness has been one challenge. The other challenge has been running our business Media 365. I don’t think there is anything more rewarding than owning your own business, especially if it’s something you are passionate about (though can be equally rewarding to work for a company that is unlike anything else ). But it is no easy feat! It comes with all sorts of challenges and sometimes I feel like I’m out of my depth – my almost complete MBA did not prepare me for this! Just when you think you can’t swim any longer and it might be time to sink, something comes up that makes it all worth it.
I’m so excited about the new opportunities that have come our way and that in the next few months will really test us but will be the beginning of a very exciting path for us. The thing that stands out to me about our business is that we don’t just care about the money (though we do want to make it) but we truly love what we do. We have been blessed with the ability to follow our dreams, and now it’s just about putting in the hard work to make it reality. And boy is it hardwork!
I’m also learning to put myself first now, for real, I know I say it all the time, but I do think I’m getting there. Slowly but I’m definitely getting there. It’s about learning to prioritise your needs and getting people to work around that – no more guilt trips for me! The reality is that I’ve been able to work this hard and get to where I am in just over eight years, then why haven’t you? We all have the same opportunities – in different forms, but opportunities nonetheless – so what have you done with them? We’re all born with some talent or another, how have you used them to your advantage? Only you can determine how you shape your life, don’t think the world owes you anything, because it doesn’t. And frankly, neither do I. I just made the decision that other people’s problems are not my priorities, as adults you make the decisions in your life and you must live with the consequences of those decisions.
I’ve also learnt when it comes to family that perhaps not everyone’s priorities are the same, and I can’t blame people for doing their own thing, but I’m also not going to be the glue to hold it together. You either want to do it, or you don’t. That’s just how I see it. Anyone with a (large) family will know what I’m talking about, whether it’s emotional support, financial support, or just communicating with your family.
I’ve also learnt to let go and just relax, not always analysis everything or need a definitive plan for where my life and areas in my life are going. This is really working well with Mr Mature, 4 months strong and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a huge learning curve, but like he says, we’re both learning, so we take each day as it comes and just see where it leads. I can honestly say, I’ve never been in a relationship like this before and that’s a good thing. For now, I’m just going with the flow.
On this independence day I also vowed to myself that I will get my financial goals in check and really begin to work on them. Paying off my debt and building my house will be my biggest priorities. I’ve already got some plans in mind for my house – it’s not going to be my dream house just yet – maybe if I ever get married that will be my project with my man – but for now, it will be something that I can call my own – and that Mr Mature can spend the night at, because sneaking him into my parents house would not be cool! My worry is that the rainy season is coming soon, so I have to work fast – at least get the foundation done. So fingers crossed I get all my cash in hand in the next few weeks (hope springs eternal!).
Right now, I feel like I’m in a good place. I might not be in the best place financially but emotionally, I think I am. And sooner or later, the finances will come together too! For now, I’m enjoying the moment and living in the present – it is the gift of today!
Have a great week ahead and don’t feel bad to put yourself first. You do matter!
I’m pretty good at controlling my emotions, I think emotions can cloud your judgement. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes emotions can help in decision making – but you need to know how to read your emotions and couple them with rational cognitive processes.
I have been working non-stop since May, since I moved back to Zambia, working two high-level jobs, and it’s really beginning to take it’s toll. Thankfully, it has yet to affect my decision-making, it might have slowed it down a bit, but I’m still managing to make decisions that work and are effective.
But where I’m beginning to slip is on the personal side. We tend to be a bit more lax when it comes to our personal life I suppose, we take too much for granted.
I’m happy with Mr Mature but… It’s nothing to do with him, it’s all me. It’s times like this when I wonder if I can be in a relationship. Maybe it’s because I am from a large family, maybe it’s because I was never the IT girl at school, maybe it’s because… I don’t know, but I’ve never been the one who stands out in the crowd. I never thought this really bothered me. I guess that’s the price you pay for excelling in your professional life (if I do say so myself), you focus so much on that one side and ignore that the personal side is slipping.
It was only when I started to question wanting more out of my life that I realised that actually, balance is really important in life. We can work as hard as we want to but if we can’t be special to at least one person, what are we doing it all for?
