When I told my mum I’m leaving home 2 weeks before Christmas to go backpacking in Latin-America for a year she slammed the door and started crying. Choosing myself wasn’t easy, but it was the right thing to do.
Selfish is a word that we get to define. What I learnt over my 1-year trip is that many of us associate being selfish with something negative. But I also learnt to uncouple the negative emotion and the word, so I can define it what it means to me to be selfish. I don’t apologise for it anymore because I’m proud. I worked really hard to be able to prioritise my own happiness. Why? Because that is the only one that I can influence, what I’m responsible for and what I truly care about.
Off to see the world mum
So my mother acted out of hurt. When she calmed I tried again to explain that I know what Christmas means to her, but she needed to understand that it doesn’t mean the same thing to me. I can over eat at any day of the year with my family who I have nothing in common with. I made the decision to leave 2 weeks before the holidays because I wanted to go.
She felt stabbed in the back. But I never made decisions against her, I made them for me. Because it is my life, my happiness, my journey. Of course, I understood why it hurt her so much, but her love for me should not depend on my attendance to an event that happens every year. I explained to her that since I watched her for 27 years sacrificing for the family, for my dad and she never got to where she wanted to arrive, I didn’t want to follow those footsteps.
I never enjoyed obligations, hence I’m a college dropout, I quit well-paying and prestigious jobs every year because my free spirit could not deal with others telling me how to live, how much I can make, what I should wear and what events to attend.
It doesn’t mean no one could count on me. I was the first one who flew home when my mother needed me. I spent my happiness on her trying to get her out of deep depression, which dragged me into hers and I spent 6 months in bed because of it. I did what I was taught to do. Sacrificed. And I ended up on the bottom with her.
Then one day when I found out my 5-year relationship had been cheating on me all along I said: FUCK NO! I’m done putting people first. I’m first! Me! It’s my time!
They always told me I have to work hard to get to the top, I need to make sacrifices for others, I need to adapt my needs to others’. But they never told me that first I need to develop my personality, build my life, set my own values, reach unconditional self-love and theeeeen I can do the rest. Without completing my own personal journey, how could I give up anything, make someone happy, support someone else’s dreams?
Let the journey begin
So I made the decision to do the hard inner work I have been neglecting while staying single, on the road, for a year, away from family, away from distraction. And that’s why I left before Christmas. Making difficult decisions might involve hurting others because people usually take things personally, but we need to believe that this is the ultimate sacrifice for our own well-being. Choosing ourselves over others is so hard because of the word ’selfish’. So I changed the meaning of it, in order to feel good about choosing myself.
After less than 2 years, I finally found my happiness. I feel the butterflies in my stomach every day, I sing on the streets, dance in the shower, hug my friends because I prioritised myself. There has to be a time when you matter more than anyone else in order to get to where you want to go. Unconditional self-love.
By doing so I found everything I ever wanted. Passion, career, love, money, beautiful home, beach, travelling. Emotional blackmail doesn’t work anymore, guilt-tripping doesn’t work, jealousy doesn’t work. No one can tell me I should feel bad for putting myself first. I’m ready to make sacrifices for others now. But this doesn’t equal to putting someone else first. I will always be first. I have the power to make myself happy. If someone else takes on that job, I will lose that power and that person can take it away as fast as he gave it.
So I won’t stay out late because my friend needs a buddy to party with, I will choose the big slice pizza if there are only two left, I won’t be pressured into doing a favour I don’t want.
This journey made me the happiest I have ever been, living my dreams. Did this destroy any of my relationships? No. My mother still loves me and doesn’t hold grudges. If people I care about truly love me, they understand that sometimes distance brings us closer, we all need to discover ourselves before we can consider others and the love between us will always guide us back to each other.
Thanks to these learnings I became a life and self-love coach. I found my calling along the way. Sacrifices were only made for me so I can help many others to find their calling and live a fulfilling life. Thanks mum for being so understanding.