Tag Archives: I am enough

Did You Grow Up Trying to Please Others?

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What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Did you grow up always trying to please others, searching for approval & the need for validation from others & learn to live your life ‘certain’ in the knowledge that were you ‘stupid enough’ to not only have but enforce boundaries with regard to your own life & that by doing so then others wouldn’t, or worse still stop loving you?

If you did I can pretty much say that for you like me life became a vicious cycle of wrestling to cater for your own needs & wants as well as servicing those of others and as such you will have lived anything but a fearless life

I’ve learned many things over the course of my life

However one thing has remained constant & that simply put is this we are ALL of using fighting our own battles & demons on many levels, BUT so are those we are both surrounded by & hold dear. When we are so close that we can’t see the wood for the trees and should one, if not both of us be prepared to see the other side then we get into difficulties.

But there also ALWAYS comes a point when BOTH sides have no choice other than to take responsibility for their part in the problem….

Being brutally honest I’ve learned that in having grown up being a people pleaser & being afraid to set & reinforce boundaries for others in my life, that I had inadvertently become the root cause of the problem!

GUILTY AS CHARGED!

But even so there comes a point in any situation when no matter how much we love, how much we give, how much we ignore, how much we hope that things will change for the better they NEVER will if the all important factor of RESPECT is missing!

But you can be certain of one thing

People can & do get the emotions of LOVE & RESPECT mixed and yet nothing will ever change in a relationship unless both sides both understand and embrace the difference

This is a monumental mistake & the crux of many a failed relationship…husband & wife, father & mother, mother & daughter, the list my friends is endless.

In my humble opinion to love & be loved unconditionally is the greatest gift we will ever be able to give or receive because it comes freely, without strings & by definition without condition.

Respect on the other hand is a privilege. One to be earned, gained if you will & borne on the back of many things and for sure my boundaries & yours will be as different as our fingerprints. Much like the boundaries themselves the reasons others will respect/disrespect us or themselves are equally as varied.

The one thing that people forget is that if a boundary is important enough for someone to set it then it is important enough for the rest of us to respect it.

Whether or not we believe it to be a valid boundary is totally irrelevant.

The problem begins when boundaries & respect become inextricably intertwined with love.

How many times have we heard or even said & moreover believed scenarios such as:

‘If she loved me she wouldn’t ask me to do that”…!

”Whether he loves me or not he should respect my boundaries’…!

Only you can decide if either or both of these generalisations are true and only you can decide whether or not you will put up with either or both of the consequences of them with regard to your own situation BUT for me at least & being brutally honest here…

If someone loves us unconditionally then we don’t have to honour & respect their boundaries – WRONG!

If we truly love someone enough then we will provide them with the boundaries they need. Ones which will help & enable them to thrive & grow in this life, Ones which will allow them to live & learn & grow into someone who they CAN both love & respect themselves in order to enable others t do the same.

If those we love & care for fall into the category of being someone who, no matter how hard you try, how much you give & how much you love continually & habitually not only ignore your boundaries but in doing so totally disrespect them & even go out of their way to cross them?

Then you/we will reach a point where we have to decided what we are prepared to accept & equally what we are not prepared to accept…As Eckhart Tolle so rightly said in any situation;

If you need to change it then do. If you can’t change it then you need to accept it for what it is. If you can’t accept it then it’s time to leave for all else is madness.

There are givers & there are takers in this life and yes there are those who successfully manage both but the question is how much of YOUR LIFE are you prepared to gift to someone who is unwilling or unable to at least meet you half way??

We ALL have limits and on a day where they have been reached the question is will you choose to let them become part of the solution or exacerbate the problem?

Again only time will tell but if like me you have reached a cross roads in your emotional life then maybe it’s time to start a daily practice of self-validation and tell yourself this…

Today I honour myself ENOUGH to take a chance that by being willing to enforce my boundaries then those I love and care for will not only LOVE me but RESPECT my boundaries as well

And after 57 years on this planet as hard as it is and will continue to be? It’s a chance that I am FINALLY willing to take because like you & everyone else on this 3rd rock from the sun know that much like my boundaries …

I MATTER! I AM ENOUGH!

