Do we have the right to prioritize ourselves and our well being? Is it selfish?

These are honest questions:

Do we have the right to prioritize ourselves and our well being? Is it selfish?

I have been trying hard to feel good, especially about myself and my life. My last 20 years in North America and many years prior to that at home, I always worked towards ending this frequent feeling of “feeling like shit”, “fear/anxiety”, “financial and other insecurities”, and “low self-esteem”. I naturally kept studying and working to keep my mind occupied with these so that I would not think about the existential thoughts. I felt better as a result, however randomly. The trap is that studying and working, especially in my highly competitive field with high failure rate and with rapid deadlines, also mean stress and feeling like shit again, experiencing anxiety, insecurities, and low self-esteem due to high competition and failure rate.

So, what is this all about?

Entire story sounds like delusion to me.

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I have been in North America for nearly 20 years now. I left my home-country, my family, and my friends for work, and then stayed. I like the safe and relatively peaceful atmosphere of Canada particularly, even though the economic situations are straining me and my work place is getting more and more toxic especially lately, but it is alright here. And I know that despite occasional racist and discriminative treatment here and there (which really annoys and is so wrong), I believe I feel much better here in Canada than I would somewhere else.

Being away from home and family is never easy. Home is home and family is the most important thing in life. Yet, when being with family and your well-being do not go side-by-side, what do you do? Emotionally, I want to go back, but logically I know this is not the right decision, at least for now. So I stay and I refuse the demands from my family to go back.

I am not convinced that I can survive mentally there, not unless I changed the way I think and deal with things in a more healthy way. Otherwise, I see myself easily in more anxiety, stress, and depression. Who can benefit or be happy with this? Neither me nor my family. I cannot get my family understand this. They think that I can earn much more money, have less stress and issues that I experience or may experience, and feel better there with the support of my family. I do not buy this. I cannot buy this.

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So, my family needs me, yet by prioritizing myself and my well-being, I deny them the help (financial or emotional) they expect from me. This naturally creates conflicts and lots of negative emotions and encounters between me and my family.

Tell me; how selfish am I to do this? Keeping myself rather in a stable and peaceful place that I believe is better for my mental health at the expense of abandoning my family except seeing them annually for a month or so, calling them every off-day, and financially helping them when they need it most?

I believe it is selfish. That is why I feel like shit as well.

As I said, the entire story looks delusional.

 

 

 

why do we need to feel good?

At one point in my life, many years ago, I was feeling really bad. As a result I turned into books to understand these feelings, their causes, and how to better deal with the thoughts and emotions as a result.

One thing that misses usually from my overall look at life is trust; trust that things will turn out just okay. Trust that I will be able to handle things well. I now am somehow better in this area if I can remind myself.

My other big habit is to not let go of things, plans, wishes, or wants easily. I believe that they take quite a time and effort to come up with, organize, and execute. These, if not followed with success, eventually it leads to frustration and self-doubt. That hurts and amplifies the the first trust issue; trusting that I will be able to handle things well. This being said, not being an easy dumper is also good sometime, as many things in life require more than mere luck and rather lots of efforts and patience. I have good examples of relatively big success came by not quitting and constantly working towards the aim.

The third would be to have a sharp focus. This is great when there is a task at hand, but not great while dealing with life issues, which are often more complex and repeating in nature. Seeing the big picture, my own and the issue’s place within everything life offers can be quite illuminating; after all what is the big deal as long as we are safe, sound, alive, and able?

I once was silly enough to complain to one of my friends about my own itsy bitsy issues a few months after she has lost her dad. I apologized when I realized what I was being so selfish and insensitive to my friend. She did something amazing and gave a piece of wisdom; there was no pain little or big enough; pain is pain and it fills us almost immediately; fast and expandable. I love this definition, which is so true. But I still want to get out of the room of the pain and see the other things in life. This change in the perspective is healthy, promotes positivity, and eventually calms me.

if there is another thing that calms me is to surrounder to pain. I was not able to understand the meaning of this for years, but one day it just came; I was struggling to decide on something critical, very, critical, and after a long and painful internal fight, my shoulders just dropped. Decision was made by my body. I had failed to make the decision I so long wanted to make. But I could not take it anymore. Fight was over. Pain was pain, but less than the pain my internal fight created. Failed to make the best decision? Yes. Succeeded in surviving my turmoil? Yes. Life can be this messy sometimes.

We have so many examples of hardship in our lives. So many mistakes and resentful memories, actions, words, and behaviors.

What is the solution?

Keep going?

or

Forget these or forgive ourselves? 

 

The second day of the “work” staycation

Today went well too; worked more or less without much of a distraction and it felt good to be able to do this.

My anxiety levels are still high, though, and unless I find a way to reduce it, I am afraid it may escalate. So I will be making a good effort to go back to my routine tomorrow; thank goodness it is Saturday tomorrow and I will fill it up with my regular activities, such as cleaning the house, picking up milk from a store, doing laundry, preparing my sourdough for over night rise, and speaking with my family. I must also clean up the yard and pick the weeds and other unnecessary life forms. I never knew how much I would appreciate my daily (and often times boring) highly structured life-style.

I am familiar with anxiety accompanied with shallow breathing and the feeling of being scared of something, someone, a thought. I try to not resist but rather relax into it and mediate the situation with some meditative music and focusing on the positives; I have a great family who supports me; I am doing great work; my home and yard are at a much better shape than last year; I keep budgeting and living frugally; I try to find joy and happiness in little things; there is a wonderful weather outside; I was able to keep my window open the whole day and have fresh air inside; I have good friends who are happy to socialize with me and help me if needed; I have usually a great job that provides me with more than enough money (even though it also makes me feel inadequate – the main reason of my latest anxiety boot).

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I feel angry at the conditions that limits me at work and my performance; i am angry at the funding situation for our projects; I am angry at the endless competition we undergo to achieve something; I am angry at the economy; I am angry at myself for not saying “no” more often and often ending up doing other peoples’ works. I am angry at myself for not focusing on the positive and the big picture we call life, rather than all the little antsy bitsy things that I let to annoy me.

I want to feel good and I know that as long as I have this wish, this anxiety will not go anywhere. Wishing to feel good by running away from what I am experiencing is a form of resistance that makes things worse. It is so counter intuitive. I know there are things that I will change and improve as a result of this experience. I just do not know what they are.

The best remedy for anxiety is to trust the unknown. I need to trust to life, the universe if you will, people around me, and more importantly, myself. I may fail at work according to my own or others’ criteria, I know I will get up being better and stronger out of this hurdle. Maybe I will turn things around by being a little bit more smart in protecting my own time and energy, a little bit more lucky, or by changing my own attitude towards myself, my life, my work, my colleagues, my hopes, and my failures. 

I know all of these. 

Now it is time to believe in them.

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