Taking a selfish

Early this morning I was awoken by a severe charlie horse.  Such a fun way to wake up.  I understand a muscle cramp when exercising, but getting them while sleeping has always confounded me.

Then I found myself perusing the book of face and saw an old friend who posted that this year, the year of 2021, would include a mix of David and Moira from the now infamous Schitt’s Creek and she mentioned several things she was focused on for the year.  One of which was taking a selfish.

Taking a selfish

I enjoy Schitt’s creek. I love the phrase. But at what point were we taught that taking time for ourselves was selfish?  And if it is selfish, is that a bad thing?

One thing I learned in 2020 is that all of the things and even people I focused so much of my energy on in 2019 was wasted.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my tribe.  It is filled with friends and family alike who are smart and strong and beautiful – inside and out.  My tribe surrounds me like a warm blanket on a cold day when needed and I hope I do the same for them.  But the others? The co-workers who disappeared as soon as I stopped working with them or the friends who faded away as soon as our friendship no longer served their needs?  Wasted energy.  

I’ve often defined myself through my career.  I work hard – maybe too hard – and give even when my own cup is empty for the betterment of the team and company.  I went through a gamut of emotions when the very people I spent well over 40 hours a week supporting and championing for were removed from my life.  And after I was done being hurt and angry, then the most beautiful thing happened.  Out of the darkness, I saw with clear eyes who remained.  The people who always saw you for you and not what you could do for them.  And that is beautiful.  

I wonder what I could have accomplished with all of that energy if I had focused it inward.  I wonder if the energy spent on those that don’t matter detracted from the energy I could have shared with those that do.  

I’m grateful for those in my life.  Family who is unfailingly there, friends I’ve had for decades, a life partner who challenges me and supports me, colleagues from the past that I’m humbled to consider friends.  

And you know what?  Every one of them, my tribe, would encourage me to take a selfish when needed because they see that in the grand scheme of things, I’m anything but selfish.  

So my challenge, to you and to myself, is to focus your energy where it will matter.  Intentionally.  

Self awareness

Self awareness is the first step in taking a selfish.  Identifying what you need and then honoring yourself to do it.  Like many of you, I was raised to nurture.  What I forgot in that lesson was to nurture myself with the same passion and fervor that I direct towards nurturing others.

How many of us are challenged with homeschooling our kids, building a career, cooking, cleaning, laundry, bills, fostering our relationship with our partner, being diligent about avoiding the ‘Rona, inundated with fear and doubt and uncertainty from the news…. the list goes on.  (except I’m not homeschooling… I know many of you are though and my heart goes out to you).  

As you list out the things you need to do today, how much is FOR YOU and not for you indirectly through your care and concern for others?

Keep it simple

Self care doesn’t need to be complicated.  There’s enough in our world keeping things complex.  Depending on what fills your cup back up, it could be as simple as reading a book, learning a new hobby, going for a walk, setting aside time to meditate, closing the door to a room in your house and enjoying the quiet, listening to music, or any other number of things.

Saying No

Sometimes, it’s as easy as saying no… or as hard.  Are you agreeing to something because you really want to say yes to it?  Or are you keeping the peace and fulfilling your role as Martyr in Chief? 

Stay Organized

Is your current workspace cluttered with so much stuff you can’t see your “desk” or is that just me?  Take 20 minutes to go through that stack of papers, take the empty cups to the kitchen, find a home for the scissors and pens strewn about.  Ok, maybe it is just me but you get the idea.

How about your kitchen?  Are there dishes in the sink? The counters?  

What’s on your nightstand? 

You get the idea here, right?  Taking time to clear clutter creates a different energy in your home and let’s face it, home is where we are now and will be for a while.

Set boundaries

Most importantly, and likely the hardest part, is setting boundaries and honoring yourself.  I can’t count the number of times I started the day with grand plans of doing something I wanted.  Then life happened.  And as the hours ticked by, I filled my time with one more email, one more task, one more, one more, one more….. until I was exhausted and went to bed only to wake up and repeat the cycle the next day.

If you had a doctor’s appointment, you wouldn’t decide that you were too busy to go, right?  So why are you less valuable than the doctor?

I’m not saying that you have to live a perfectly scheduled day where at 2:15 you are going to drop everything to knit, but at the same time, set boundaries. For yourself and for others. 

You matter

In short, YOU matter.  Not more than the others in your tribe, but at least as much as.  Putting yourself is selfish by definition and that is OKAY.  It’s more than okay.  It’s necessary.  You can’t pour from an empty cup.  So this year, let’s all focus on keeping our cups full and recognizing with passion the ways we feel fulfilled.

 

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