 

Namaste – Sue

 

We Should Never Forget That Children Do Listen

Sue Curr Motivational Speaker & Empowerment Coach

Children Do Listen

 

Everything we ever do is a learned behaviour

And let’s face it the job of the teacher…initially at least…falls squarely on the shoulders of our parents and carers.

Without doubt parenting is the most important role with the most significant responsibilities around… not a statement I make lightly….and yet it’s practically the only job in the entire world which anyone can take on without any formal training.

The second we’re conceived we become part of the lottery of life. As children our future is mapped out and there is little we can do about it until we take responsibility for our own life as we grow up.

When we’re born our responsible adults start us on a learning curve that is never steeper than during our first 5 years of life. Every second of every day we are learning on every conceivable level largely without even being aware of it.

When I say every level I do mean every level as babies we’re naturally programmed to react to and learn from everything our senses are being continually bombarded by.

Sight, Sound. Taste. Smell & Touch

Our grown ups are aware of our responses to stimulation but unless we react suddenly to loud noises, they rarely if ever remember that children will and do listen.… all the time even when they appear to  be engrossed in other things.

It’s a common misconception that young children in particular are unaware of what is being said in their presence and whilst that may be true before we ”understand the words” it most certainly isn’t as we grow.

It’s an error of judgement that  can and does cause serious consequences for both the children that we are and the adults we become!

The vast majority of parents or carers quickly get to grips with the mechanics of teaching the day-to-day practicalities involved in the rearing and shaping of us into responsible adults in our own right. Including the…for some….not too obvious aspects that form part of the package our spiritual, emotional and mental well-being.

They simply ”forget” that children are like sponges soaking up everything including what’s said to, shouted at, spoken to others about, even muttered through clenched teeth….. at them!

Children listen constantly especially when it’s about them!  

By the age of 5 the majority of us will have heard and absorbed all manner of information much of it about us and if we’re lucky we will have come to learn that we are bright, intelligent, lovable, funny, pretty, in other words we are secure in the knowledge that we are loved and wanted which is exactly as it should be

However for every well-balanced, secure, confident child that’s raised there are children who grow up thinking that they are stupid, naughty, noisy, cheeky, bad and who grow up to be less well-adjusted, nervous, shy, insecure with little or no self-esteem and for an unfortunate proportion of these children this tends to be the beginning of their journey through the battlefield of Mental Ill Health a place I’ve come to acknowledge as being the loneliest place on earth.

There are far too many who are unwilling or unable to extend their duty of care to their offspring in a manner which sees them learn, grow and mature into whole, rounded, well-balanced adults in their own right and that’s where some of us come unstuck!

Why? Simply because adults severely underestimate the power of the spoken word!

As human beings and particularly as children we do over time tend to forget the words that have been spoken and the things that have been done in their finer detail but we never forget how we’ve been made to feel. If the parents and carers of this world could somehow see into the future and be held accountable beforehand then so many lives would be very different from that of…

A ‘’lifelong battle with Mental Ill Health’’ and the resulting suffering

When I was 5!

When I was 5 – I knew how to laugh but learned how to cry
When I was 5 – I knew how to shine but learned how to hide
When I was 5 – I knew how to be happy but learned how to be sad
When I was 5 – I knew how to play but  learned how to sit
When I was 5 – I knew how to be real but learned how to be fake
When I was 5 – I knew how to read so learned how to escape

As children we adapt very quickly to the circumstances of our day-to-day lives. If we have been molded to be timid or insecure, feel anxious or unloved we learn how to people please. We learn how to ”behave” because we’re afraid of doing something wrong or being lacking in some way and we grow up feeling stupid or worthless but most of all unlovable.

It can take years to overcome the behaviour patterns, insecurities and traumas we may  have experienced throughout childhood..some of us never do. Because we grow up believing that everything we have ever been told or have heard about ourselves from the mouths of ”our grown ups” must be true because they ”were big and we were small” and that’s just the way it is!

If as responsible adults we understood that it takes much less effort to raise a whole child than it does to mend a broken adult then life and this world would be a much brighter, happier place. Our children are but a gift, ours for a very small window of opportunity it’s our responsibility to raise them to be the best version of themselves that they can possibly be.

