There comes a time in a person’s life where one must learn to make unpopular decisions that protect themselves and their emotional world. I think I must be at this point, because I find myself facing a number of decisions which will ultimately improve my own life, but potentially upset the lives of others. These decisions aren’t just surrounding my personal world, but my professional life, my health, my family and my financial sphere.
The thing about unpopular decisions is that they’re never going to make everyone happy, and more often than not, in choosing what is right for you, you ultimately upset others and potentially cause drama. That makes them not only unpopular, but difficult, and as such, these decisions require a lengthy amount of consideration and thought before handing down the verdict.
As a follower of Jesus, one of the hardest things to do is put myself above others. We are taught from childhood to love others as your love yourselves, to put others needs ahead of your own gains, to turn the other cheek and forgive as many times as is required. But I think people lose focus on the second part of the statement: As you love yourself.
I find it incredibly hard to stand up for myself when it potentially means hurting someone I care about, and for this reason I often run myself into the ground and neglect the inner voice telling me that I need to rest, and take care of myself. The pressure to stay in full time work is an example of this – caught between the need to earn money to survive and thrive in life, and the need to work less in order to take care of myself, healthwise and emotionally. So even though I know I have my husband’s support to lower my hours, I am driven by my want and need to help get us where we need to go, and it is costing me my health, and my happiness.
I love that God appoints people in our lives who can see our blindspots, and my husband is one of these people for me. He is able to accurately point out, ahead of time, areas in my life that will become stress triggers for me. Some of these include relationships, some of these include habits, and so on. It is incredibly difficult for me to take advice from him, regardless of that ring of truth to his words, because it somehow reflects poorly on my abilities to have clear insight and vision into my personal and professional world.
Over the past few years, my husband has identified blindspots in my vision surrounding a number of unhealthy relationships that are causing me deep stress and anxiety. It has been difficult to admit that his advice was right, and even moreso, to go about actioning the separating of myself from the stress and anxiety I have allowed into my life by ignoring his advice.
The past year of life has been extremely stressful and has taken its toll on me, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically, to the point where I have realised I am permanently in a state of defense. I now recognise that it is not normal to feel a tightening in my chest each time I open an email or check my phone. I have been in flight or fight mode for far too long, and the result of this is that I am now faced with those unpopular decisions; decisions that will be extremely difficult to make, and even harder to stick by.
My body is telling me enough is enough. The constant heart palpitations, the surge of adrenaline each time my phone vibrates, the panic attacks at the mere thought of getting out of bed each day. The hair loss, the weight gain, the worse-than-usual sleeping patterns and the feeling of being absolutely overwhelmed to the point of fury or futility at any given second.
So in conclusion to these things, I am making some very big changes in my life, effective immediately. They will be swift, they may be subtle, they may be bold, but they will be many. And in doing so, I ask for grace from you all – to consider that these are unpopular decisions, which I have agonised over for far too long, but need to be made for my own safety, happiness and survival.
If you are the praying type, please pray for me. I am slowly learning to do right by myself, so I can do right by others in the long run.