Life begins to get complicated when you live for another human being.
When I was living for myself, life was very simple. I knew what brought me joy, I knew what brought me sorrow. I filled my life with more of the former and avoided more of the latter. I have always been one to avoid stressful situations, complications, and dramatics. When they enter my life, I am quick to cut them out. Does this make me strong for recognizing what I truly want in life? Or does it make me weak because I am incapable of sorting through challenges?
But I suppose challenges and dramatics are two different categories of negativity. Dramatics are unnecessary, and are brought about by people who haven’t yet figured out their own life. Their inability to manage their own emotions and mental well-being means they end up complicating your life as well, either directly or indirectly. They bring dramatics into the environment because they have not yet gained the skills of self-reflection, and the understanding of their own self-worth.
I’d like to think that I manage challenges with self-respect and strength. Because challenges are things you can control; they involve you directly and your decisions directly impact whether the situation will go in one direction or another. They are presented to you, not to another human being, and so you influence which direction they will go.
When you are in a relationship, you face challenges together and, as a team, you find ways to overcome these challenges. But what happens when challenges become complications, stress, and dramatics? What happens when a person’s decisions and the complications of their own life are no longer in your control? How much of another person’s crazy do you put up with before you go crazy, too? Is it selfish to want to step back? Or is it an important aspect of self-care?
I’m still trying to work through this. Because the behaviours of other people I am in a relationship with (friends, family, partner, etc) are out of my control. The self-respect they have in acknowledging their self-worth, which allows them to step out of the chaos presented to them in their own lives, is not something I can control. But it somehow affects me: so how do I act?
If I get too involved, I get upset, I get stressed, I get hurt. And yet I am getting involved because I love them. But me getting involved also doesn’t change anything, and just ends up causing me to suffer! If they don’t have their life together, do I deserve to suffer for it? This seems like an unreasonable solution, and one that isn’t fair to me.
It seems like I am in the line of collateral damage: I let them bring dramatics into a our relationship and I react to it. I could be passive, but then I am not fully invested in this relationship, so what is the point? I could pretend their own inability to manage their affairs and their stress doesn’t trickle down and stain my own waters, but then I would be lying to them. I could pretend I wasn’t disappointed in their decision making processes and let down by the unnecessary chaos that they brought into a relationship, but then I’d be lying to myself.
So at which point do you say “pause” and start living for yourself again? At which point do you say, “I want joy again,” and stop putting up with bullshit? With indecision? With lack of self-respect? With insecurity? With someone who is continuously immersing themselves into everyone else’s chaos and incapable of taking care of their own? At which point is it toeing the line of “giving up” and self-care?
Is it selfish to put my needs first when I love another person or is it important?
Is it selfish of me to want a life free of dramatics, or is it unreasonable?
Is it selfish of me to want to experience that stress free, carefree life again, or is that not possible when you have relationships?
Is it unreasonable for me to expect someone to have mastered themselves, their mental well-being, their emotions, before they insert me into their lives, or is it reasonable and deserved?
Life is far more complicated when you add important relationships to the mix. Life is far more complicated when you love people. But at which point does it become unfair for those you love to expect you to carry this stress for them? (Even if they do not ask you to carry the stress, when you love someone, you cannot help but be pulled in it.)
At which point do you stop putting your happiness on hold to try and manage the chaos of others? (Even though you know inserting yourself into the situation won’t solve the problem, as the individual needs to solve it for themselves.)
It is a fact that self-care allows you to serve others far better, allows you to give yourself completely to another human being. So, at which point do I stop giving up self-care in order to save someone else, who cannot seem to take care of and save themselves? – Because, by the end, I become useless as a friend, family member, or partner to even them! I cannot be a successful member of any relationship without self-care. Is it a Catch-22?!
I am still working through these questions.
I am still trying to realize how much I should worry about someone else practicing self-care before practicing my own.
I am still trying to figure out what is fair of me to demand and what isn’t fair of me to demand.
And I am still trying to analyze where my cut-off point is before I lose my sanity, happiness, and will power.
I wrote this back in December in my ‘Musings’ blog post, which was very long and probably looked over.
It fits with this post, so I will post it here, as well:
There are behaviours that people reveal to those they grow close to as time presents itself, and many are simply behaviours I do not have the time to tolerate. The easiest way to watch me slowly drift out of your life is to show me those true and ugly colours of yourself. I don’t have time for ugliness when my life has been far too beautiful.
I have watched 30 years of my life go by, I will not waste 30 seconds more on people who do not deserve me or my time. Let that be a lesson to those in my life – I will vanish as quickly as I appeared if I need to.
They say it’s bravest to cut off a rotting limb, no matter the pain you will put yourself through to do it. I will cut every limb from my life if I have to. I do not have time to cajole rotting flesh. I love myself too much for that. I don’t have time to waste anymore. I will not let the rot reach my bloodstream.
If you read this and think you might be a rotting limb in someone’s life, heal yourself quickly if you wish to save your relationship with that person. Let yourself rot away if they are meaningless to you. If they value themselves, you’ll be cut out of their lives quick enough anyway.