I want to run down a list of #priorities in my life and see how many, if any, of you readers are on the same page as me. This list is in order of precedence and I’m active duty Army so please don't judge. You ready? Here we go:
My Job. I hate to lay this one here at the top but it’s an all too common reality in the military. I’ve grown to accept the fact that my family, regardless of my tireless attempts to prove otherwise, we always be second to this Career. While much of the military supports and encourages the whole “Family before Mission” dynamic, it rarely ends up working that way. I think it’s mostly lip service to shown those not indoctrinated that the military isn’t heartless and they truly do care about your family time. From the inside, we know it’s just some type of gaslighting.
My Wife. My Rock. My safe haven, my secure port in the tempest that is my career and current turbulent life. Without her willfully dragging herself along on this oft out of control freight train journey, I would be a hollow shell of a man. She is both my inspiration and my wellspring of happiness. I often quote Donald Merwin Elbert (don’t know this fellah? Look him up and read the book) to her: “my life for you”. She means more to me than I’ll ever be able to express, though I think I’m pretty good with the written word, I still find myself at a loss.
My Kids. Skyler and Kaylee. Wow! Sometimes I actually cannot fathom how AJ and I were blessed with such well adjusted, well mannered, phenomenal children. While frustrating at times (they’re kids after all, they frustrate you then quickly thereafter remind you exactly why you haven’t shaken them crazy), they are irrefutable reasons for me to know that life is beautiful and elegantly inspirational. I would move mountains for these little weirdos.
The Growing Army of Animals In My House. Because it is scientifically proven that you can have the shittiest day anyone has ever experienced in the history of man kind. You come home downtrodden and existentially beaten. A dog smiles his silly, nothing but love and admiration smile at you and everything just poofs away. It’s an amazing phenomenon for which I am always grateful.
My Friends. This category is really fluid due to the nature of our lifestyle. We change places and make new friends, it seems, about every two to three years. Occasionally, every year. But we always find good friends wherever we go and, since most happen to be military as well, they understand the trials and tribulations of the lifestyle. I’m grateful for each set of friends we’ve accumulated in the six states we’ve lived in. Friends are always a priority as, though I would like to think so, you cannot find happiness solely relying on your immediate family (wife, kids, pets, etc.). You need other people.
So there I am. These are my main priorities in my life. These five things wake me up every morning and propel me through my days.
Now before you keep reading, I’d like you to invite you to go back through that list and see if you share any similarities. Differences? Am I missing any glaring areas which would (should) require more of my attention? Check it out and come back once you’re done.
Welcome back (if you even left 😄)
Now here’s the rub. It has been brought to my attention recently that I have been neglecting an area of my life that should be at the TOP of this priorities list. I say brought to my attention but that doesn’t really do it justice. It’s more like it was a payload strapped to a rocket, loaded on a trebuchet and launched/fired straight at my face.
My therapist recently helped me realize that I couldn’t give any less of a shit about myself personally if I tried. I would much rather wholly serve a career which won’t even remember that I was ever there in a little over a year. Much rather devote all of my time and effort to making my family happy so I can live vicariously through their love and admiration because I have little to none for myself. If I were to add #selflove to the list above, there would be about 14 more list items, most likely blank, and number 20 would say something to the affect of:
”meh. I guess I could tell myself thank you, or some corny shit like that “
But it absolutely shouldn’t be this way. There are endless amounts of self-help books, YouTube channels, podcasts, magazines all espousing the corny wisdom of loving yourself. Some of them are a little too inauthentic for my liking. In fact, most of them feel like hokey new age gibberish that makes me extremely uncomfortable. But they’re saying important, helpful things, and I think they make me feel that way because I don’t love myself.
Here’s maybe one of the weirdest things I’ve ever said:
“I don’t think it’s worth taking the time to love myself as long as someone else is doing that for me”
Can y’all hear how utterly stupid that sounds? That’s a thought that often inhabits my inner monologue. Sure, we need people to love us. It’s a basic human need. A sense of connection and belonging is a powerful thing. But how much of that connection will you truly feel if you can’t convince yourself that you’re worthy of feeling it?
Are you a priority in your own life? If not, why? If not now, when? The most important person you know is the one reading this right now. You need to love this person UNCONDITIONALLY and realize that, if you can’t learn to love yourself, you’ll never truly find happiness.
Let’s talk about how to make that happen. My spirit guide, AJ, is pretty dang remarkable at all things affirmation and self love. She has been teaching me ways to be better to me.
One thing she is good at is this: Have you ever spoken aloud a #DailyAffirmation aimed at helping you realize your life is so much more important than you could ever believe? Daily affirmations are small sentences you can say, in a mirror, during a meditation, or just aloud, aimed at yourself and designed to reinforce the fact that you not only matter but also are worth everything you could imagine.
This may seem like an infinitesimal speck of inconsequential work. Often it feels stupid to tell yourself these things. But I think they sound stupid now because I still don’t trust that I’m worth the time but I think I owe it to myself to change this tune.
Do you find yourself in a similar situation? Have you ever thought about this? How’s your self worth doing? Have a little private conversation with yourself this week and ask some tough questions. Questions like: Am I happy? When was the last time I did something for myself without feeling guilty of neglecting other aspects of my life? You should be able to do stuff for yourself without feeling like you’re doing something wrong.
Thank you as always for reading. if you’ve got anything to add, please do. Let’s start a conversation about how socially acceptable it should be to love yourself without bordering on narcissism.