Hello again, it’s me. Raya. It’s been so long, I feel like you probably don’t know who I am anymore.
To be honest, so much has happened and I am definitely not the same person that I was back in March, or even a month ago.
In making and experiencing the many changes and challenges that I have, I managed to neglect my blog and most of my personal goals and dreams, something that actually pains me to think about.
The truth is, this year was a major lesson for me in self love, self respect and making commitments to myself a priority.
We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded by voices. We are saturated with ideas and realities, that of our own and that of those around us, like our families, friends, social circles, society, the media, etc. Although we get through each day “managing” the over-stimulus of expectations from every angle, not many of us really manage to stay true to ourselves.
I, for one, have fallen victim to that, yet again.
One and two years ago, I thought I had conquered the battle of self-esteem, learning to accept myself for who I was in terms of the way that I looked and the character traits I possessed. I got fit and became more talented, gained more skills and a ton of knowledge that I didn’t have before. I was proud of myself. But I didn’t realize that it was just another small step in a journey that I would probably be on for the rest of my life.
In learning to accept myself for the person that I was, I started (or at least tried to) examine my dreams, goals and purpose for living, as most people do from time to time. I set goals that should have been achievable and I told myself that I could believe in my dreams. The truth is, I really do believe that anything is possible in the universe and if we pay the price and make the right moves, we can make anything happen. However, there were a lot of things that I overlooked and have allowed myself to struggle with in this past year. One of these things was my ability, or lack thereof, to keep a commitment to myself.
My life is full of commitments that I try to keep all the time. I have my son, my family, my school, my businesses, my friends and whatever other roles I have to play in the societies that I am a part of. But I never really took a step back to consider that amidst all of these commitments that I had made to the world around me, I had commitments that I needed to keep to myself too.
We live in a world where, ultimately, everyone just wants to be happy, whether or not they realize it yet. We do things to make ourselves feel good, even when we do things for others. We do things that make us feel good or make us feel good about ourselves. Even when we do the “right thing”, there is a subtle satisfaction that we gain from knowing that we did what was right, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
However, in trying to do the right thing, I have often found myself feeling like I was still doing the wrong thing. Or at least thinking so after realizing that in making one person happy, we are inevitably causing the unhappiness of someone else. Shitty buzz. No matter what we do, we have to choose what is most important and pursue that to the detriment of all else. Such is life.
For a long time now, I have been trying to make certain people in my life happy at the cost of sacrificing a lot of my own personal happiness. This meant putting my own goals aside to help someone else achieve theirs, including my dreams and sometimes even the little things that brought me personal satisfaction, like writing in my blog. A part of me felt good being “selfless”, but a part of me felt deeply unhappy.
I didn’t realize it then, but there really are “wrong” people to make sacrifices for. As a parent, I know that I will always have to make sacrifices for the benefit of my child and I’m okay with that. I will happily do that to ensure that my son is raised well and happy. But I found myself making sacrifices for others that, in the end, were not worth the sacrifice. In fact, I had been doing that for a long time in my life.
Earlier posts in my blog talk about how I yearned for social acceptance as a child. I used to make compromises for people in my social circles in order to feel like I was a part of something that mattered, and to feel like I was wanted. Growing up, I stopped trying to please groups of friends and hoping to being accepted on a social level, but I really didn’t stop doing that on a personal one. For example, I found myself in shitty relationships, hoping that if I made the other person happy, they would in turn return the favor. Boy, was I wrong, and so many times at that.
There are people in the world that will take advantage of your kindness, goodness and compassion. There are people in the world who will take your sacrifices as their convenience and use it willfully and deliberately at your expense. I had to learn that the hard way. A lot of the selfless things that I had done for the wrong people were taken for granted and not only did I NOT gain respect and appreciation in return for what I had done, but I ended up being used and losing out on what I could have done for myself, had I respected myself enough to keep my own personal commitments to me.
I thought I had gained control of my self-esteem because I no longer cared about the opinions of others in regard to my looks or who I was as a person. But a large part of self-esteem is also having respect and love for yourself, enough to know that sometimes you deserve to put yourself first too. I always felt selfish doing that. But in the end, my inability to give myself priority enabled certain other people in my life to make me less of a priority too.
Not everyone you give priority to is going to give you the same respect in return, especially when you don’t give yourself that respect in the first place.
By the time I realized that, I had already set the tone in my life that others had become accustomed to. The ones who had gotten comfortable with me taking a backseat in my own life were very uninterested in seeing me trying to change that. I had to put an end to a lot of the things that were happening in my life in order to make real changes. But I had to. I knew I couldn’t live the rest of my life being my own doormat. I had to start making my commitments to me a priority, and saying “No” to those who wanted to tell me that I couldn’t.
I’m not trying to be selfish or full of myself, but I can’t give myself less appreciation and hope that one day the world will make it up to me. The only person who can build or break my life is me, and keeping the commitments I make to myself is key to my personal power.
For a long time, I felt powerless. I felt like I was waiting for the right time to pursue my goals, without being in the way of others. I thought that if I gave other people’s goals priority, that one day they would turn around and do the same for me. But I realize now that this will never happen. Life doesn’t work this way. People don’t work that way. In fact, by not keeping my personal promises to myself, I felt like I was failing at the other commitments in my life too, including being a mother. It brought about another set of self-doubts that inhibited my potential to be all that I could be in every area of my life. After all, if I can’t keep a promise to myself, how could I keep one to anyone else?
The unhappiness that comes with failure is infamous and everyone dreads it. I have learned that a lot of our experiences with failure start with our feelings of personal failure when we can’t meet our own needs. We have a need to be validated but we often look for that feeling of validation in everything that is external to us. We don’t realize that once you make yourself valid in your own life, that need actually starts to become fulfilled. In fact, personal validation is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world, and it comes when you start to give yourself a little self love and respect.
Commitments to yourself are very important. For me, that means writing in my blog and being honest about a lot of things. It means going for the things that I truly know I need and want to do, like travelling for a living or telling stories that inspire women to be all that they can be. I’m sorry that it took me this long to finally wake up and decide that I was important enough to make my personal promises a priority. But I’m awake now. And I’m more serious about my life today than I was yesterday.
I’ve been working really hard in this last week to get my stuff together and build something that I truly believe in and could stand for, something I can say I did for myself and not because someone told me I should. I have dropped certain commitments to external situations in my life to make room for these changes, and I feel good about it. I feel like I’m growing again, and it feels amazing.
I know I am ready for the next step in my life now.
And I’m going for it.
You can follow my personal journey and the things I’m up to on Snapchat and Instagram, but I’ll be doing live video talks very soon too. That is also something I have been wanting to do for a long time.
I’m currently in Canada getting my next business set up before I start to fly around the world again. I know the sky is the limit and I’m going to enjoy the ride up.
If you want to talk or have something to say, feel free to drop a comment below or message me firstname.lastname@example.org
I know I’m not the only person in the universe who has struggled with personal commitments, and would love to hear your stories and feedback.
Either way, I’ll be here doing what I need to be doing, finally.
Follow my social media to stay posted.
Talk soon loves.