When I turned 50

When I turned 50 – I knew how to cry but remembered to laugh

When I turned 50 – I knew how to hide but remembered to shine

When I turned 50 – I knew how to be sad but remembered to be happy

When I turned 50 – I knew how to sit but remembered to play

When I turned 50 – I knew how to be fake but remembered to be real

When  I turned 50 – I knew how to escape but remembered it was enough to just read

We owe it our children to raise them properly and that means looking after their spiritual, emotional and mental well-being in equal proportion to their physical needs. They shouldn’t have to spend their lives trying to become who they really are……….I was lucky I now know without doubt that I am worthy, I am enough, I am lovable and funny and smart and anything else I want to be because I matter!!!                                                                     

Pity it took me 50+ years but that’s ok because everything that has ever happened to me, made me who I am and AM PROUD TO BE today   

If you would like to begin living your life with both purpose & passion in your own way & on your own terms without feeling the need to apologize for, justify or explain yourself BUT lack the rock solid foundation of self-esteem & confidence then I invite you to reach & connect with me here by Claiming a FREE 30 Minute Strategic Discovery Call

 

Time. Blessing or Curse?

==Time Blessing POST

‘’The trouble is you think you have time’’ – Buddha

Time, we never have enough of it, right?

It’s a common problem. An everyday occurrence. People all over this world of ours can be heard daily, sometimes several times a day bemoaning the fact that the precious commodity that is time is all too short. But when you think about it, REALLY think about it our lives are governed not so much by the harbinger of time….the clock……..but rather what we choose to do at any given point of any given day. It is our choices to do or not do something which impacts negatively on our lives and when we couple THIS with the problems we cause ourselves as a result THEN the situation caused by our inability to do or say something within a promised or expected time frame is the end result and we fall prey to the all too willing ally of time STRESS !

How we as individuals view the concept of time (our mind set) must also be taken into account when considering our stress levels together with how we can utilise this intangible commodity which holds such formidable sway over us, in a positive and user friendly manner.

As with most things in life it can only hold the amount of power over us which we are willing to surrender.

Whilst it is true to say that the world as we know it would cease to exist if time were to be abolished I’m inclined to suggest that as a species mankind would be so much better placed to return to their natural state of  well rounded and balanced beings in touch with not only themselves and their individual needs and wants but those of their loved ones too.

Before the advent of time as a commodity man was governed by the rising and setting of the sun which by definition meant that work was done according to daylight hours, food was naturally grown seasonally and so on. Life was hard for sure BUT it was simple, uncomplicated and people knew the value of the things which mattered. Things began to get very complicated when:

Every moment of every day not only could but largely HAD to be accounted for on the back of the invention of time as we know it!

Time like money is a man-made illusion, a yardstick if you will designed to keep our lives ordered & manageable.

It is both a blessing & a curse.

The blessing being that it affords us the opportunity to plan & organise life in such a way that it becomes enjoyable, fulfilling , exciting even AND we can look forward with eager anticipation to things which we know will bring happiness & pleasure thus enriching our lives. The very fact that many, many people actively seek out ‘’quality time’’ to spend with loved ones, recharge their minds and bodies and actually choose to live rather than exist bears testament to the fact that in its purest form time can be a massive bonus and spent wisely a much needed relief from the rigors of life.

The flip side however is that it can also become a curse which brings with it the burden of limitation, we become limited by the largely self-imposed time scales we set to achieve our objectives, be they in the work place or in our ‘’real’’ lives and thus the joint realities of pressure and stress rear their heads.

There are instances when all around us seems chaotic or even to be falling apart, times when everything seems to be out of control….not our power of control…. just a random feeling of free fall where nothing makes sense and the outcome not only seems uncertain but so far out of reach that you cannot even begin to imagine it and then suddenly we become all too aware that we are being manipulated by time constraints which are carrying us along as we willingly buy into the trap that is;

Forever keeping one eye on the clock for fear of falling short in some way.

The key as with everything in life has got to be balance.

My Nan could often be heard to say ‘’a little of what you fancy does you good. Everything in moderation never harmed anybody’’ – she was quite correct.

