Showing self kindness.

Many people, including myself have been brought up to put others first. My Mother was the typical Martyr, working herself into the ground, not expecting consideration or praise. Even when unwell she would keep going, no-one could run the home as she did, she made herself indespensible, but at what cost?  She was constantly drained, irritable, sleep deprived & extremely low in mood. When it was suggested that she took a break, she’d be horrified. When sitting she’d perch on the edge of the chair, just waiting to jump up & continue her work. I don’t remember ever seeing her truly relax. I can only imagine how unworthy she felt. Why else would she abuse herself in this way?

For most of my life I followed my Mothers’ ethos, although illness forced me to take a slower approach to life than I wanted. Even when really unwell, as soon as I heard someone approaching, I’d jump up & look busy. I couldn’t accept that it was alright to take time out, I felt guilty. I was a failure. Maybe if I’d really relaxed in both body & mind, I might not have suffered such ill health? Hindsight is pointless, I did what I did. I followed my Mothers example.

It has taken me to reach my 60s before I accepted that I had the right to relax, to enjoy time out &  that resting was no crime.

Currently I am coping with an horrendous flare up of my fibromyalgia symptoms. It hasn’t been a surprise as I know I’ve been pushing myself too hard. I knew that I needed to slow down, but old habits die hard; I was needed, indespensible, unwilling to accept my frailties. As expected, I’m now paying the price!

In extreme pain & feeling very unwell, I am laying on the sofa with feet raised, yet still trying to figure out how I can fulfil my commitments over the next few days. Why is it so difficult to just say “sorry, can’t make it “? Some people find it easy to pamper themselves & often make the most of sick periods, having people run around & fetch & carry for them. Not me, thanks Mum. No doubt her Mother was the same.

Isn’t it time that we were taught that self kindness is as necessary as kindness to others? None of us are indespensible. If we take time out, the world continues to turn. Life goes on & so it should. I am quite good at helping people & offering advice. It is annoying when people choose to ignore sensible, well researched advice, so why  do I ignore my own wisdom? Why do I simply refuse to accept that I’m not SuperWoman?

All over the Country & maybe the Workd, there are people like me. Sufferers who will happily encourage loved ones to take better care of themselves, to rest & relax when needed, yet who ignore their own advice. It’s no less than masochism!

As I age I am improving. I do relax more. I meditate. I feel less guilty for doing nothing. I eat more healthily, exercise more, sleep more soundly, unfortunately that is only part of the picture – the remainder of the time I run round like a headless chicken.

The moral of this story is simple. I need to take more general care of myself every day of my life, not just when time allows, or pain/ illness offers no other choice.  Hopefully people who read this may look at themselves & question their attitude to self care. If you are one of the fortunate people who find it easy, look around you, is there a harassed person enabling you to do it? If so, perhaps it’s time to offer a little more considerate care. “I’m alright, I’m happy to do it!” is often no more than the hidden message saying ” I don’t believe myself worthy of self care.” Offer to help, insist on it. Make a cuppa. Let that person realise that you love them, not just as a workhorse, but as a human being with rights, needs & frailties.

We all need & are entitled to love , care & respect. Accept it from wherever it is offered & if no-one offers, then take it for yourself. You are worthy.

Rosie Thomas

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Thankyou for taking the time to read this. Although I write irregularly, everything is from the heart & hopefully offers the reader some food for thought.

I you have enjoyed my musing, please ‘like’, ‘follow’ &/or ‘share’. Blogs only really work if there are people out there happy to read our words.

I am happy to receive feedback or other communication, so feel free to respond.

Thank you. Namaste x

 

 

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New Challenges

Once again I’ve had to accept lessons from the Universe.

Today I began to clear out my office.

What had begun as an exciting challenge soon began to tell on my health. I always knew that it was going to be a risk, but one that I felt compelled to try.   Although I am disappointed that I haven’t been physically strong enough to make a go of my new venture, it hasn’t been a wasted experience. Through it I have come to realise that there are many, many things more important than money or status.

