I have been trying to write this post for days – but the words keep doing their thing and side tracking me. You see I had a bit of a ‘light bulb’ moment the other day. I was sitting here pondering all of those new yearsie posts you see where you choose ‘One Word’ to describe or inspire you for the year ahead, when it suddenly dawned on me that if I was to choose a word right now that word would be ‘me’. Now that set me thinking…………
On the surface ‘me’ doesn’t appear to be anywhere near as superior a word as those others were coming up with. But, as I gave myself some time to reflect, I realised just how appropriate it was. Now I don’t want to make this sound all ‘poor me’, because frankly that would be nauseating. But that said, in all honestly, right at the moment my life is focused in a million different places and none of them centre around me.
I am caring for my mum, who has alzheimers, as she spends her last months in our family home (an amazing but oh so challenging task). I am also co-caring for my elderly father-in-law (who lives in a unit right here with us). I have three primary school aged children who deserve as much of me as I’m able to give (they are my number one priority) and to top if off that bastard black dog called ‘depression’ has moved in with someone very close and important to our family and its bark can add some seriously draining energy to our lives.
And that my friends is enough.
Right, well if we’re being totally honest here, I have to confess that looking after myself (or focusing on me) has never been something I’m good at. In fact I’m probably closer to crap than good. I find it much easier, and like myself much more, when I expend my time and energy on others. It feels comfortable and I’m good at it. On the other hand taking time out to care for myself seems selfish and deserving of disapproval.
The biggest problem I have with this approach to life is that it leaves me open to expecting others to meet my needs in return, and that my friends is a big fat mistake. You can’t depend on others to meet your needs – especially if you don’t express them well. End result. My needs rarely get met and I spend a lot of my life running on empty.
So I think you can see that I really need to explore the balance between ‘selfish’ and ‘self-supporting’ and take steps towards being a person who is responsible for meeting my own needs in ways that support both myself and my family. I need to make this year about ‘me’. I need to learn how to meet my own needs. (How is that for an overuse of the word need?)
How am I going to do this? Seriously I have no idea! I have years of martyrdom training to debrief from and very little idea of how to put myself first without feeling ‘selfish’ or ‘disapproved of’. But 2015 is the year I am going to find out. I actually feel quite excited thinking about how this will all unfold and plan on exploring and writing about it a bit over the coming months.
So how about YOU. Do you do a good job when it comes to self-care? Share your thoughts, tips or ideas in the comments below.