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.
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.
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Thank you. Namaste x