lnts #1: why is it so bad to put yourself first?
It's currently 2:12 AM and I had some green tea not to long ago so I don't plan on going to bed anytime soon (hooray college). So, while coping with my impending insomnia, I started reading some books I received as a gift. The first one I picked up, all of them by Ayn Rand, was called "The Virtue of Selfishness." And, just by reading the intro and the first chapter, I noticed that it basically summed up the essence of my life at the moment.
So I am deciding to share the wisdom and how it has applied to my life directly in a series I'm going to call: "Late Night Thought Series" (because I KNOW this will be a recurring theme).
We are taught from the early beginnings of our childhood that being truly good is doing for others. This leaves out the concept of doing things for ourselves. Or does it? By the associative property, that means that if doing for others = good and the opposite of doing for others = doing for oneself, then doing for oneself = the opposite of good. AKA if you act for yourself you're acting on evil presets; you're immoral... you're evil.
I like to think we are entering an age that's putting more emphasis on mental health and we have begun to praise those who seek assistance rather than berate them. But, unfortunately this mentality cannot be fully understood until adulthood. Because, at a young age we can comprehend that selflessness = good and selfishness = bad. I mean, what were we all told when playing with our favorite toy as kids? "Make sure you share." And if you didn't, you were being selfish. Then you feel guilty; you feel as though you are doing something wrong. At 6-years-old you can't understand that one day you'll grow up and be told that it's okay to go seek help and do things for yourself once in a while. AND, that it's OKAY and HEALTHY to do so. There will always be this voice in the back of your head saying, "No. Don't focus too much on yourself and what you want. It's WRONG."
But is it really wrong? Where do these values come from that are instilled into every ounce of our being from birth?
This may be getting too heavy. Wait, I just reread what I wrote and that's a lot to take in. I'm going to try and ground what I've talked about in my own experiences because that's what you're here for, right? My blog promises to document my own attempt in navigating happiness. So, here goes nothing.
The moments I look back on in my life as being the proudest, are all moments that I achieved something and in turn, received recognition of some sort. That would be okay in my eyes today if I knew that what made those memories so proud for me was the amount of myself I poured into those achievements; if I knew, deep down, I wasn't doing it for anybody but myself and someone just happened to recognize that and say, "Hey, that's cool." Yet, the truth in those moments dispel any sense of pride I once felt. For the entirety of my life I did things for others and never for myself. It wasn't until depression, cynicism, and an overall critical eye for human nature all stepped into my life last semester and stripped me of everything that grounded me in who I was and what I could be proud of. So moments like when I walked out of graduation with 3 awards in my hands, a degree, and hundreds of strangers clapping for me just don't give me the same satisfaction anymore.
I can remember being in my bathroom at 2 AM re-applying layers of makeup during an all-night cast party I was hosting while my boyfriend at the time looked on with this annoyed stare. "Why do you feel the need to do that? No one cares," he would say. "I CARE," I always responded. Because, in my head, I had an image of who I was, or who I was supposed to be, built on a false foundation of awards, achievements, and anything but self-proclaimed fulfillment. Others built me up and others tore me down.
If I knew then what I know now... Well I wouldn't change it. I guess I had to have that experience to understand how different and BETTER living could be. I try to not ever have regrets. Living in the moment is how I'm choosing to live now, and with that comes finding fulfillment from me and me alone. If I can build that base, a base of being truly proud of who I am, what I want and what I value without tailoring my outlook to a preconceived notion of how it "should be"... then if my other sources of happiness ever gets stripped away again, I have that base from which I can build upwards. I won't find myself in too deep of a hole of which I can't climb out.
And that's the biggest part for me in all of this... figuring out how to make myself happy and then creating a self-reliance on that... I don't ever want to find myself in a hole that has no light seeping into it. I think a part of me will always carry those dark memories with me. And, you know what, maybe those are what I can be most proud of... because not only did I make it through them but I have the confidence to face them again. Last time I felt too weak, too alone and too unsure to climb my way out from the bottom. This time I'm ready to fight.
۞ ally ۞