How do you treat others that are close to you? Do you shower them with love and give them gift on their birthday or for Christmas? Do you check in with them to see how they are doing? Are you their cheerleader? Are you willing to be there at the drop of a hat? Do you desire to make them feel special?
Do you treat yourself the same way?
I’m that person I described that treats those close to me really well but I haven’t done the same for myself. I mean, I buy things I want, but I struggle to pamper myself. I definitely suck at making myself feel special and am not my biggest cheerleader. And I most definitely treat others better than I treat myself. But why?
I believe the answer to that lies with how my parents and siblings treated me as well as the early relationships I can remember. When it came to my parents, I was always in trouble for something that either my older sister or younger sister did. I also was always in trouble for wanting to my own thing separate from my younger sister. I absolutely hated Barbie’s, but my younger sister loved them and I was forced to play with them with her. When it came to getting gifts for myself, I always had to share them with her. I remember getting a simple volleyball net set for my sixteenth birthday and as I was putting it up, my younger sister was saying something, I can’t even remember what, and I yelled at her. I got in so much trouble and was pretty much told my gift would be taken back if I wasn’t willing to let her decide what to do with it. I really don’t actually remember using that set much after that.
When I look back, I see all of the reasons why I am not special or why I don’t deserve some pampering. So I’ve never made it a priority to focus on myself. I mean, every year we have a Memorial Day barbeque and have friends over, and my birthday usually is right before, on, or right after the three-day weekend. I make it a point to tell people we are not celebrating my birthday. My birthday isn’t a big deal and that’s not why we have people over.
As the years have come and gone, I’m beginning to feel overlooked. I have made a big deal about Eddie’s birthday eight out of the ten years we’ve been together. The two years that I couldn’t were when we were doing IVF and found out that it was unsuccessful on his birthday and during the pandemic. The birthday overshadowed by the IVF cycle still eats at me today, and he still got a big gift this past birthday during the pandemic. Now, please do not take it as Eddie is doing anything wrong, because he isn’t. We are two very different people and I do not expect him to make a big deal every year. He actually tells me every year that I don’t need to make a big deal out of his birthday, but I feel horrible if I don’t. Hell, as I’m writing this, it is my dog’s birthday and I’m conspiring as to how I can make her feel special even though she has no idea what would be going on.
I know friends and acquaintances that celebrate their birthday’s all month long. I’ve thought it was weird, but I’ve also been somewhat envious of them. I mean, how do they have that many people who shower them to make them feel special for a whole month? I really didn’t know so I did a Facebook post with my close friends and asked. It turns out that OTHER people don’t plan the activities of the birthday month, they do. Mind blown!! You mean, you purposefully draw attention to yourself to make yourself feel special and people are willing to participate? What the fuck? Seriously?
I really want to focus this year on treating myself better. Giving myself more grace to not do things that I commit to, either for myself or with others. Giving myself special treatment. Doing things because I want to rather than worrying that I don’t matter because I didn’t contribute this or that to life. Making decisions for my future based on what I want rather than trying not to piss other people off. Choosing who to let in or keep close to me so I can design the life I want to live. Being willing to show myself some love and standup for what I want and need.
As part of this desire, I want to treat myself special for this birthday. I am turning 35 in a couple of months and I feel like I should finally demand to feel special. I’m going to celebrate my birthday for the entire month!! And I’m going to request that we purchase myself a big gift for this birthday.
I made that declaration to Eddie a month or so ago, and felt all in on it. And now as the time has gone by, I am wavering on it. I mean, it’s the pandemic so there is no way to focus on or celebrate my birthday with the people closest to me in the safest of manners since none of us have the vaccine yet. And also, why would I even deserve to spend that much money on myself on one gift?
So many thoughts of why I don’t deserve to treat myself special have shown back up on the endless movie reel in my brain. My thoughts go back to the self-critical thoughts about why I don’t deserve to be special or treated the same. Before I started writing this post, I read this quote by Foster C. McClellan, “Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.”
The more I limit myself in any way, or the more I tell myself I don’t deserve to be treated BY myself FOR myself the way I treat others, the farther I get from creating the kind of self that I will be happy being and living with for all of my life. I want to be my biggest cheerleader and treat myself as good as I treat others, but it is uncomfortable as hell. I don’t know how to overcome this way of limiting myself other than pushing myself to do what feels uncomfortable.
Living in my comfort zone is leaving me sad and jealous. And frankly, a bit bitter. I don’t understand why others don’t show me the same love that I do them, but then I remember, I’ve shown them how to treat me by treating myself as I don’t matter. It’s time for me to show myself that I matter and am special. If I truly want to be treated like I treat others, then I need to treat myself that way first. It all starts with me. This is the year that I get even more uncomfortable and treat myself better than I treat others. Life begins when we push on the walls of our comfort zone.