Dear Auntie, how do you get over the idea that you are always second or last place in everyone lives around you, even though they come first in your life?
I hear a lot of hurt in your question. I’m sorry that you are feeling less than you deserve to feel.
At some point, most of us will experience some hurt or disappointment from those we love. Some of us have been hurt more often and more deeply than others – that might be you. The irony of this is difficult to understand; ‘I think so-and-so is the greatest thing on this planet! Why don’t they feel the same way about me?’
Everyone will deal with this challenge in their own way and it seems that it is your time to confront this challenge. Or not. It is your choice to decide what to do, or not.
If you decide to make a change, here are some ideas. To put the power back in your hands, decide how you want to translate this. Meaning, you control what you take in, as you control what you put out. Does this mean because you now know this, that you’ll be able to do this right away and always? Probably not, this is something that does not come naturally for most folks. Most people spend a lifetime learning how to manage their feelings. It’s the practice and stumbling and getting back up that makes us better.
What you can do now…
- Be #1 in your own book – Ask yourself where do you put yourself? Do you put yourself second or last? Think about that honestly. One of our greatest challenges is to love ourselves completely. I mean all of us, even the imperfect parts. That means, the things that are shiny and the things that may need some work.
- Take a moment every day to appreciate something about yourself. For example, if I go for a walk, or eat an apple instead of chips, or take a moment to be kind to someone else, I’ll tell myself, “Good job Amanda”, or “I’m proud of you”. By doing this simple thing, you change your way of thinking about yourself. When you can see the important things you are doing for yourself, others will likely take note. Make it your challenge for the next week to notice the work you are doing to take care of yourself at least once a day (for example, making your bed, studying for 10 minutes, taking care of your skin). At the end of the week, reflect on any changes you might see in how you feel.
- Talk with your loved ones – it may be hard to talk to your loved ones about what you’re really feeling. You might feel vulnerable or worried you’ll be rejected. Decide if this is a risk you’re willing to take – it’s okay if it is not worth the risk to you. You can say something like, “There are so many things I appreciate about you (list a few). Sometimes when you do this (list) I think you don’t appreciate me. Then I feel (insert).” Take the conversation from here, keeping in mind you want to be respectful and not accusatory. You don’t want your loved ones to feel defensive or judged. Your goal is to tell them how you feel and how you would like to see things change. Know ahead of time that if this doesn’t work – but if you did it, you can walk away knowing you tried.
- Other Resources – because sometimes it’s good to talk things through with someone who is more neutral, talk with your school counselor, or a counselor from your tribal clinic.
- You can also Text START to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-8255 anytime day or night.
I hope this helps. I’ll be thinking about you and sending prayers and love your way. Know that you are loved and have a place in this world meant only for you.