We have written many times on this blog about non-negotiables. We’ve talked about priorities. We have beat the drum about taking care of yourself. We have sounded the alarm that life is meant to be lived. And then, I will only speak for me, I didn’t actually follow my own advice. Well I tried to but as soon as things got busy, my own self-care was the first to go.
I had a mini epiphany last week. I pronounced to my husband that I was getting back to yoga, meditation and exercise. But that this time I was doing it differently. I was putting these things in my life FIRST and let all the other things in life fill in around my non-negotiables — even my work. What a radical concept?
I am going to put my own health and wellbeing ahead of everything else. Now I have typically been really good about getting my exercise in no matter what. But I have frequently let the meditation slide, let the yoga slide, let the sleep get short-changed if need be. I have said yes when I wanted to say no. I have said yes when everything inside me was screaming, no!
I have stayed in situations longer than its usefulness because I didn’t want to hurt someone or let anyone down.
I have let others stay in my life long after our connection stopped serving either of us.
But I have been changing these things in the last several months. If you are thinking, “yeah of course you can do that but I can’t.” Please know I am sharing this with the full understanding that this can be daunting. But the cost of continuing to sacrifice yourself in service of others, in reality, is not service at all.
We’ve all been to an event, gathering, function, lunch or whatever and someone has a smile on their face but you can “just tell” they don’t want to be there. They are saying all the right things, doing all the expected tasks and yet, you know, their heart isn’t in it.
And we have all been that person, going through the motions and hoping nobody notices. They may not be able to put their finger on the pulse of the problem but we all feel it.
What’s better is that when we start to build healthy boundaries, saying yes to ourselves, saying yes to our care, we do, honest to God, give others permission to do the same.
We all know people who will call to tell you they can’t make it to an event because they are too tired or just need a break. Those people practice self-care. So when we have plans with that person we feel OK to call and say, sorry but I am not able to join your event. And we know they will accept our regret at not attending with grace… and maybe an unspoken, “good for you!”
That’s exactly how we give ourselves and others permission to say: I need a break. I need some fun. I need a nap. I need a good home-cooked meal. I need quiet.
The more we give voice, even if it’s only to ourselves, to what we need, the easier it gets. The more we model that way of being in our lives the more we show others they can choose that too. Others will still choose to hustle. Others will still choose to stay in the fast lane and that’s OK. We are leaving judgment behind on this and instead opting to practice discernment. Deciding what we want and letting go of what we don’t want.
And that de-cluttering of our inner life can be difficult. It can push you right up to the mirror and invite you to take a good, long look at yourself. And that isn’t always the easiest view. But if you keep your eyes open. If you start again today and the next before long you will look back and be amazed at how far you’ve come.
Further you may notice that the people who are still in your life are wanting the same thing you do. You will see you have built a tribe of like-minded people who you can be yourself with no matter how good or bad you think that view may be from moment to moment.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G