The way I think has certainly changed with each year that I grow older. As a child I was tricked into believing that everyone would always know what I want and it would be magically provided. I just expected that someone would always be there to take care of my needs. That’s what adults do. They cater to children from the time they are born. When a child cries he is immediately placed in someone’s arms. When a child is hungry, that child is almost immediately given food and when a child whines, what do we do to stop the whining? I don’t even have to say the words. We are just groomed to believe that our needs are important and they should be met in a timely fashion.
As a teen and a young adult, it was disheartening to find out that not only would my needs not be Immediately gratified, but most people didn’t even know or care about what my needs even were. I would quietly stew in my room or in the corner of a room because I actually believed that everyone everywhere should recognize exactly what I want. I never had to ask for anything before, they just knew so why wasn’t I that important anymore? So began the woe is me phase. No one cares, I’m not important. Everyone sucks. Ahhh…the victim stage.
Once I had kids of my own I saw how the balance of the whole concept blended together. As a parent, I too began to meet the needs of my own children and at the same time sacrificed my own. Tired? Too bad, I have kids now and I am on their schedule. Hungry? Oh well, my child just pulled the last bite of food out of my mouth to eat it herself. This is the time we believe we are supposed to sacrifice ourself for the needs of others. Our actions actually teach people that we are not important and that their needs come before our own.
Enter the teenage children stage. This is definitely the time a parent smashes into a brick wall. It hurts and the pain stings as we watch the selfishness take over our teens whole demeanor. The lightbulb comes on and the sirens go off and finally reality and truth hit us harder than Muhammad Ali. We realize that we have created our own monster and we have to again show the world that we too are important. That our needs are just as important as anyone else’s and denying oneself that right becomes a thing of the past.
So, what did I learn as I approach my 43rd birthday? I’ve learned that there is day that I am special. A day that my life will be celebrated. I day I will no longer expect those around me to surprise me or have a clue what I want. This year I will throw my own little party at the place I want on the day I want. Whether anyone even shows up doesn’t even matter. What does matter is I will be where I want to be doing exactly what I want to do with the people that are kind enough to be there to be part of my plan. It is okay to put yourself first. It is okay to tell the world what it is you want and it is okay to yell to the world “I am important!” Remember, you teach people how to treat you and if you always put yourself on the back burner, others will too. Think about what message you have been sending to others. Are you important?