Don’t get me wrong, I get a lot of satisfaction from my work, maybe because it’s not all superficial but can hopefully impact someone’s life for the better, it has meaning to it. But let’s be honest, we all have an ego that we serve. Ok maybe ego isn’t the word I’m looking for. I’ve never felt that I needed to have a thanks for what I’ve done, or a pat on the back or whatever, in fact, I always thought that if you needed the thanks then you weren’t doing the ‘thing’ (work/good deed/whatever it was that culminated in a thanks) because you wanted to, because you got satisfaction out of doing it. But, like I’ve said before, when you are constantly giving – mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, etc – you find that you are actually giving of your soul. And if you think of your soul as a cup, you can’t keep emptying the cup without refilling it.
But getting back to being special to someone, isn’t this ultimately how we want to feel? The only problem with this is that you then look for something outside of yourself. When you look for something outside of your self, you are pretty much setting yourself up for failure.
I’m by no means being cynical about this, I just think that we can not find true happiness until we find it within ourselves. I don’t buy into this whole ‘you complete me’ thing, like we are incomplete without someone else. Yet, I do kind of understand it. Something in you sometimes feels like you’re missing something, or someone, maybe. Is this a real feeling?
I have definitely felt it. I fight it because I can’t control it, and it can make you feel lonely, and who wants to be lonely?
So when you meet someone who has lived a good part of his life without you, how do you add something it to make you special in his life? Though I guess the same could be said in the reverse… Sometimes I forget there are two people in a relationship, and both of you have to work at keeping each other happy, keep each other feeling special.
Well, developing this new area of my life, the area of attempting to be special in someone’s life, might be part of my quest to find my personal legend. We shall see – I’m being optimistic here!
(and the vulnerability of tiredness means your guard is lowered and you think about these things in more detail – setting yourself up to hurt and be sensitive!)
I believe one of my biggest flaws is empathy. Especially when it’s people that I’m close to, friends, family, and occasionally people who’s stories I’ve followed in the media.
If a family member is hurting or in need, then I find ways to alleviate that pain or help them in their time or need. But when you’re constantly giving it drains you. I remember when I used to be in therapy and my therapist asked me why I helped people, including family members, and I replied, like it was a no-brainer that because if I didn’t, who was going to? I was in a position to help so shouldn’t I? His response was no, I didn’t have to, not if it ultimately hurt me more.
At first I couldn’t understand this. We should help, if we can, with no expectations of anything in return, that was the right thing to do. But after awhile I realised that what he meant was sometimes you have to put yourself first and ask if you can afford – emotionally and/or financially – to give of yourself. Actually the more I think about this, it’s not sometimes, but always. You have to for the sake of your soul.
After awhile I began to resent my family. Don’t get me wrong, I loved them, and knew that deep down, but I felt very alone from them. I was the first one people called when they needed help because I always came through, but when I needed help, I didn’t know who to turn to. I have been blessed to rarely need financial help, but emotionally, when I’ve been at cross-roads, and I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve suffered from mild depression (people told me to never admit it, saying it was career-suicide, but there I said it). I have been lucky to not have had severe depression, but even mild ones are hard to deal with, you really have to fight to stay happy and positive, which is draining, and difficult to do, especially alone.
But I overcame it, I got to a place where I was happy with who I was and happy with the decisions that I was making, really listening to what my heart and soul was saying, to keep me happy. As I’ve gotten older, gotten ‘successful’, I’ve realised that nothing can replace happiness.
I continued to give of myself, because I thought I could afford to. After awhile, I started to feel unappreciated – probably one of the things that furthered my depression – and felt that everyone took from me, but no one gave. I know that my friends and family love me and I would never question that, but I did wish that someone would stop and say, ‘I wonder how Cathy is feeling? And what does she need that I can give her?’
It never happened. It finally dawned on me that the victim mentality I was plaguing on myself was also not contributing to my mental health. Why should other people care about you? And why should you care if they don’t? Do we not have the capacities to be responsible for ourselves? We came into this world alone and we’ll leave it alone, so what is this need to have people focus on you?
It’s not me being cold or indifferent by any means, I simply mean it as a survival mechanism. If you are always giving, sooner or later there will be nothing to give. You will be tired, bitter and miserable, and then what good are you to anyone?
You have to put yourself first to keep your soul intact. If people around you can’t appreciate that, then that’s their loss. Because when you feel you are sacrificing for someone else, or being considerate of other people’s needs, while giving a piece of yourself, then you are only hurting yourself. Life, and indeed, relationships are about give and take. For everyone to be happy the scales have to be balanced.
It’s not a selfish attitude to take care of yourself first, it’s a healthy attitude. And it’s one I’m trying to do more and more, I might lose some people along the way, but then, that’s just a consequence I need to deal with to get myself to a better, healthier, happier place, and that’s my priority right now.