Past experiences created a phobia of being considered selfish by others. The experiences were small acts that compiled and converted into a paralyzing fear, like a Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger. I have theories of why, some ironic and some accidental, but defining those does nothing productive.
I am now out of college, married, have been six and a half years at my job, and finally have realized that it is okay to dedicate some effort to me. My husband is a great support. I don’t think I could have begun this journey without him. And as it gets harder, I know that I’ll be looking for him on the sidelines for the extra boost I’ll need. This thought formed through this process: People will eventually get the guts to start being what they have dreamed of being, to start trying what they have always wanted to try, BUT they will try a lot sooner and stand a lot firmer for longer if they have someone who believes in them staring them in the face. I also think there is honor in being a starer. I hope Husband considers me his starer, as he is mine.
I’ve learned a few lessons in my life post-college. Some of them being:
- My professional life is necessary to fund my personal life; it is not my personal life. I will perform my job with dignity, competence, and civility, but I will not alter my character to “fit in” the social aspects of the workplace. If that is the only way to have “friends” in the workplace, I will happily consider myself ostracized.
- I am as much of an adult as the forty-something-year-old employee in the next cubicle and am not inferior because of age. (Southern culture doesn’t really address how to transition from being the one to say “Ma’am” and “Sir” to being the one called “Ma’am” or “Sir”. We’re on our own with this lesson.)
- I would rather have someone else tell me “no” than to tell myself “no” by not even attempting to do the thing in question.
And my latest lesson:
- There is a healthy level of selfish, an ideal medium between selfish and selfless. A lean toward either side, however, can make you a doormat or a bitch.
It’s being aware of and acting on your needs, recognizing and plotting how to achieve your wants, and basically, being better to you. How easy is it to focus on catering to others wants than to figure out yours? Much, much easier.
I have one stipulation. I will not veer from my moral code to accomplish my goals, which means that I will not hurt, steal from, lie to, or otherwise negatively impact others during my pursuit. This is non-negotiable. On the other hand, if others are offended by me while I am morally conquering the world, ehh.
Can’t please ’em all.