So that said, surely it should follow that we become naturally mindful of the fact that there are only 24 of the man-made illusion that are hours in any one of the given 365 illusions that are days in an equally illusionary matrix of a year and so on. As such then the ‘’time available’’ to us becomes by definition both finite & constraining in nature. Sadly we humans are not perfect and our obsession with time and so its management instead of being our blessing becomes by default the thing which becomes the master to our self-imposed slavery and thus our curse!

For instance on the odd occasion when for once we may have time to sit, be still & perhaps relax in the company of special people or in a place of natural beauty & are thankful to be doing so, the illusion of time can even then be cause for anxiety as we perhaps begin to feel the burden of guilt bring force to bear as it prompts us to remember things left unfinished or even worse not yet started way after they should have been.

As a species man has in part lost either the habit or ability (possibly both) to disconnect from the treadmill of a life, that no matter how hard we try to tame it, is largely executed as a result of the dictates of an invisible time lord and ultimately the anxiety associated with the often impossible task of meeting deadlines or keeping promises rashly made increases by default causing angst and stress, even emotional turmoil along the way.

Time related anxiety may be brought about perhaps because we have little or no control over any external factors which may be threatening to derail our efforts to either resolve problems or finish a project for instance .Thus the curse of the illusion of time brings with it a pressure which is almost unbearable as you see the keeper of time…..the clock……slowly, relentlessly but or so very surely tick by as it moves ever closer to either the conclusion of a scenario or the start of new beginnings. The metaphoric sound of every single tick, each signalling the fact that we are one step closer to that which is unfolding and know we have no choice other than to relinquish control & trust that whatever happens is how it has to be whatever the outcome; positive, negative, happy or sad.

The element of curse remains in this instance to remind us that we should always make or have made use of every single one of the ‘’man made’’ seconds in our life leaving nothing undone nor unspoken for fear that the after effects of those uncompleted acts alone will become yet another self-imposed cause for regret – that the illusion of time has been wasted. In fact it is not time which has been wasted simply because if we take it as a given that it is indeed an illusion then by definition it does not exist!

This ‘’thing’’ then that has been wasted must only be that of opportunity.

The opportunity to have acted on feelings, the opportunity to have addressed any given situation which may have been the cause of anxiety or stress or fear of the unknown. The opportunity to validate ourselves & our loved ones each & everyday is surely the essence of which is why we are all here & why we should very definitely take the curse of this man-made  illusion and turn it very firmly but positively around and neutralise its negative aspects by using the time calmly, wisely and with purpose allowing us to be safe in the knowledge that nothing has been left unspoken or undone thus limiting the impact of regret which when coupled with this perceived thing called time can, if we allow it become a self-imposed prison from which it can be almost impossible to free ourselves……. !!

If we are diligent in our efforts to offset the unwanted attention of and undue pressure from our illusionary ‘’friend’’ by being mindful of its adverse effects, then every day will see us become increasingly aware of the need to adopt an attitude which will see us address each and every situation requiring our attention and as a result we will have overcome that thief of time: procrastination. In having done this we will by definition have more of it at our disposal and will be both willing and able to effect lasting positive changes in our lives overall.

In reality living fully in 21st Century mode means we will rarely if ever come close to living as nature intended; by the sun. BUT by practicing the choice of mindfulness and taking responsibility for our actions and reactions to the demands which time consistently and persistently make upon us we can come closer than we would perhaps think.

Think about it for a second;

More quality time to spend with loved ones, more time to practice the art of Self-Care, more time to do more of the things you love or would love to be able to do. In short more time to improve the overall quality not only of your life but that of those you love.

In having chosen to react positively as opposed to negatively and claim victory with regard to LIMITING the stifling constraints of time and its unwelcome side effects then we have without even realising it enabled ourselves not only to overcome hurdles be they real or otherwise but by association, diminish the all too real impact of both stress and pressure.

It is at this point that we have given ourselves the positive and confidence boosting opportunity to

Live & Learn & Love & Grow
Which is exactly how it should be

Mistake or Opportunity?

Mistake or POST

‘’ No matter how many times you stumble or fall, the greatest lesson is loving yourself through it all ‘’
Barbara Streisand

Mistakes! We’ve all made them right?

We all of us make mistakes some tiny, some huge & a small percentage of which could potentially be disastrous. In times of stress or emotional overload the propensity to make mistakes increases and because we are human so does our need to apportion blame. That blame could be leveled at us or by us towards ourselves as well as others and dependent upon our interpretation of the gravity of it so the level of blame and by association guilt increases in line.

