I had to dig deep and listen to what I was hearing under all the layers society has placed on me. All those titles I've accumulated as I've move through my life had to be examined and I had to choose where I would spend time and energy and where I would step back, by choice. It was always on the internal understanding that this was for my own health and sanity.
Yet people don't like that I was putting these boundaries in place. They don't like hearing no from someone whose 'yes' was always assured. The people pleaser in me needed a stern talking to on numerous occasions when I would've have allowed the opinions of others influence my decision. It was never a light hearted decision. With so many changes and forces beyond my control it was my way to cope with life day to day if that is what was needed.
I've seen less people and done more reading.
I've taken less photographs and written more words.
I've spent more time in my head through choice.
The time I have spent with others, as well as who those others are, has been carefully decided so that I am assured that I am doing the best I can for myself at this particular time in my life.
It is no secret that years of stress has had an impact on my health. As I approach my 40's I have to take this into account if I want to have a decent quality of life in later years. I have had to make the conscious decision to not only listen to my doctor and well meaning friends but also to listen to my inner voice which has moved from mere whisperings to full scale shouting in an effort to get me to slow down, and in some cases stop altogether.
The 'people pleaser' in me has had to take a step back so that my 'soul pleaser' could take a step forward.
I wouldn't have it any other way. Turning inwards has meant I have needed less validation from others and in particular others who don't necessarily have my best interests at heart. I realised I was seeking validation in places I didn't need to. I still have my insecurities and wobbles but I think I deal with them differently now. I understand that I can work through them and instead of just shoving them outside and barreling through life I try and rather stop, understand, unpack and heal. That itself is the biggest step forward for me in a long time. I have finally started to let go of things which still had the power to harm me if I allowed it.
I've had to put harsh boundaries in place and have walked away from opportunities that perhaps one day I may regret. However I've come to understand that everything does happen for a reason and at the time it is supposed to. So instead of allowing 'fear of missing out' to overwhelm me I have rather elected to miss out, knowing that my soul will thank me in the end.
I will always be working at this. Putting myself first is not something which comes naturally but it is something which I now recognise as necessity. Each time I make that decision to put myself first I am knowing I am being the truest version of myself that I can be.