All of my life I felt it was my responsibility to take care of those around me. I am the oldest in my family and have one younger brother. My parents depended on me a lot growing up because they didn't speak or understand English. Reading the mail and going to all kinds of appointments with my parents was normal. I was the translator. I looked over my brother who is 2.5 years younger than me. I can remember when I was 6 being home alone with my brother because my parents were out working. I know now that's a no-no, but they couldn't afford babysitting at the time. My parents told us never to open the door for fear of getting caught by the police. Craziness, I know, but I also know we are not alone and there are a LOT of immigrated families who have been through the exact same thing.
Being the oldest and Korean-American, it was ingrained in me from a very young age to take care of my family. This projected to boyfriends, friends and random people I have communicated with along the years. I was the caregiver. I spent so much time and energy attending to other people that I didn't even know what it was like to do that for me. Before I knew it, I was always catering to someone regardless of whether I wanted to or not. It became a sense of... obligation? Duty? Responsibility? I was the yes girl. I understand now where that mentality was rooted. I learned to take time-outs and spend time with me. I finally watched a movie, went on a trip and had a meal ALL BY MYSELF. It felt foreign in the beginning... but now I cherish it! I am exploring the world and I even registered for my first powerlifting competition. This is in NO WAY to brag, but only to tell readers how truly blessed I am to know the importance of loving myself. How can I take care of others if I don't take care of myself?
I had a client come into the studio and say how they hadn't taken care of themselves for years. The client had put on 30lbs and always felt tired and unhappy with the reflection in the mirror. The time had come to finally focus on self. I recently went on a trip and was once again reminded of just how valuable our lives were. The flight attendant said "secure your own mask before assisting others". How can you help someone else if you are passed out? You come first! Give yourself some TLC and don't feel bad about it! You should never feel guilty or sorry. Prioritize and love yourself!
I thought this revelation came late for me but it's never too late. Start now and evaluate your life. Have you been taking care of your body? Your soul? Your mind? I can't change my past but I can certainly navigate my future. You are so much more powerful than you think. And by the way, if someone ever tries to tell you that you are being selfish for doing something for yourself, ignore them. If they don't understand they probably haven't figured it out yet.. or worse ~ they are the selfish ones.