How can I put myself first in my life?
September 18, 2010 1:44 PM Subscribe
I've always been a "fixer/problem solver/peacemaker". How do I really
focus on myself instead of thinking about others?
posted by MultiFaceted to Human Relations (14 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I have always been the person who takes care of others. I can remember being very young and being the one that could figure out how to program the VCR or fix something (especially for my mom and sister, who got frustrated very easily). I've always been the one to problem solve a situation and work to bring peace and harmony to family conflicts. I sacrificed myself in my former marriage to make my ex husband happy. I'm the classic fixer. And I'm sick of it.
My therapist has asked me to set goals for myself in several areas, and I did that pretty easily. I've had the same goals in my head for a long time now (lose weight, exercise, learn new things, get involved in a social or church group) but I never take consistent action on them. I really want to make a major jump in my career that involves taking a risk, moving to a new area, and possibly going back to school. This goal excites me and gets me fired up inside. It's time to take action and put myself first for once in my life.
I have no idea how to do that. Last night I started thinking about researching doctorate programs and thinking about where I want to go. I literally got scared and my brain froze up. I began thinking about all the "what ifs"...what if I move away from a potential relationship? What if I can't afford it? What if screw this up? Exercising should be easy, but I can't get a consistent habit going and I always think about how I should be doing more or better. I also tend to make myself available for my students and say "yes" to them more than I should.
So, I'm looking for stories and advice on how to get over this hurdle in my brain. You have no idea how badly I want to put myself first and not worry about what others think or want from me, but I honestly can't picture what that feels like. Feeding into this issue is my fear of the "unknown"...I am uncomfortable with not knowing what to expect and that causes me to become paralyzed as well.
Where is this feeling of fear coming from? How can I actually put myself first in my life and (most importantly) feel comfortable about doing it? What will my life be like if I do it (this may be what I'm really struggling with)? How do you put yourself first and do things for yourself?
I promise I'm way more functional than I sound. This is stuff I've kept deeply buried for decades and it's time to deal with it once and for all. Yes, I'm in therapy...which is why this is coming to the surface and being dealt with.