Editor’s note: Liberty Forrest, author of several self-help books and a certified Law of Attraction Life Coach, asks you to think carefully about who is really the most important person in your life. Read more about Liberty.
By Liberty Forrest
Who is the most important person in your life? Your husband? Your girlfriend? Your best friend? Your mom or dad? Your child? A sports or celebrity hero?
If you’re like many people, there is probably an extensive list of possibilities and you’ll have to think about the question very carefully, trying to weigh up which one comes out on top.
And if you’re like many people, you won’t even have the correct answer on the list. That answer, my friend, is you. But of course, if you’ve been dealing with sociopaths, they’ll always believe you should put them first.
For a long list of reasons that are largely a result of your life’s experiences and environments, and in particular if you’re dealing with the damage caused by a sociopath, your self-esteem may well have taken a beating and prevented you from even considering that you have a right to be on that list. If that’s the case, hopefully you’ve taken steps to heal the dents and bruises that have hurt you so deeply.
Why Does This Matter?
If not, I’m here to tell you how important it is to do so. Of course it’s wonderful to have close relationships with loved ones, and with people whom you admire and respect.
But be careful when you think of yourself as “looking up to others” because this implies that they are superior, above you, or better than you in some way. I know it goes against your training at the hands of a sociopath, but that training is wrong. Be careful to remember that you have many qualities and strengths and are just as special and just as valuable as anyone else on the planet.
Okay, maybe you’re not able to do some of the things other people can do, but I can guarantee you that they will not be able to do some of what you do either. That is not an issue of worth or value. That is how we’re created. Each of us has certain talents and abilities, personality traits and quirks that make us unique and special. We can’t all do the same things — and we wouldn’t want that anyway.
But we are all of equal value, equal worth, no matter what you might have come to believe at the hands of a sociopath. You are making your own special contribution to the world. You deserve to be on that list, just as much as all of the other special people you placed on it.
We’re taught that being selfish is wrong — and it’s almost entertaining when sociopaths try to cram that down our throats, while being insanely selfish themselves. We’re taught to share, to give up our special toys and let the other kids play with them. We’re taught to give the other person the bigger piece, the nicer one, the best bit, the one with the most toppings, the last spoonful.
And there’s nothing wrong with any of that, as long as you give yourself equally special treatment in other areas. As long as you remember to consider that you are just as important. And especially if you’re choking on the double standards set out by a sociopath.
This Is How It Hurts You
If you spend your life always giving to others, doing for others, giving up pieces of yourself but never putting anything back, in time you’ll have nothing left to give but resentment and exhaustion (which you’ll probably work hard to hide). But they’ll eat at your soul, trying to demand that you listen and learn to look after yourself, too.
It’s a hard lesson – the one that is about taking a good dose of Vitamin “N” — which means learning to say NO to people so you can take care of yourself, too. After a sociopath has got through with you, it might not be easy to think of yourself as more important than everyone else on your list, but unless you do, unless you make yourself and your needs your priority, you will end up unhappy, frustrated and unfulfilled.
There is a healthy kind of selfish. It’s the kind that restores balance. The kind that says you are important, worthwhile and valuable, too, and that your needs deserve attention and respect, just like everyone else’s.
When you put yourself and your own wellbeing first, you keep yourself in excellent working condition and able to give to others. You’ll feel more able to have compassion, to want to help, to be able to support. You’ll be better able to give the bigger piece, the nicer one, the best bit, the one with the most toppings, and that last spoonful. And you’ll do it with a far more loving and generous heart than you would if you were completely selfless.
Being Selfless Ain’t So Hot!
Such an interesting word, that is. “Selfless.” We think it is so noble. But that’s only when we see the altruistic meaning that is normally attached to it.
But to be entirely Self-less is destructive and unhealthy. If you were never to discover your true Self, you would never be able to reach your potential and fully experience all the joy and beauty of life and the world around you. Sociopaths love to keep you from enjoying life; they dangle it in front of you like a carrot but yank it away the moment it looks like you might actually have just a glimpse at happiness.
Ironically, they are Self-less, meaning that they have little or no real sense of Self, not in a healthy and balanced way. Their identities are so tied up in the people they manipulate and control, they don’t really have a clue who they are. And they’re anything but Self-aware. That would mean having to recognise the way they’re behaving, take responsibility, and do something about it.
Of course, it’s wonderful to give and to share, and to treat others as though they are special to you when they are. But you must take care of yourself first, especially if you’re feeling depleted and drained because of a sociopath. Value and respect your needs, and honour yourself first. Otherwise, you will be running on fumes.
When you put yourself at the top of the list and make sure you’re the most important person in your life, you have the best chance to become all you’re meant to be. You can only do this, however, when you’re able to ditch the sociopaths in your life, or find a way to manage them, so they do not affect you anymore. You’ll be happiest and most fulfilled if you do this, and that’s why you’ll then be able to do more and give more to others than you could if you’re feeling frustrated and wistful about your own neglected needs and goals.
Do not be Self-Less. Find that perfect balance between looking after your Self, and looking after others. Be the most important person in your life. Treat yourself like the very special person you are. Make sure you’re treating yourself with as much care, compassion and respect as you treat others.
Your spirit — and everyone you love and want to help — will thank you for it. The sociopath will not. But then, that really isn’t your problem now, is it?
This article was originally published at LibertyForrest.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.