Me Before Them

I've really struggled to step away from the frustration I have surrounding this particular topic, which has become a Donald Trump-size pain in my arse! I'm going to be a bit of a Debbie Downer here, so bear with me while I attempt to write something that makes some sort of sense.
I've never been one to tolerate people who are rude or thoughtless, its been a pet peeve of mine for years now.
After the smallest of my beans was born, I was keen to get back to work and ended up in a job I was really good at and really enjoyed. Well, I enjoyed the work, but the some of people weren't necessarily quite as pleasant. I started that job as I start everything, I go in with all guns blazing, full of enthusiasm for whatever lies ahead. I have always been a people pleaser and more so in a workplace, where I thrive on praise and the knowledge something I have done has been helpful for someone else. Working in customer service for years you learn how to make someone's day a little better. After a while though, making the effort to do well and to please people becomes a bit like cocaine. You need that praise and the buzz of seeing someone happy because you have been kind or helpful, more and more each time you do it. Eventually, when you realise the people around aren't the same, the resentment starts to settle in, it's like a disease that eats away at your mental state of mind.
It's a lovely thing to be able to do, to make someone's day nicer, brighter or just a little easier, but somewhere through the years I really started to resent the time I spent going out of my way to help people. I'd automatically offer to help or go out and do something for someone without being asked, it like a mothers instinct, it's inbuilt and it's something that isn't easily fought. On the odd occasion, however, I would need help, no one seemed keen to put themselves out. Working back late every day because someone else hadn't finished their work started as no big deal, but eventually the lack of acknowledging the fact other people had a home to get to started to irritate me, I wanted home to my kids, to get settled for the night, but more than that, a thank you would have been so appreciated.
When it becomes an expectation that your time is less important than anyone else, something has to change.
The shifts I would cover at the last minute to help out no longer started to feel like the money was worth the hassle I'd had trying to get babysitters. Sometimes I would be in tears just at the fact some of the staff would be aware I was stuck and rather than offer to help, I'd have to ask, with the answer almost always being, sorry I cant. Each one with a husband or partner. Yet it was me, the single mother juggling two kids that really tried.
Ater a few years of feeling upset and underappreciated I left a job I was doing really well in. The pay rise I was given wasn't honoured and my rate definitely didn't reflect the workload expected of me. There had been bullying within that workplace for a long time and I know it's something that continues to this day but bullying is another subject entirely. For me, it was always more about the fact I felt pushed to fight my natural instincts to help. Eventually, you have to make the choice to put up with it and feel like a doormat, or cut and run. And I ran.
My dad always told me to stop putting myself out for other people unless it suited me and I have never been able to do that, so running felt like my only option.
Its something that has become a theme over the years, I have to remove myself from whatever relationship I feel is becoming one-sided. Only last week after a small family tiff over the new year that I've been furious about, dad, again with the words of wisdom, said if I keep festering over the things people aren't doing then I will only end up being bitter and miserable. Whether it's something they sound have to dine or not, I can't change that and it's only me who is hurt by it.
I decided after long reflection he is in fact right. (just don't tell him.)
I had to ask myself why am I so intent on trying to go out of my way for other people, when really, after the hardest few months of my life to date, there hasn't been many people around to help me or the kids through it. There was genuinely not even a handful of people who helped out, family included, other than the parental unit and two friends.The frustration that left me with always then intensifies when I see people I've helped so many times, help others, who have never done anything for them.
I know, I sound like I see myself as a martyr, and I really don't. I know my flaws better than anyone and am outrageously open about them. I am, as my mother has told me numerous times in my life, "a hard person to love." I'm hard work and high maintenance but I really do try to be a good person. One of my friends commented a few weeks back, saying I was the most thoughtful person she knows, and it felt lovely to hear, but the thing I've had to think over more and more recently is, will I actually be a happier person if I start to think of myself? If I treated myself to something nice after a crap day, would that be more beneficial to my mental health then being kind and treating someone else who has had a bad day?
The answer is Yes!
For someone who hated being in her own company from a small age, my journey over the last few months has a) shown me who I can rely on and b) that the time I allow myself to do what I want is far more satisfying. It benefits my humans more.
I read and write when I want. I work for myself so I don't have to deal with ungrateful colleagues. The work I put in is purely for myself and those little beans I birthed. It makes the days work is hard or tiring feel more worthwhile because I'm doing it for us and not to please anyone else. Or make anyone else money for that matter.
I don't feel as alone as I have in the past. I'm learning that you don't have to be surrounded by or liked by a lot of people to feel content. Quite often the more people you have around the lonelier you can feel. I now know I have to appreciate me and my worth. I teach those humans if mine to always know their worth and never compromise what they deserve. For once I am listening to my own advice.
Running with that instinct in me to make everyone else life that bit better has been the thing that has made my life that bit worse. Self-care, learning to love who you are and not who other people think you are, that's more important than seeing a smile on someone else face. Looking in the mirror and seeing a smile on your own face is far more valuable, and will, in the long run, attract people who are more deserving of your time.
Xx

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