Recently I got called selfish by a former friend. This is the second time in 5 years that a former friend has called me that. You know when they say if you see a pattern in your relationships with people then you are most likely the root cause of the problem. So if I am the root cause of this selfishness, you may be surprised to learn that recently I’ve come to the realization that being called selfish is not something I have an issue with.
The word selfish is such a bad word in our vernacular, but the more I go through life the more I question its meaning. Of course I don’t mean selfishness as in a way of hurting people or pushing people down to get to the top. We should all try to help humanity as a whole. For me when it comes to your personal relationships with people, the word selfishness can take on a whole different meaning. The older I get the more I realize that the strongest, longest, most pure relationship I’ve ever had is not with my parents or friends or siblings, but it’s the relationship that I’ve had with myself. In the “Sex and the City” movie there’s a profound moment when Samantha is talking to Smith Jerrod and says “I love you, but I love me more.” I’ve been so conditioned that when I heard that I thought she was making the wrong decision putting herself first, but the older I get the more I realize theres power in pinpointing what you want and need and not settling until you get it.
Learning more about attachment theories and my attachment style has made me really look back at my life and past relationships (and they don’t have to be romantic) and reevaluate what exactly happened and where it went off the rails and it made me analyze something that I always knew was there. At the core of a lot of my issues in relationships it comes down to the fact that I am a people pleaser. But I don’t stop with being just a people please, I want everyone to like me and I am ok with playing a certain role in order to be liked. I am a Leo Moon and a Libra rising so I never know if I was just predestined to be like this, or if it stems from my childhood trauma. Honestly I think it’s a combination of both. In my friendships I’ve noticed that I am happy being the “best friend” you know the one that is selfless and is cool and will always listen to your problems and be there for you not demanding or expecting much in return. Well the older I get the more I think (and excuse my language) F THAT! Why should I be the best friend? Why can’t I be the leading role in my own life? Why can’t I have my wants and needs met? Why does compromise always mean we do what the other person wants?
I think being what people want me to be comes from the fear of being abandoned and from the fear that if I express my wants and needs and boundaries from the beginning the other person might not accept them and leave. However the inevitable always happens, I get fed up of meeting other peoples needs and having mine constantly ignored and then I blow up which for me manifests in a way of ignoring people and literally going through life like they don’t exist. My fear of being abandoned and not liked becomes reality because in the end after my dramatic show of discontent they leave anyway and I can’t say I blame them. However, it doesn’t have to be like that! Recently I’ve been practicing expressing my wants, needs, and boundaries, in my relationships and the possibility is always there that they might not accept that and leave. However, the older I get the more I realize I’d rather have that than invest my time and effort into a relationship that I am not happy with for it to end anyway. Let me be selfish from the beginning and tell you what I want and need and take my chances that the person will not meet them and know that in the end I honored myself and put myself in the starring role.
Recently I started talking to this guy and something that really bugs me about that relationship is that he doesn’t text me and check in with me during the week. The old me would’ve begrudgingly accepted that until my heated anger grew and grew and I would’ve just stoped talking to him. However, I let him know how that makes me feel when he doesn’t take 20 seconds out of his day to shoot me a text and check in with me. Well guess what happened? Nothing! He was receptive to what I had to say, but his behavior didn’t change at all! And honestly I am ok with that. Theres nothing wrong with him, but there’s also nothing wrong with me either. We just have very different wants, needs, and boundaries that will never be compatible and at the end I have to do what’s best for me.
Life will have its ups and downs and just because the first ten tries don’t go my way doesn’t mean I will abandon the practice. In my opinion, texting somebody during the week to check up on them and how they are doing isn’t too much effort, however, for some people that is and I have to be ok with that and just accept my losses but not abandon the practice of honoring myself and letting people know what I want and need. Because it didn’t work out with him doesn’t mean that I am lost forever or I am defective or asking for too much. Honestly I felt apprehension at first at the thought of being so raw and vulnerable, but after I told him my boundaries and what I need and want I felt so mature for my age to be able to express that. There’s truly power in vulnerability and I really felt that!
At the end of the day, you have to be your own best friend. You have to be the one that lives with your choices. I am no longer ok with putting my wants, needs, and boundaries on the back burner to placate other people just so I can be liked. I don’t blame the two people who have called me selfish because to them I did a complete 180 from the person that they met and I apologized to both of them for hurting their feelings in my approach to the situation. I am sorry for acting so dramatic in my self-discovery journey and for any hurt or confusion that I may have caused them in what was essentially me ghosting them. It was not the right choice and completely immature especially for a 30-year old. However, at the end of the day I am not sorry for being selfish. The only thing that I am sorry for is not expressing my so-called selfishness from the beginning.