How many of you can say that you are truly in love with yourself? Now, hold on, I am not referring to vanity here. Let me explain. I am a giver, a people pleaser and I avoid conflict. I would put others before myself. This was pushed to the extreme when I became a new style of caretaker of two children with incurable illness and at the same time my own health was on the decline. I kept telling myself I had to do more. A break is not acceptable. Try harder… what is wrong with you!? Worthless, if you were …. if you could only… if you were better at… if only you could measure up! Truth is, I hated myself and the life I feel I failed miserably at. I was fatigued and drained by everything. I can truly say that at the core of my being I loathed and hated ME.
What was I lacking? Permission…
I was not giving myself permission to love and care for myself, because I did not dare be selfish in that way. I was measuring myself based on ideals and opinions that were only relative to others, and honestly hardly realistic. I had to learn to FLY on my own. FLY stands for Finally Loving Yourself (Flylady). When you do not love yourself and provide the self-care that you need then truly everyone around you suffers. My depression was so severe I know my children could feel it and see it. I was stuffing everything, and listening to that shitty inner voice. Anyone who told me to “think positive” made it worse. This is simply putting a Band-Aid on the larger picture.
To me loving yourself is…
Taking time alone if you need it and as long as you need it.
Taking the time to go do something you love.
Listening to the cue your body is giving you.
Allow yourself to cry when life hurts.
Laugh when it gives you joy.
Allow yourself to feel grief, IT IS HEALTHY.
Allow the people who don’t fit in your life to move on.
Every once in a while treat yourself.
Know when to say “no” and it IS okay to do so.
It is crucial to fall in love with yourself because it impacts so much of your life. It will spill over into nearly every facet. Everything from your line of work, to cleaning your home, parenting your children and doing the things that you love. When you can learn to love yourself, you can mourn in a healthy manner, heal better, experience more, and GIVE in ways which will bring you the most joy. You will be whole.
I thought I had this all figured out, but then love has smacked me right upside the face lately. Not the uncomfortable shock and sting following a slap, but the mind-blowing hit of a brick breaking your jaw, kind of wake-up-call.
Give love because when you give love, love will come and find you. Also, love yourself; not in the vain sense, but love, care, and respect yourself. When you love yourself enough, you automatically create protection over yourself. You know what kind of people should be in your life and they too will fight for you and love you just the same. You know yourself the best and you can love yourself the best. Take the time to do what makes you happy.
I used to hate Mondays. Why? Because everyone hates Monday, that is what we are supposed to do right? The truth is I enjoy waking before the kids and savoring the silence on Monday. I look around and see the chaos of living our life strewn about on the floor and take it all in. Splashes of pink and purple ponies and glittering girly toys…
Then I turn to the kitchen where the faucet is melodically dripping into a bowl in the sink and I hear one of our cats lapping from her water bowl. Out of k-cups, I use the old coffee maker that is sputtering while making me a fresh brew. The fan is on in the living room reminding me of our pathetic and failing air conditioning unit. Ah, but this is the sound of OUR home and no other home could be quite like ours. It has an odd beauty that really has to be searched for. It takes a hell of a lot of internal work, which is definitely ongoing to feel this way at times, but I believe it is genuine. I am human after all and do dream of an updated kitchen, full-functioning appliances, and a fridge with just a little more food in it. Then I see two small tubs full of prescription bottles. There is where much of our money goes these days towards giving life and health to my children.
Monday is a great day to sit here and meditate on our blessings in spite of the chaos. An updated home may make you happy for a little while, but if your perspective is not right it will only last a little while. If you are not happy with what you have, then how can you possibly be happy with more?
I have been sitting and thinking on how I start. Where do I start my story? How am I going to approach this and share with you? What should my blog look like? I have been trying to think of an initial beginning, but it is pointless to pinpoint any specific time as I am a new piece of work in progress right NOW as is this blog. I know I have struggled for years to find my way, but is there really a need for a pinpoint? Everyone has the opportunity to start fresh right here, right now. While this thought is triggered by starting my blog, this thought can be applied to so much in our lives.
I find I spend a lot of my time doing research. I want everything to be just right. If I can’t make it perfect then there is no point in doing anything at all. While I believe it is a good approach it is just not practical all of the time and it blocks the path towards our authentic selves. In order to stay true to myself and continue my growth, I need to learn that I do not need to be perfect. I find myself stopping because I don’t know where to start a project. In the past, I lacked follow-through because of “what ifs”. What if I start and I cannot finish? That would be fear and doubt holding me back. I have discovered that I try to dodge that feeling and avoid it by giving in and giving up.
So what is the answer? You just start. It can be incredibly uncomfortable to start. How far can you get if you just try? It is okay to discover that you need to change your course. It is okay. Such a simple concept yet it terrifies me.
Is there something you have wanted to try? Is there a project that has been waiting for you? Do you doubt? Maybe there is some fear? I have given myself permission… I give you permission too.
What do you want to start? What habits do you find hold you back?