Ever since having my daughter I have been trying to incorporate more self care into my life. I struggled horribly and ended up putting others needs above my own. It stems from my upbringing and it has always left me with an uneasy feeling. Not thinking about others but focusing on myself is unfamiliar. I’ve been exploring this for 7 years now but I finally hit on something that I wanted to share with others who struggle with this same issue.
I was watching an interview by the Stanford business school with Oprah Winfrey. There were many things during the interview that resonated with me but one point that really hit home was when she was asked about the struggle between selfLESSness and selfISHness. She said that you can’t give to others what you don’t have and that it is NOT and shouldn’t BE a struggle. When she was younger she was afraid of others, usually other women, looking at her putting herself first and saying look at Oprah, she’s so full of herself. I was very conscious at an early age of those triggers and made it my life mission to never be one of those “conceited” and “full of themselves” women. It was like a scarlet letter i never wanted to carry. But i had it all wrong. What Oprah said next really opened my eyes. She said that the goal IS to be full of yourself.
In order to really perform at your best and follow your purpose and be there for others you must fill yourself up so you have something to give. Otherwise you will always feel empty, listless, struggling with everyday chores and commitments, feeling depressed etc. I’m not talking about mental illness in this piece as that is a different topic. I am speaking about the consequences of not focusing on your needs, your self-expression, your ideas, your body, your health, your spirituality, and finding activities that fill you up!
Oprah now takes the words, “She’s so full of herself” as a compliment. This paradigm shift, blew my mind! If others think or say that she is full of herself, she says wonderful. My cup runneth over in self-love and attention for myself. After putting yourself at the top of your list, your work for others will have new energy attached to it and an undertone of happiness and gratitude.
So to start this New Year, I stretched on the floor as the sun was beaming in through the window. I just let myself feel the warmth of the sun and enjoy it. After stretching, I did 25 burpees and felt my body strong and knew that today, the first day, was going to be the hardest day and that every day after this will become easier and easier. My daughter tried to distract me and it’s because I didn’t put into place a respect for my space and time as I respect her space and private time. This is my fault but she is seven years old and I can teach her and model for her the importance of self care just like i teach her to brush her teeth and take a bath. More moms should teach and model these important behaviors to their own daughters.
Look our parents did the best they could with their circumstances and upbringing. It was a different time and we are not shackled to what they taught us. My mom modeled for me how to be a martyr for her husband and children and never take time for herself. I encourage her now at 60 years old to do these things for herself and let me tell you it is so hard for her to simply enjoy activities and not worry about other people. I see her struggling and don’t want that for myself or my daughter. So today is a step in the right direction.
I’m not going to self-sabotage myself with over scheduling my self-care. I tried that before and it didn’t work. I”m just going to take it one day at a time. Today’s self-care is done and I will try to be more awake (conscious) of ways during the day to enjoy myself. But tomorrow when I wake up my only goal is to stretch and do my 25 burpees and that is all I’m responsible for. I’m living for today and being present. My word for 2015 is Presence! Presence in my life and in how I show up at work, with my daughter and husband and with myself.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have advice for others who struggle with self-care and filling themselves up? Please let me know in the comments.