In 2013, Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s sang this song Running For My Life and in turn my late uncle Charles Ray Player, Sr., would sing this song in the church choir. We buried my Uncle on February 2, 2019 and the choir song this song which continued to resonate with me with regards to life continuing to happen to me. The song is simple in which the first verse states: “I’m running for my life, running cause I want to see Christ, I’ve made up in my mind, I am going to run while I still have time.” While I do want to see Christ hopefully far in the distance, in 2018, fight or flight kicked in and I found myself running for my life because I wanted to finally see myself and I wanted to bet on me. I decided to take flight, because I was tired of fighting this ocean called life with other people who were not or are not necessarily willing to survive storms with me as I have with them.
Sometimes in life we lose ourselves in various ships such as relationships, friendships, workmanship, and organizationships (if that is not a word, I just made it one). We have these various ships in life where we act as the anchor and the vessel, but who is there to anchor us and by us, I mean, the ones who put everything and everyone else first before themselves. We hold everyone down, keep things grounded and we keep things rowing and moving. It becomes commonplace for people like myself. Literally, we are running from our lives and just letting it go to waste. Sure we may be happy at times during this period, but we are also drained from being so much to everyone that we forget about the number one. The number one is yourself.
For as long as I can remember, I have put my family and everyone before myself. To a certain degree I was a people-pleaser, so used to saying “YES,” that “NO” was not a word I even dared to speak. To be quite honest, if you would have asked me about what my boundaries were, I really couldn’t tell you. In 2018, I found myself unhappy and unfulfilled in all of the ships of life that I mentioned above. I experienced some very hurtful things that year and I don’t wish my experiences (we will get to that later) on my worst enemy or any of the people who played a role in hurting me. Even in those experiences, I am glad to have had those experiences because it allowed me to see people for who they really are and their true feelings through their actions. In all honesty, it allowed the fight or flight to kick in and I began to run for my own life.
I began to run for my life as hard as I could by taking the necessary steps to put myself first. I was literally in a situation that when I looked in the mirror, I hardly recognized who the hell I was. I had all of these accomplishments, what I thought was a beautiful life and here it is, I can’t even look in the mirror. I was angry because I had poured so much into people who I genuinely loved, and I was taken for granted. One day, I looked up and said this can’t be what God intended. I had to take a chance and bet on my own self and see my own self in the mirror. I was broken—no doubt, but when I took off running for my own life and putting myself first, there was no turning back.
Sometimes we can take ourselves for granted and forget about the things that make us happy. The bottom line is you can’t be the anchor, the vessel, and the whole ship for everyone else before you are those things to yourself. In getting back to putting myself first and finding out other things about myself, there were five lessons that I learned:
- Detachment is Necessary.
- Saying No is Necessary.
- Setting Boundaries is Necessary
- Taking Care of Your Mental Health is Necessary
- Taking Care of Yourself is Necessary
These are literally the steps that I had to take in order to get to taking care of myself and putting myself first and these are the steps that you can take to begin taking care of yourself. My mother always told me, “You shouldn’t worry about anyone else, because while you are worried, the other person you are worried about is probably sleeping.” This is true because while you are so busy pouring and saving everyone else from themselves, are they going to be able to withstand the time to pour into you and save you without motive to get something out of you. The answer is NO they are not. No one will ever love you as much as you love yourself and when you lose yourself in these various ships of life—you forget to love yourself, which in turn gives people a one-way ticket to walk all over you at your expense.