Monday, February 25, 2013

For Ourselves

"You can’t live your life for others"

Is something I say A LOT.

By which, I of course mean:

You cannot live your life trying to please everyone around you. In the end, the only thing you can do is what is right for you.

A very good friend of mine has recently been struggling with a decision.

I will call it: “The period of the shoulds and should nots”

I of course, had my own opinion of what they “should or shouldn’t do”, but I tried my best to be impartial.
(I’m not sure how good of a job I did).
As they worked through the problem, the should and the should nots, I listened and shared my opinions, but always ended on the same sentiments:

“You have to do what makes you happy.”


“You can’t live your life for others.”

One night (after another not quite successful debate in regard to the decision at hand),
my friend expressed guilt for the feelings of those affected on the “losing” side of the decision.

“Well … you can’t live your life for others” I said.

(Simply meaning that you can’t do something wrong for you – just because someone’s feelings might get hurt.)

We sat in silence for a moment

After a while my friend replied,

“Well…In a way that’s all you can do, isn’t it? Live your life for others. Because what is the point, if you don’t?”

At first I said nothing.
 I couldn't.

I had never really thought of it in that context before.

My friend was right.

My mind was kind of blown.

“Ha!” I bitterly laughed to myself.
They’re right.
ALL I do is “live for others”.

But it wasn’t REALLY news to me.
I often feel like all I do is “give".

As a wife and mother, pretty much all I do is live for others.
So much so sometimes that it can feel like a chore.
Dragging myself through day to day on a seemingly endless journey of other people’s needs.
Feeding and changing and dressing and washing and listening and loving…

Sometimes I wonder where I even went.
Is this what MY life has become?

A glorified “keeper”?

Is that what all of THIS is?

A life for others?

I thought about it.
What it all meant.
The sacrifices, the hard work, the sleepless nights, the changes…to…well everything,

And I realized:

I WAS living for me.

All of the things I have, I have because I wanted them.

My husband.
I CHOSE to marry him, not for him, but for me.
Because I couldn’t imagine my life without him.

Our children.
I CHOSE to have them, because I WANTED them.
I wanted them more than anything.

So in reality,
By living for others, I live for myself.
All of my selflessness was really selfishness.

My friend was right.

We had stumbled upon another one of life's double edged swords. 

If we didn’t live for others, what would be the point?
It seems to me that life would be very empty.

As much as we need to be true to ourselves we also need to be true to others.
 Because really, isn’t that all anyone can really hope for?

To be lucky enough to be surrounded with people to live for.


When I’m having a bad day, and I feel like I have nothing left to give to everyone, I try to remember –

I have, in fact, made my own bed.

And even though it can be uncomfortable at times, I’m glad it’s my bed.

I hope I’m lucky enough to sleep in it for the rest of my life.

What I live for.

oh...on a unrelated note-
I learned/ was reminded of one other thing that night;
(in regards to the period "of shoulds and should nots").

You  never really appreciate what you have until it is gone.
Or in this case,
Until it is almost gone. 


1 comment:

  1. Another great post - when times are tough, I always remind myself that people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. I choose to be happy! To everything there is a season - enjoy the spring of your life. Fall and winter arrive too soon. They have their own special joys (grandchildren being the best!)including happy memories of your children's "baby" days. Take care, Shelagh