By Sean Riley – President & Founder Safe Call Now
As we enter into the winter months and the changing of the seasons it got me to wondering about “change” and how it impacts us. Change can be scary, fun, exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Do any of us like to change? I propose to you… if we don’t embrace change, we don’t grow personally. Change is something I’m not a big fan of but it is mandatory if I want to become the person who I want to be. Genuine, loving, self-reliant and all those characteristics I admire.
I made the big geographical move about three years ago. After 25 years living in one place I packed up and moved 300 miles to the east (still near a large airport of course) to a city I’ve never lived in before. I learned to dance in the rain all of those years and as my life has grown and I’ve seen the world out there, it is time to learn more about life and experience all it can bring.
When I was in my addiction I was the proverbal “people pleaser” as I never wanted to confront issues or upset the balance of my life. I wanted everything to just stay “status quo” and not hurt anyone’s feelings or my own. By doing so all I did was compromise my self-esteem to make others happy. I sacrificed myself for the benefit of others. I thought this was noble as I put others first. You know the old saying when you’re in an airplane… You can’t help others put on the oxygen mask until you put yours on first!!!
So do I become selfish and only put me first and worry about others later? I found out that what I needed to do was establish “healthy boundaries” in an appropriate manner. There’s a little bit of a “catch” here. Once you’ve acted a certain way for a number of years, people expect you to continue in the same manner. I found out that when I established healthy boundaries with individuals that clearly defined what I would and would not accept in a respectful manner, I received great “push back” and people were upset at me. Very upset with me
I saw high ranking professionals yell and scream, get down on their knees and pray and call me names (I kid you not). Suddenly I became the a$$h*le because I was not there for their every beckon call. Needless to say I was shocked by this behavior as I “changed” and became the person I was meant to be. At first I was tempted to revert back to my “people pleasing” ways to get the dysfunctional balance back into my life. I held my ground and continued to keep my “boundaries” clear and over time people adapted to them. I can’t tell you what a relief it was and is today. I don’t question my actions anymore. I may not always succeed but I learn from them and move on.
As first responders you experience “change” every day in an uncertain world and your jobs are not getting an easier. Remember what is important to you, why you first took this job and hold on tightly to your values and ethics which got you there. Establish those “healthy boundaries” and live the life you were meant to live. Oh, and more importantly… at the end of the day your most important boundary to always hold true to is your family. Stay safe out there.
If you, a loved one or someone you know needs help, call:
Safe Call Now: 24 Hour Hotline: 206-459-3020
For more information on the First Responder Wellness Program: Click here
Or call Shannon Clairemont at: 661-666-1104
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