Rarely does a mistake happen without an accompanying negative reaction in response and very often it is the reaction as opposed to the action (mistake) which is the cause of most stress for those concerned. Alongside that runs the at times almost overwhelming need to right perceived wrongs, justify how/why the mistake was made (to be fair sometimes by trying to absolve ourselves of any blame) and moreover apologise profusely & repeatedly as if insistent repetition of sorrow will right any adverse effects of the said mistake.

However the single biggest error of judgement we any of us make in the above scenario is that we quite simply forget that we are indeed human and as a result of which we have the option of choice and it is this factor alone when making decisions which is responsible for mistakes being made!

We all make mistakesThink about it there surely can’t be anyone who falls into the category of having made a mistake, taking that as give, the only thing that makes each of us unique in this area is our reaction. What is it that can determine such variety & extremities of emotion in situations which are perceived as being wrong in that a mistake has occurred? It has to be purely a matter of mind-set. There are those of us who go through life apparently oblivious to the results of their actions & to be truthful probably wouldn’t care less if they did. In stark contrast there are those who rather than cause upset, inconvenience or harm albeit unintentionally would go to the ends of the earth to avoid doing so.

Speaking for myself I accept that as a human I can & do (frequently) make mistakes and to be honest as each and every one occurs my reaction is dictated purely by the circumstances surrounding it as opposed to the actual ‘’error’’. For instance my reaction is more likely to be highly emotional if any mistake I may have made should impact negatively on another. Whereas if I poured milk on a desert instead of cream I would simply laugh at my own ‘’stupidity’’. In both scenarios though I would these days definitely adopt the sentiment that ‘’a mistake is only ever a mistake if we fail to learn from it’’.

It wasn’t always the case; as a person it took me a very long time to understand that making a mistake, any mistake is not only ok it’s actually acceptable because generally speaking it’s simply an error of judgement which at the outset wasn’t meant to intentionally cause harm. That said I could, would & still do even now on occasion fret, worry & obsess that something I had done or said maybe could have caused someone else at best an inconvenience, at worst a massive issue as a result. At times when an apology and/or reparation were rightly made (& accepted) even then I would work myself into a near frenzy as I allowed myself to become convinced of the fact that the only reason my apology had been accepted was nothing more than good manners on the part of the ‘’injured’’ party and that despite their acceptance they didn’t mean it because (in my mind) I was an idiot at the very least!

This statement alone says so much more about the frailty of the human psyche than anything else I think. The fact that even having been absolved of blame I (anyone) could & did refuse to accept that whatever the transgression, in the bigger picture of things it really didn’t matter and in many instances hadn’t even registered for anyone else.

Ere go what is important to one person is often not even a consideration for the next.

So to the matter in hand;

Think About ItA mistake is nothing more, nothing less than an error of judgement which was never meant to harm, distress or ridicule any person, thing or situation.

As such it is a waste of time and effort to pay more than the minimum amount of attention to it in order ‘’to put things right’’.

Any expenditure of effort should be limited to;
• acknowledging that a mistake has been made
• taking responsibility for it (where it was your mistake to begin with)
• defining what went wrong & why
• ensuring that you have taken the opportunity to learn from the experience and avoid repeating it in future

BECAUSE as Einstein once very rightly said;

‘’The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again yet expecting a different result’’

The need to punish ourselves or indeed others for the mistakes we/they make has become almost second nature for us a species. We are all too ready & willing to jump on the universal bandwagon of negativity because truthfully it is often the easier and more popular option.

This journey through life can at times be difficult enough without inflicting negative self-talk upon ourselves when there really is no need. As with anything that is worthwhile it takes time & effort to be mindful of the fact that we’re all of us doing the best we can day to day and whilst we may not live up to the expectations of ourselves let alone anyone else then it really, really is alright because there is not one of us on this planet who is perfect.

