Today was one of those days where I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Where it felt like something heavy was weighing on my chest. What it was I can’t exactly say but I think it might have something to do with this past weekend. I wrote a post not too long ago about realising the importance of making myself a priority. It seems so easy right? You realise it and then you do it! Isn’t it that easy? No! It’s not that easy! And I realise as I sit here with tears in my eyes that I really struggle to know what that means to make myself a priority.
There have been a few times this last week or so when after the event, I can look back and say, “if only I’d listened to myself then.” But that’s one of the tough things I find about being a mom and a wife and a human being actually 😉 You don’t always know when to listen to your self. You don’t know when to make yourself a priority until it gets to the point where I am now…tears in my eyes and feeling like I just might scream at any moment. Trapped. Alone. A pressure cooker just waiting to explode.
This past weekend there were two instances in which I didn’t totally do what I wanted to do, what I felt I needed because I wanted to make everyone else happy. We were at the beach. Yes, I normally love the beach, but we were without an umbrella, there wasn’t much of a beach due to high tide and I actually just felt like going home. If I had voiced that, my husband would’ve been fine with it. My kids would have groaned a bit but also would’ve been ok. So why didn’t I just say that? Because I didn’t want to ruin everyone’s fun. My girls were having such fun in the sea, swimming, jumping over the waves and I didn’t want to ruin that for them. I was trying to convince myself I was being ridiculous, a party pooper, that I just needed to get over myself. But myself just couldn’t be convinced. I know it seems like a minor thing but it’s an accumulation of these minor things that eventually add up and find me feeling the way I am today. Of constantly putting everyone’s needs above mine because I want everyone in my family to be happy. But what about me? I can’t even blame my husband because he’s really encouraging of me making time for myself and is supportive of what I’m needing. The problem is I sometimes don’t know what it is I’m needing in that moment. And so it’s hard to voice it. I’m not very good at looking after me. I just assume I’ll be ok.
I was chatting to a friend earlier today and we came to the conclusion that it was about learning to say YES to ourselves. And to not feel guilty about it. I’m pretty good with setting boundaries with my kids with certain things but when it comes to having to deny them an opportunity or an experience, something that I know they’ll love, something that will make them happy, I’m a bit of a softy. Because how do I deny them that? Because isn’t that my job? To make sure that they’re happy? All.The.Time. Well, actually when I put it like that, no, that’s not my job. Among other things, my job is to teach them how to look after themselves. How to love themselves. How to be happy with THEMSELVES and not necessarily with the experiences around them. And yes, it always comes back to this mirror, this constant reflection of ‘If I’m not showing them how I look after myself, how am I teaching them the importance of doing this for themselves?’
My tank was empty and it needed refuelling. No guessing what happens to an empty tank if you keep going. Yes, it shuts down. It stops. It disconnects. The result of me not looking after myself on the weekend and being in touch with what it was that I was needing caused me to disconnect from my husband and behave like a bit of a child really. Being a bit moody and sulky because I wasn’t getting what I was needing. And then starting to resent him because of my own inability to express myself. To know what I need.
But the good news is that after that weekend, after chatting to my husband, and clearing things there, I realise that I am in a process of relearning an old and very entrenched behaviour. I know I’ll forget and have to learn again but that’s just part of my process. After chatting to my friend, I took myself off to Sorbet for a power pedi. An hour of just sitting and enjoying being pampered. This is not something I regularly do. I can count the amount of pedis I’ve had in my life on one hand. (2 of those being my wedding and matric dance!) But it is my aim to do more of them 😉
Something else I did was before going grocery shopping, I went into my favourite coffee shop, sat down and ordered a coffee. This is something I never do! I wasn’t there to work on my computer, I was just there to sit, drink my coffee and do nothing! To take 10 minutes out of my day to just sit and breathe. I can’t tell you the difference these two simple things have done for me. Besides the fact that they were totally enjoyable and relaxing, by giving myself the permission to do them and not feel guilty about it, helped to alleviate that tight chest feeling I was having as I felt empowered and deserving of saying YES to me!
And so I’m constantly learning. I’m learning that refuelling can sometimes be a quickie but if it’s done often enough, it keeps the engine going. I’m learning to do something which for me is quite a difficult thing. I’m learning that it’s ok to say YES to me!
These were just some of the things I did to say YES to me. What do you do for yourself that says YES to YOU?