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Putting Yourself first

This week I started creating a new character for my family Dungeons and Dragons session. As I was reflecting on which type of character, I wanted to play I found myself overwhelmed by so many options to the extent that I was almost unable to choose. The pressure to make the ‘right’ choice and create the perfect character began to feel quite overwhelming. It reminded me of times in my life when I have been in times of change and transition and unsure of which way to go.

It can feel as if making a choice to go one way will mean losing the potential of the options not chosen. We can be so consumed with fear of the ‘what if’ scenarios we imagine that we choose nothing. We tell ourselves that if we don’t make a choice we can’t get in wrong, we keep all of our options open. We forget that not choosing is also a choice that comes with consequences and may leave us feeling powerless.

I realised I was getting caught up in the character I ‘should’ have to support the rest of my group as well as other people’s opinions on the best type of character. I had lost sight of the reason I was playing in the first place – because it’s fun. While, in the past doing what was best for other people would have been a primary driver, I now know that concentrating only on the needs of others can lead to a feeling of having lost my own identity. So, while I want to consider those around me, it cannot be at the expense of myself.

Sometimes this can feel like a hard balance to find and on occasion my critical inner voice might tell me that I am being selfish. Luckily, I am now better able to challenge that negative self-talk because, I know is that, when I attend to my own needs, I find myself better able to support the people I care about. This is true in everyday life as well as when exploring an imagined dungeon. Just like me, my character (Susan) cannot be responsible for everyone else. We must first be responsible for ourselves before we are able to support those we care about.

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