Here are some things I’ve learned recently. Some of them should have been blindingly obvious all along, but there we go. That these are things I have had to learn is perhaps worth mentioning in and of itself.
I’m not an infinite resource. I can’t keep giving and being patient, and accepting, and not making a fuss when things aren’t ok for me. I can’t keep pretending to be ok when I’m not. If I do that, I don’t get to feel like a person and it gnaws away at my roots and eventually I will fall over.
I should expect people to care about me, and care if I am not ok. I should particularly expect this of anyone who claims my friendship. If a person is inclined to claim my friendship and make use of me, the very least I should expect is that they care about me. If I love someone, or I love their work, it does not give them a free pass to treat me any way they like. There is nothing unreasonable or demanding about needing to be something more than a resource to use.
If a person finds me too difficult, unreasonable, hard work or anything else of that ilk, it does not mean I am automatically obliged to try and make them feel more comfortable.
It is not my job to fix everything. If I cannot fix something, I need to admit defeat and own that it may not be mine to fix. I need to recognise my own limits. If I have to make myself smaller, tolerate pain, or sacrifice something of myself to fix a problem, I should really question that rather than cracking on with it.
I have some bloody amazing people in my life who have no qualms about challenging me when I’m being self-harming in these ways. I am going to pay a good deal more attention to the people who care whether I am ok or not, and who want the best for me. I am going to listen when they tell me not to do things, and I am going to take their concerns for me seriously. I don’t really know how to take care of myself and I’ve spent most of my life treating that like it doesn’t even matter, and not resisting the people who want to treat me like I don’t matter. I can listen to the people who do not want to watch me getting hurt, and I can learn from them.