It hit me like a (pardon the cliche’) ton of bricks. I have been getting ticked off and aggravated by the smallest things. It’s been going on for a month or so, and I just have hardly taken a breath to figure out why. This morning, in the middle of a meeting with people who have helped me so much over the past year to put life into perspective, I had a revelation, and I saw entirely clearly why I have been so bothered. Better than that, I knew immediately how to fix it.
This is personal stuff, and I wonder if it is too much ‘me’ to put out there for any ‘you’ to know. I’ve blogged recently about my dark moments, though, so I think this will be a perfect accompaniment, and more importantly I REALLY think it will help several people with the same issue in their own lives.
If you are a man, woman, young adult, child, husband, wife, CEO, assembly line worker, or anything close to any of those, here is the question for you: Do you take care of yourself? My first answer (as I spoke to myself within my head) was YES, I am eating better than I have ever eaten, learning more about wellness than I ever thought I could. OF COURSE I am taking care of myself! But then, came the pictures in my mind: Me doing. That’s pretty much been the story of my life (giving & people-pleasing), and while I have made GREAT strides, I have obviously fallen into old habits. The best part is, I recognize it and can do something about it.
Back to the question. How will you answer? When you get up in the morning, what happens? Typical scenario: Wake up, take care of pets and children, get self showered, dressed, and possibly fed before going to work or into your day. Do your do all day–volunteering here, spending extra time on a company project there, studying, trying to please professors/bosses/parents/friends/children. If you have pets, you find time to feed and walk them a few times a day. Maybe you’re the boss and are trying to keep clients happy, the house in order, and the bills paid. If you’re the breadwinner, there is extra pressure. And the vehicles…they need repair, insurance needs to be paid, and gas has to be purchased to put in the tank. Finally, you get to the end of the day, hopefully a nice meal is in there, and you fall into bed exhausted–or asleep on the couch because sleep came there first. Rrrring! The alarm goes off, and the merry-go-round begins again.
When I ‘got better’ was when I started taking care of myself. A BIG part of that was my changes in eating, my choosing to see practitioners who could help me address my depression, and getting more sleep–I am still doing all of those things. But since everything in the previous paragraph relates to me on some level, I realize that I have not been doing the other things that were so life-changing for me six months to a year ago. A year ago, I began attending meetings and following readings that encouraged me to take care of myself. I had begun practicing Kundalini Yoga each morning mixed with meditation. One hour every morning EARLY in the morning was my time by myself to take care of ME. Several months ago, I added to that Qi Gong practices that gave me even more peace. I didn’t jump when people said they needed something or when the telephone rang. I was my happiest me! THEN, a couple of months ago, I started trying to get more accomplished in my days and found there was less time for that “me” time. I didn’t even realize it was happening. But today, I know it. I will quickly go back into the mode of self-care, and I challenge you to do that for yourself. The difference it makes is amazing and hard to believe. I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I hadn’t seen the changes in myself–the positive changes and now the not-so-pretty changes.
In case you’re thinking “Wow, Susan, I thought you wrote earlier that you were a happy person. What gives?” Yes, I am a happy person, and it has been very hard for me to understand why things frustrate and irritate me (I am not talking about righteous anger–sometimes, we all have the right for things to make us mad). I am making so much progress, but it doesn’t mean I never take a step back. I still take steps back, but now…I realize it, take responsibility for it, and try to do something about it much more quickly than I would have before. Hopefully, the people I love recognize that effort in me and will continue to encourage me to take time for me.
You can start your day over at any point. I started my day over at 9:40 this morning and truly feel more like me–the one I enjoy. It just goes to show you how quickly we allow other people, our own perceived responsibilities, and hurry to take us over. I’ll be reminding myself with carefully placed post-its to take care of me first, before I take care of the world. It’s already a beautiful day and a great week. Make it one for you, too! We’ll ALL benefit!
Susan…amazed by grace