Whilst being kind to & taking care of ourselves be it physically or mentally should always be our priority it needs to begin with accepting that although perfectionism is a wonderful ideal, realistically it sets us up for failure & at times emotional distress especially if we look upon any mistakes we make as falling short in some way, failing if you will instead of what they really are which is nothing more than:

Opportunities to learn & grow which by definition means we are succeeding

As we go through this life of ours then, we should all of us strive to remember that when on occasion we stumble and make errors of judgement that we are human & we were not designed to be perfect. Making mistakes is part of the tapestry of life, they are little more than pointers enabling us to increase our understanding. We need to be secure in the knowledge that regardless of anything it does not mean that by making mistakes we are lacking in any way rather the opposite in fact and that is simply;

We are ENOUGH just the way we are!

Choice, Life Is A Choice

Choice, Life Is POST

”It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”  J.K.Rowling

Life!

The singular thing we all have in common. However having said that there are only actually two things which for sure will happen to us all.

We will be born. We will die.

Stark but nevertheless completely true.

Equally true is the fact that many of us do actually treat the experience that is life as a final destination. We all too easily lose sight of the fact that it is actually a journey. Each day, for each of us is completely unique and thus our journey in turn becomes as individual as we are and in all honesty most of us never even consider that it is our choices along the way which make it so.

The amazing thing is that we all of us do have the power of choice.

It is after all the most basic of our rights as humans. We can all of us, if we so choose be compliant and ”allow” life to happen to us OR we can become proactive and choose to be the architect of our own journey and subsequently our destiny.

So my friends I would urge that you give some thought to the gift which is your life and the like of which you will not receive again. As you go through your day tomorrow pay attention…..be mindful if you will.… as to the number of choices you will actually get to make during it’s course. In addition to the those you would make automatically……what to eat, what to wear, where to go…….concentrate on each moment as it occurs and realise that everything in life is a choice;

Positivity. Negativity. Gratitude. Happiness…all of it

Those choices in turn have the power to alter your life for the better or worse. Any given point on your journey through life is in direct correlation to your words, actions & attitude and it is you alone who are responsible for it.

There are those amongst us who will say ”Oh no it’s not  my fault… ???… did this, said that and so on which would all be very true HOWEVER the key here is that the other person is the one who has to take responsibility for their actions whilst it is YOU alone who must take responsibility for your REACTION to the situation/ feeling they created. You have the power to allow or disallow how anything impacts upon you. You can CHOOSE and it is this choice alone which will dictate whether you are compliant in or an architect of your life, your FUTURE!

So having urged you to be mindful as you go about your day tomorrow you should consider the possibility that you have inadvertently become compliant in ”allowing” your life to just happen to you. If you should come to realise that you have in fact been ”happily” accepting your lot then it may come as somewhat of a surprise to find that you have always had the option of CHOICE.

It would be unrealistic to assume that choosing a positive option will either be simple or easy

Indeed at times it will be very far removed from these two particular emotions. The difficulty comes with the slow realisation that (in many instances) we have been accepting the unacceptable as being the only option open to us without ever having truly considered any alternative just because ..”that’s the way it’s always been”….! When you think about it would you buy meat from the same butcher every week regardless of the fact that it had ”gone off” just because your family had always shopped there? Of course you wouldn’t because you would be able to see, smell & taste the badness.

However when it comes to something as intangible as ”happiness” our recognition and/ or acceptance of it is based on the largely intangible, meaning that whilst we can witness someones happiness by seeing them smile, we cannot touch it, taste it or smell it. By default therefore we become more inclined to be accepting of something which cannot be physically evidenced as being otherwise and as such it enables us to trust that things are as they should be.

After all how often do we say things such as; ” it was just a gut feeling” about something?

So having decided (which in itself is a choice) then that everything in life is a choice, let’s take the a fore mentioned emotion of happiness. People have often said to me things like ”you’re either happy or unhappy, that’s all there is to it” I would for a long time have agreed with them UNTIL that is I had my own what I like to call ”light bulb moment” and realised that I like you can choose happiness.

It took me quite a while to get into the habit of choice and for me it became easier when I realised that the opinions and or actions of others for instance, could only hold sway over my emotions if I ALLOWED them to. The bottom line is that we all of us have responsibility for what we allow in our lives. For me I have actively chosen not to allow or embrace negativity from any source. If we try and remember that the negativity we encounter on a daily basis particularly from another person is THEIR negativity and as such has no place in or power over our lives we soon come to realise that it’s just a small step to choosing between a smile or a frown!

