It’s only the second month of the year, but I’m already sensing a theme with my monthly challenges. And it’s a different turn with the challenges than I was expecting.
Last month, my challenge was to allow myself to be more selfish. It seemed like an odd challenge for me, but I tried to go into the idea with an open mind and see what happened. And I’m so glad that I did it because I realized that it was exactly what I needed to do. I was still friendly and helpful, but when there were circumstances that I could choose to do what I wanted or do something I didn’t because someone asked, I gave myself the freedom to pick what I wanted. Being selfish does have negative connotations, but to me this wasn’t about necessarily putting others last at all times. It was about letting myself be first from time to time when I knew deep down that it was the best choice for me.
There weren’t a ton of things that I was selfish about, but I did have some things where I debated putting someone else first over what I really felt was right. A good example was a date I had this past month. It was a perfectly fine date. He was nice, pretty cute, and we did have some things in common. But there was no chemistry there and I really felt like he wasn’t feeling a connection either. In the past, I would give him another chance and see if something could happen. And I even told a friend that was my plan. But he reminded me that if I didn’t feel anything I wasn’t obligated to see him again. I needed that reminder and I texted the date to tell him that while I had a nice time with him I didn’t feel the connection. And it felt like there was pressure taken off of me because I said what I wanted to. This guy might have wanted a second date, but why should I spend the time with someone I don’t care to see again? I have a feeling I’m going to keep working on this and finding when I can put myself first to make myself happier.
The idea of being selfish was a bit of an abstract one. There isn’t a great way to mark whether or not I was allowing myself to be selfish that day. When I had challenges like doing a lesson from an educational app or reading recovery books, I could easily say that I did it. I wasn’t selfish every day and that wasn’t the idea of the challenge. But the idea to remind myself that I had the option to do so was more of what I was tracking. I was surprised how much I liked having an abstract challenge. I usually love having ways to prove I accomplished something. But there was also a sense of freedom that a challenge didn’t require me to do it every day. So continuing on that theme, I came up with another abstract challenge for this month.
This month, I challenge myself to stop saying “I’m sorry” when I don’t need to. Women apologize all the time for things that don’t need to have an apology. If someone forgot to do something they told me they would do, I tend to apologize asking for it to be completed. That isn’t something I should feel sorry for. But I apologize because I feel bad that I am pestering them. I apologize for things that are other people’s fault. I apologize when maybe I should say “excuse me” instead because I am asking permission rather than apologizing after the fact.
This is a habit that I’ve been called out on in the past (mainly by male friends who don’t understand why I’m apologizing for something) and it’s been a tough habit to break. I don’t know when I started doing this all the time, but I know it’s been pretty much my entire adult life. It may be a self-esteem issue, I’m not sure. I do know that it does sometimes come out of embarrassment or wanting to not feel like I am bossy or demanding. But I also know that being bossy and demanding aren’t necessarily bad things. Sometimes those attitudes are needed and there isn’t a reason why I shouldn’t feel that way.
Just like my selfish challenge, I know that this one isn’t really just for this month. This is something that I want to work on for the long-term because I know I need to. But for this month at least, it will be a focus of mine and I’m going to work on how to fix this and be more aware of when it happens. And hopefully by the end of the month, I will at least have some answers about how to continue to work on this for the coming months.