People are just going to have to get used to the fact that I am going to do whatever the hell I want to do, even if they think it's a bad idea. My friends and family are amazing, and I love them dearly...but I don't have to always do what they think I should do.
Who has to live my life? I do.
I've spent a lot of time putting everyone else, and their wants/needs/opinions first...and that is over. Even if I find myself in a relationship again, I will still do what I think is best for me and my goals.
My happiness is my responsibility.
It's perfectly goddamn okay to put yourself first. I have learned (in the hardest ways possible) that you can't constantly put someone else's needs ahead of your own. If you're constantly taking care of others, and never taking care of yourself, you're quickly going to find that you have nothing left to give to anyone. This is no bueno.
Now, some of you are probably saying, 'But...but...isn't is selfish to put yourself first in a relationship?'.
No. It's not.
You can be there for someone, and they can be a priority...while still making yourself a priority. If you're constantly putting someone else's needs ahead of your own you're going to find yourself mired down in a whole mess of unhappiness and resentment...sinking like Atreyu stuck in the Swamp of Sadness watching Atrex struggle and die (It'll be equally as traumatic as watching that too). Not only that, too often the people you continually put ahead of yourself will develop a complete lack of appreciation (or even respect) for you. That doesn't make for a healthy relationship with anyone...and you know whose fault it is? Your own. Yes, that's right. It's my own goddamn fault that I've put others needs far, far ahead of my own. I accept the blame. No one made me do it. It was just how I thought I should be. A lot of us girls in the South grew up with this idea that we have to be 'pleasing', and take care of everyone. I've had to teach myself that it's okay to put myself and my needs first sometimes.
I'm not advocating being a completely selfish little cunt...what I'm saying is that it's okay to make yourself, your goals and dreams, a priority. It is completely possible to have an equal measure of care for yourself and for your loved ones. One person should not be doing all the work/care in any type of relationship.
As for me, a relationship will never again be my main source of fulfillment. I'll never lose myself again by making someone else the center of my world, concentrating completely on their happiness to the detriment of my own. I'll never neglect my friends again. I'll always make time to do the things that I love. This is not selfish. This is self care.