In CHOOSING HAPPINESS I now also understand that (to quote the song) –

”You’re never fully dressed without a smile!”  and it feels AWESOME!!!

Happiness you will come to understand is not only a choice but a way of life and it’s contagious so………..what are you waiting for???

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!

Dont be so POST

”Love yourself first and everything else falls in line”

Lucille Ball

I have long struggled to reconcile myself to the fact that practicing Self Care  as opposed to being Selfish is not only ACCEPTABLE, it’s NECESSARY! Whilst for me at least being selfish has never been an option on this journey through life, the alternative and far healthier choice of caring  positively and in a loving manner for oneself, I have for a very long time mistakenly believed to be the same thing. In fact NOTHING could be further from the truth.

Self Care;  Looking after ones self in a healthy manner be it physically, mentally or spiritually
Selfish;  lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

When you look at the definitions side by side the difference in meaning is CLEAR for all to see. Yet in my minds eye the fact that on occasion when I chose to utter the word NO in response to say a request to do something for another the guilt and anguish I experienced at my own PERCEIVED selfishness  simply because I had ”refused to help someone” in some way, knew absolutely no bounds. Unfounded guilt, coupled with  equally unfounded paranoia that they would deem my negative response to their request as me being SELFISH fueled a self perpetuating decline overtime into the unrealistic realm of me responding with a compliant YES to requests REGARDLESS of whether I needed to do something different at the time or not!

In real terms what that meant on the most basic of levels is that in the great scheme of things when asked to do……..(you fill in the blanks)….and regardless of circumstance, situation, time constraints, personal commitments I would more often than not be heard to proffer an enthusiastic YES (when actually feeling anything but!) and usually at great personal expense in terms of the impact on both my physical and mental well being. Simply put I had done an OUTSTANDING job of convincing myself that without doubt to proffer an equally firm but polite NO would mean that I was SELFISH personified!

In essence I had decided at an extremely young age that I would in no way become a SELFISH person,  A noble premise but one in which aiming to achieve, I had unwittingly applied a totally unrealistic set of principles for negotiating the minefield of life. Principles which would see me time and again put the needs of others over and above those of myself regardless of personal cost. In all honesty the cost incurred was probably an equal mix in terms physical, emotional and mental decline. The concept of SELF-CARE never having even been allowed the opportunity to be considered. In my ”quest” to become ”all things, to all people” a modern day mix of Mother Theresa & Nelson Mandela if you will, my default setting had turned me into a somewhat substandard version of Mary Poppins as I had very definitely become ”practically IMPERFECT in every way”.

The pressure I had put myself under by striving to reach the unattainable saw me buckle under my PERCEIVED FAILURE to be the person I THOUGHT others wanted me to be as opposed to the person that I ACTUALLY AM! Such was my physical and mental decline that I was the last  one to realise just exactly what my self imposed mindset had cost me.

Almost too late I realised that those who I loved and who loved me in return did so simply BECAUSE of who I AM and NOT because what I can do for them. All they wanted (had EVER wanted) was for me to be HAPPY, HEALTHY & WHOLE! Were I on occasion willing and ABLE to help them out in some way then that would be ENOUGH.

I WOULD BE ENOUGH!

So late in the day I came to understand the concept of SELF-CARE! Together with it’s implications and benefits. The outcome for me (and hopefully those of you who may also lack self awareness) is such that as a matter of priority I  now strive everyday to seek BALANCE in life: a healthy, balanced diet, quality sleep and enough of it, to spend quality time with loved ones and above all else to make time to relax and just ”be” – whether sitting, reading, meditating, essentially doing something where I show MYSELF the love I now know I DESERVE and which without forethought I make so readily available to others.

When you truly come to understand AND practice the art of SELF-CARE, see it in action for yourself AND THEN realise that life as you knew it has not only NOT ceased to exist BUT in fact IMPROVED BEYOND MEASURE then you will know without a shadow of a doubt that to;

”Love yourself first and everything else falls in line”

……..probably number amongst some of the truer words ever spoken! Never lose sight of the fact that when it comes to being loved then you are right up there at the top of the list so remember going forward

”Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!”