My parents raised me to be one of the most caring people on the planet. They raised me to be a nurturer and to care about the feelings of every person I encounter. From a very young age I perfected the skill of anticipating the needs, wishes, and desires of my boyfriends, siblings, friends, and family— and it was fuckin exhausting.
While I believe my parents intentions were good; they simply wanted to make sure that they were raising a well-rounded, well liked, and well respected young woman, and not a bratty little psychopath, I feel on some level they did me a great disservice. They didn’t teach me how to care for myself as well as I did other people. They did not teach me how to give to others without giving every part of myself away. I don’t blame them. They can only teach what they know. I constantly watch my mother give herself away to everyone around her, and I’m often her sounding board and confidant when she’s reached her emotional breaking point.
A few years ago I decided to make a change. I decided I would no longer give myself away, piece by piece. It was a good decision, but it wasn’t easy. When you’re in the habit of giving yourself away to others, those others come to expect that behavior from you constantly, and when you attempt to make a change, you are met with great opposition, and often, anger.
When you are a sensitive person or an empath, having someone angry at you feels unreasonably upsetting. You feel guilty. Your mind wants to give in just so you can feel better. You reason with yourself that if you just do what they want, it will be quicker and easier than enduring the discomfort of their upset. Their upset feels to you like standing in the sun in the summer, sans sunblock for five hundred hours.
It took me several years of constant practice to get to the point where I feel like I can help my fellow sensitive ones learn how to care and still not give a fuck. So here are my tips, which I hope offer you much needed relief, comfort, and solace as you go forth on your own human journey.
- Define self love for yourself.
Self-love is a relatively new topic a lot of blogs and magazines write about. You cannot scroll through your Instagram feed without seeing someone’s post about it. But do we even truly know what it means? If we listen to magazines, it often involves a hot bath and an ad for some kind of new fragrance, leg shaving cream, or body lotion. And while all of those things are nice and have their place, each of us must define what real self-love is in more concrete terms.
For me, self-love meant saying no to people who took more than they gave. It meant walking away from toxic friendships, no matter how long we’ve known each other. It also meant not forming new ones. Sometimes it’s hard to let go. Sometimes you will feel lonely, but it’s worth it to have 100% of you.
- When to say fuck you
Sometimes in life, simply walking away accomplishes the self-love you need. And sometimes you need a little extra Oomph to make it stick. I’ve had people in my life who say they mean well, but their actions didn’t align with what they said. When asked to change, they never do. I have decided that good intentions don’t count for shit. Your actions and words must be completely congruent for you to play in my world, and I won’t accept anything less.
It’s amazing to me how many people put up with people who are unkind. Kind Friends, if we stop putting up with that shit, the world will be a much better place. I promise you. Demand that people who claim to love you or want to be your friend raise their standards. We owe it to ourselves.
- When to say fuck No aka No piggy back rides.
I can’t take credit for this one. I stole it from YouTuber Superwoman, Lily Singh, who is for all intents and purposes my spirit animal.
In her book, “How to be a Bawse,” Lily discusses how to deal with people who are your friends and want your “help” with their projects or their careers. Lilly is very successful, so it’s no surprise people around her want to benefit from her success. People are constantly asking her to share their videos with her 11 million subscribers. Lilly has a simple way of dealing with that. She says, no. Now this may seem mean on the surface, but she explains that you really don’t do your friend any service by giving them the elevator to success when you yourself took the stairs. I’m relieved that Lilly addressed this in her book. I’m not nearly as successful as she is, but one day I may be, and now I know how to handle it, and you do too .
- Dealing with the guilt and judgment
After you’ve drawn the line and you’ve made your boundaries clear, you will undoubtedly encounter people who will make you feel guilty or judge you for your choices. For a sensitive person this can be hard. But stay strong my friend. Understand that guilt is a useless emotion designed to manipulate your behavior. Understand that judgment is often unwarranted.
Instead of dwelling in those unproductive feelings, reassure yourself that you’ve made the right choice. Go for a walk, take that bath, watch your favorite show or movie, and just say fuck it.
That’s what I’m gonna do, because somebody somewhere is going to be mad at me about this article. Guess what?
I already don’t care.
I’m self loving over here!
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Jessi Jordan is a dog lover, cat lover, cheeseburger & pizza lover, optimistic multi-potentialite originally from New York City spending her LA days as a Freelance Writer/Photographer/Content Creator waiting to hear from Adele that she is ready to duet with her. She is constantly trying to cure her obsession with run-on sentences.
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