At the gym a couple of weeks ago, I heard a piece from a song saying “I don’t work for free” and “Please take care of me.” I didn’t listen to the rest, assuming it was a love song… a woman singing to her partner to attend to her more. My brain immediately turned to parenting. About all the hard work we put into our roles as parents. I kept thinking along those lines (lot’s of hard work, no pay, little appreciation, feelings of exhaustion) until I tuned back into the song at the end and heard the words: “This is a message from your heart.” Something in that phrase made me stop in my tracks. I teared up. I must’ve stood in the middle of the gym floor for a solid five minutes. Like I had been stunned. I then spent the rest of the day and the following couple of weeks contemplating what struck me so hard.
(As I write this, I can’t help but smile, as what is about to come is a very common theme I seem to struggle with lately… In the short time I have started this blog, I have written about self-care three times… Obviously, an important point… So, here I am again…)
I find many people often expect things external to them. So many place blame (He didn’t do this, she did that) or have expectations for others. Singers sing about their lovers, the news broadcasts blame towards others, people at work complain about what the higher ups, drivers yell at other drivers. So many complaints about unfulfilled expectations of receiving help, appreciation, love. And yet, there is one person who seems to consistently exhaust our resources with very little payback: ourselves. So many are so cruel to themselves. Many often tell themselves, and even believe, things they’d never imagine telling anyone else. “You’re a bad mother.” “You’re fat.” “You’re not good enough.” They show very little appreciation, kindness, forgiveness, or love for themselves. I work with so many women suffering this same fate. I know for myself, I barrage myself with things I should have done more of or should not have done at all. I never meet my own expectations and often come down hard on myself because I am just not measuring up. Beating myself up so bad, I often end my day feeling exhausted, irritable and feeling alone. I have nothing left for me, let alone my family.
Ever since I heard that song a few weeks ago, I have had this little nagging voice in the back of my mind. “Please take care of me.” No matter how much I coach others on needing to take care of themselves, I still struggle with this myself and know how hard it can be. Every time I have an idea of how to take care of myself, I come up with an excuse, one that usually revolves around too little time. So many other things need to be done. Or I become sick with guilt because I very rarely see my family as it is, so any amount of extra time away is out of the question.
I wonder how much longer my tap can run before it completely dries up? Before I am no good to anyone at all. I am reminded of the airplane analogy: we need to put on our own masks before we attend to others. Otherwise, we’ll pass out from lack of oxygen. The same hold true here. For me, I need to tend to my heart before I pass out from depletion.
So, here is the beginning of my new journey. I set this up as an experiment to see what works, what doesn’t. A journey I hope may actually be of help to others. So, starting right now, I am going to do one thing for me. I’ll let you know how it goes. 😉