(Happy Birthday today, Mom)
I have really smart and wonderful women friends. And smart and wonderful women in my family. And I, personally, am a pretty smart and wonderful woman to boot. So when all these forces combine to give me the same message (almost word for word) I'm trying to get better at listening to, comprehending, and following the advice.
The message I've needed lately and have been so lovingly and explicitly given time and time again is simply this:
It's OK to take care of yourself.
Period. As a Being who happens to be a woman, a wife, a mother, a friend, and a teacher -- so essentially a giver of my soul -- it is OK ...and not only ok, it is imperative... that I take care of myself. And it is ridiculously difficult to do on a day-to-day, or even better moment-to-moment, basis. I'm great at avoiding it, or putting other people first. I'm great at anticipating the needs of others and so allowing their perceived needs to come before my own (instead of asking if it is even a real need). I'm great at doing things that don't really nourish me... like watching TV, or staying up too late to read instead of getting a good night's sleep. And I'm VERY good at biting my tongue and not speaking my truth, asking for what I need, or putting limits on disagreeable situations. And so, I'm totally challenged.
Thank goodness for support systems that repeatedly tell me: It's ok to take care of yourself.
This taking care of myself from the inside out -- not waiting for someone else to come along and make it all better is definitely a shift in my heart. It is definitely a new journey for me to be on. I'm sure you'll witness plenty of it with me as we move forward with this blog. But what I'm realizing is no big surprise, but that by taking care of myself, I'm so much better able to take care of everyone else. I'm so much more willing to give of my soul with no expectations. And I'm creating a positive model for my daughter to be willing to take deep care of herself when she grows up.
Often I have mini-mantras running through my brain for a few days or a week. Just a simple phrase someone spoke to me or I read somewhere. You can guess mine right now : It's Ok to take care of yourself. And you know what? It really is. The world is a better place for it.
If you want to read about one woman's journey towards deep self-respect and self-love check out this article at Elephant Journal.
Contemplation: It's OK to take care of yourself. What is the one thing you can do right this instant to take better care of yourself?