I have realised that I get far more pleasure from helping in a charitable format.  The pressures involved in needing to cover my rent & other expenses had begun to play on my mind.  I had begun to doubt myself.

I have worked long & hard to build up the self esteem needed to happily survive as a lone pensioner. I was being unrealistic to think that I could just shrug these pressures off.  Lessons in the form of a several week downturn in my health hit me square in the face!  I was made to understand, in no uncertain terms that although my mind may be strong, my body is not!

Once again I accept the need for the lesson in humility!

I am exceptionally fortunate that being a pensioner, I do not have to work to survive. There is a tremendous freedom about not needing a lot .  I still buy far more than I should, have a close to zero bank balance, but so what?  When push comes to shove, what do I get most satisfaction from?  I don’t smoke, gamble or drink from personal choice. I don’t buy expensive perfumes or fancy clothes, not because I’m deprived of choice – the exact opposite!  I could spend my income on these ‘luxuries’ but why on earth would I want to?

I love the simplicity of my life these days.  I have a busy social life ( too busy!) lots of friends, a lovely home, beautiful companion in my cat Chi.  Vegan lifestyle.  No car.  Few holidays, haven’t been abroad for many years!  But I have a lifestyle that I wouldn’t swap with anyone, or for anything!

I don’t intend to sound smug.  I am aware that many people can’t understand how I can be so happy, at times I find it hard to understand myself!    But then something will happen to put things in perspective again.

Tonight has been such a revelation.

Since deciding, albeit reluctantly to abandon the pressure to make a better income for myself, I have dedicated my time to a charity that is close to my heart.  It is a small mental health charity in Wells , called Heads Up.  There I found the strength & support that I needed to firmly establish myself as part of the human race after years of mental health problems.  I now volunteer there when I am able.   I have also decided to write to help others who find themselves alone, as I was, to overcome whatever may be holding them back from living a fulfilling life.  I can only do this from personal experience, so am now grateful for the hell that I’ve been through. I have also realised that I have a lot of simple skills that I can share.  I don’t need an office or headed notepaper.   All I need is trust in myself & the path that I am being led along.  I have that in abundance!

Strange skills are making themselves visible to me, choices that I never would have considered.  I am writing blogs,  poetry,  I am offering help in many different ways.  In each new challenge I find payment in kind.

Tomorrow, or rather later on today I am holding a free relaxation group for clients, carers & staff at Heads Up.  Two things spring to mind here – firstly,  me leading the session?  Voluntarily?  Me who not too many years ago couldn’t even speak to a stranger. Me who was agoraphobic for nearly 17 years.  Me who was such a wreck that I couldn’t cope with life!     Secondly I am in the laughable situation that I am always chattering, laughing, active, always talking too much, yet I find that I can lead a group of people, with a quiet sense of serenity that I never would have thought possible.  I wrote the session myself, have written a guided relaxation exercise without really even trying & have many more waiting to be penned.   I have found something in me that I didn’t know, a strength through gentleness, a voice through quietness, a new direction that I hadn’t ever imagined.

Another aspect to this class is – what if no one turns up?  The absolute truth is that it doesn’t matter.  I don’t feel like I need to prove anything anymore.   I am giving the session,  I have the room booked, I have the music, the oils, the mats & the words ready.  If I am the only person in that session, it will be because that is what I need.  I will run the session even if it is just for myself.  I will gain a lot from it, whether I have a room full of people, or just me.  I will gain peace & serenity in there, which I can utilise to send out to those in need.

WOW!   How blessed & fortunate am I?

Love & blessings

Rosie 🕉

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Here is a link to my new blog site which I hope to fill with words, prose, poetry & inspirations both from my darkest days & my brightest.  I would be delighted if you would give it a read & maybe follow it. Thanks.   The site is rosie-anne bright.wordpress.com