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Being there for yourself before showing up for others is not up for discussion. It

is not an argument, but rather the only way; being there for yourself is the only way to show

up for others. The journey towards better mental health can only start within oneself, and all

the detours lead to meltdowns.

Life is perhaps not a play, but most of us still have certain roles to play – the

caretaker, the housewife, the breadwinner, the older sister, the straight A student and so on,

and one of the scariest things is to suddenly feel insecure in the roles we are playing; an artist that can’t paint, a writer facing a writer’s block, a housewife unable to cook dinner for her family. There are people around us who are used to seeing us play these roles, people who

most definitely will be disappointed if we one day stop playing them, people who will make

us disappointed in ourselves, because our worth is often determined by how well we can play a certain role.

Then it must be quite simple, mustn’t it? As long as the older sister takes on the

role of being a role model and takes care of her younger siblings she is doing alright, isn’t

she? The problem – or rather the reality – is that we aren’t only the roles we are playing. A

caretaker is also someone who needs to be taken care of occasionally, a writer is also a reader, an older sister sometimes wishes to be alone in her room without younger siblings disturbing her. In the end, we aren’t just the roles we’re playing, we’re also flowers that need to be watered in order not to die. Now, a dead plant can certainly be revived, but once its roots are dead, it’s too late to do anything about it. The most important truth to remember though, is that only a lively flower will make the bees and the people around pleased.

Another vital aspect of being there for yourself before showing up for others is

that it is not always an extreme choice of action. What I mean here is that it is not always

about being there for yourself versus showing up for others. The two actions do not oppose

each other but are rather connected, with being there for yourself being the first step in a

process where you one day show up for others as well. It’s all about the steps, just like levels

in a game, you can’t just jump over to level two, you have to start with level one. Well, I

guess there sometimes are cheats in certain games that will allow you to skip level one.

Beware of the viruses, though. Also, if you do decide to skip level one, jumping over to level

two might make you miss out on a lot. Level one is where the player makes the first step into

the game, the beginning, a bright new world, the part where the player learns how to get used to the game – skipping level one would make the player miss a crucial part of the game. Besides, level one is usually quite easy.

Being there for yourself does not have to be difficult; and if being there for

yourself will water the flowers, then most certainly someone is going to compliment you on

those beautiful daisies or roses or whatever blooms in your heart. Sometimes, a short walk in

the park, a quiet evening spent in solitude, a ‘silly’ feel good movie – which isn’t silly at all if

it waters your flowers –, a fanfic about your favorite book characters will do wonders.

It doesn’t start nor end with us – it starts with you taking care of yourself.

Perhaps the phrase ‘being there for yourself before being there for others’ should rather be

‘you can’t be there for anyone else before you show up for yourself’. That is in fact the only

way we can all grow a beautiful blooming garden. Right now, I’m growing a garden of

lavender. What grows in the garden of your heart? Written By - Iva Haze

Book your first therapy session today and let us match you to the right therapist.

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