Be the center of your own life

Photo: MatheusBertelli/Pexels

Photo: MatheusBertelli/Pexels

Author: Emiliya Tsaneva

We were born, we live the way we can and at some point we are going to die. The only thing that keeps us company throughout this whole journey is we ourselves. There is no person, object or activity that is there 100% of the time in our life. Then why do we keep trying to cling onto something outside of ourselves, to live for something or someone else?

Many of us are used to living for their parents, their partner, their children, their work, for doing sports, for food, for alcohol, for others’ approval, for protecting the environment, for animal welfare, for another charity cause or for the sake of a spiritual path. It is wonderful for a person to care about someone or something else, to support others, to be part of society, to have fun, to give oneself enjoyable activities or to see higher purpose in life. But all of this can lead us to addiction and unhealthy life choices, if we are not grounded in the feeling that we are the center of our own life and all the rest is a beautiful addition. Balance is important, extremes make us unstable.

I am the most important person in my life. I respect my thoughts, my feelings, my needs, my body, my soul. I am the person who chooses what to be part of my day, my week, my year. I am the person who chooses where to invest my time and energy. I am the person who chooses who and what is important to me. The fact that I am the center of my own life does not mean I expect that the world will revolve around me – it actually means the total opposite.  When I am the center of my own life, I do realize that the other person is also the center of his own life and I don’t have pretensions towards him, because I realize he doesn’t owe me anything. I am the center of my life, which makes me responsible for my own life. He is the center of his life, which makes him responsible for his own life. So if we meet and each of us chooses to invite the other as a guest into his life – that’s wonderful. But if we walk past each other, because we are looking in different directions – that is beautiful as well. There is no clinging, no drama, I will have a happy life with or without the other person, because my happiness is my responsibility – it doesn’t depend on another person and this is great news!

To make someone else the center of your life means robbing yourself of power and at the same time suffocating the other person. I give you everything, now you owe me. And no, I am not going to tell you this directly – I will give you my love, care, time, even finances, in return I want you to be my slave forever and to guess and fulfill my every need. Of course, we do it secretly. We rob ourselves of time, attention, care and at the same time we give them to the other in excess. After a while the other can feel this huge expectation on our side – I need you to give me as well, you owe me. And then we wonder why the other person becomes rude, gets angry with us, doesn’t really want to spend time with us, so he hides behind his job or spends his time with a lover. Then we feel betrayed – it’s his fault, he is all black, it’s because of him that my whole life is falling apart. 

Are you sure, my dear? Is it really his fault? Don’t you know that if you choose someone else to be the center of your life, this makes you unstable? There is no way for you to have your life revolve around the axis of someone else and be happy and stable. Why do you burden someone else with the responsibility for your own life and your own happiness? Why do you give your power away? No one owes you anything, each one owes only to themselves.

But how can I be the center of my own life when I have kids? Of course, they are the most important thing in my life! Yes, they are important and need your time and care, that’s true. The children, however, are not responsible for the happiness of their mother. The mother has the responsibility to take care of herself and her emotions. At the same time it was her choice to have children and to show them how life works, teaching them all the necessary skills so that they can cope with life on their own some day. The fact that we have children, does not take away the responsibility towards our own life. We don’t have the right to make our children responsible for whether or not we are happy – this is a huge burden, a child cannot carry it. And as it is with our partner, if we give up everything because of our children, they get the notion that they owe us, that they have to give us as well, that they have to repay us – that’s heavy. At the same time, since we overdo the care for them, we don’t give them enough space to learn how to be independent, because we do way too many things instead of them. So, no, even when we have children, we are the center of our own lives and precisely because of that we can take a good care of ourselves and the children – think of the example you set.

What if my life revolves around looking good? To be beautiful, in good shape, stylish – what’s wrong with that? This is how my life revolves around me! Well, it is great, when a person takes care of how she looks and her health – this is important, but let’s not make it into the center of our lives. We all grow old, sometimes gain weight or lose too much of it, there are days when we look gorgeous, until we spill the coffee all over ourselves… If how I look is the center of my life then I can be very easily shaken and upset. And besides, I am not only my body, I have a mind, a soul, emotions to nourish, and if my life revolves only around my looks, I won’t feel fulfilled in the long run for sure. 

What’s wrong with my job being the center of my life? I love my career, I do well there, I feel good. I might get promoted at some point for working hard, I like earning well and feeling useful. What’s wrong with that? It’s great for a person to be hard-working and developing, to be financially independent is also a wonderful thing. But if my job and everything connected to it is the center of my life, where am I as a human being? Turning into a robot, chasing the highest productivity possible, often depriving myself of contact with people dear to me, not giving myself enjoyable activities and at the end paying for this with my health as well – is this really what I want? The robot is there in order to be productive and highly effective. As long as he does this well, he is taken care of and praised, but the moment he is inconvenient or not that effective anymore, he can be easily replaced. And what happens with him afterwards? Depression, lack of meaning, destruction… And all of this because he let something from outside become the center of his life.

Well, I live in order to help others! It is selfish to live only for myself! I understand, to a different extent we all have the need to give and be useful, which is wonderful. But if the center of my life is constant giving and taking care of others, sooner or later I will run empty. And then I will be the person in need of someone to give to me and take care of me, because I will be so empty that I won’t be able to do it for myself anymore. And then I will stop smiling and start demanding – even when I don’t say it directly, people around me can still sense it. I have given so much, I have taken so much care, others must cherish it, they must love me, they must do something for me. Wait a minute! I must do something for myself, I owe to myself. I am not obliged to do something for others, nor do they owe me anything. If taking care of others and helping is the center of my life and at the same time I skip taking care of myself, it is very easy to start thinking that others owe me. When I am the center of my own life and helping others is just a part of my life, everything falls into place in a healthy way. I take a good care of myself, I meet my needs and have the power to give from my heart without demands. I don’t expect that the help, love or care I have given will come back to me, I am not desperate about it, because my needs are already met – by me. I give because I can and I want to, not because I have to or because I expect something in return.

To be the center of your own life is not an easy task, but it is extremely satisfying. I live because of myself, I take care of myself and make sure I enjoy life, which gives me the strength to work productively, to take decisions, to support people around me and be happy for their success, to be a good role-model and pleasant company. To be the center of my own life makes me a better and happier version of myself. It’s definitely worth the effort!

 

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