Every New Year brings about feelings of a new beginning, the calendar has flipped or is new, and everything is fresh again. Some people would disagree with this sentiment, and that is their prerogative, but I feel like the New Year is the opportunity to set big goals/intentions in every aspect of your life. Personally, I like to see how much I can grow as a person, or how much I can progress at what I am learning, and last year I even challenged myself to see how much of a priority I would keep myself.
Self Care, Self Priority
I won’t say I killed it in self care last year, but I did pretty darn well. I made my family more accountable for little things(and big things), I practiced yoga on a regular basis, I focused more on changing eating habits, and I spent more time in quiet solitude. I love the peace and calmness that the quiet provides for me, but that doesn’t mean I sat there doing nothing. I spent time writing in a journal, I meditated, I watched videos on various things, I listened to podcasts, I did some creative things and most importantly, I sat with myself. See, I like me and my own company. I like feeling a oneness with myself. I like being grounded inside this body of mine, and I like me best when I actually make me a priority.
Notice I chose to write about self care first? Self care is a priority, not just a buzz word, and guess what? I am a priority too. Are you a priority in your life, or do other things come first? I used to think that other things and people were supposed to come before me, that my friends was a very bad way of thinking and looking at things. I am not saying to be selfish, that would be a horrible thing to be, I am saying, take care of yourself so that you may value yourself, and treat yourself as well as you would treat anyone else. Dare I say always put yourself first? Yes, I dare say it. I believe that a lot of us are taught, or somehow adopt the thinking that there is an order of who comes first, and typically, we are not it. Well, how many of you that are not first, are as happy as you should be, or feel some resentment, or unsettled feelings? Odds are all of you and you just don’t realize it.
I had a friend one day tell me that she is not first in her life, and I asked why not. She said she needed to take care of her family first. Okay, I have been in that place too, but her kids are adults with their own lives, so why is she still taking care of them first? Choice, it is her choice. But when she felt resentment of an expectation her family had of her, I pointed out that was because she had allowed that and had reinforced it. We disagreed with care, but we both know I will keep prodding her to change that for herself. Why? Because she is a terrific person that I love, and to be honest, she deserves to be first. She would tell you that she is first in many ways, but my point is, if you feel some resentment, you are not first and that clearly affects you, and you matter. So, what is the point I am making here? If we set the tone to take care of ourselves first, people will accept that as the norm, they will take care of themselves first too, perhaps there will be less dependency or codependency in this world.
As a mother to two girls, I feel like I have failed by not taking care of myself first. I feel like I have perpetuated a cycle from my grandmother’s era, and I have somehow shown my kids that if you put everyone else first, you go crazy, you have physical ailments and you then struggle to find a balance between yourself and those you love. YUCK. Okay that is not the word I wanted to use, but you can infer. Thankfully, my kids are growing up in an age where it is better to take care of yourself first, and they are in favor of me taking care of myself…until it impedes their need from me. They sometimes think that their need from me, trumps my need to take care of myself. I’m sorry, my bad. I should have made me a priority all along and then you would know that this minor blip you are experiencing can wait until I am done helping myself…but seriously, it is my bad for showing you that my self care didn’t come first. And in turn, this is showing you that you are not ultimately responsible for your self in some way, that I am and may always be. Hmmm. There it is.
I have always been responsible for my own happiness. My parents provided me with a lot of things growing up, but my happiness being dependent on them was not one of them. I was graced with a nice home, nice clothes, great food, and some good interaction with my parents. My mom always made sure to walk, this was her priority for herself…but I can say that was probably mom’s only self priority. However, she made it clear that she was not responsible for my happiness, I was. So, how did I arrive at that place that I have felt so responsible for my kids’ happiness? Yeah, part of it is love. I love my kids more than anything and would do anything for them, but my mom is the same, so….that doesn’t jive. My mom worked 40 hours a week in a factory, and I work half of that, out of my home…yikes, we are getting somewhere. I have a lot more time to devote to my kids, their needs and their schedules…so maybe my kids have been my whole life. OMG, I am admitting this all out loud.
I never wanted to be a stay at home mom, or a mom that didn’t work a full time job. I admired my mom for working a full time job, because to me, that was making herself a priority. My mom showed me how to balance work, home and self, and I respect the hell out of that woman for doing so. This was what I wanted for my girls to see from me, but it isn’t what I have shown them. I went around and around with my husband over that, and because I did not prioritize myself(placing him and my kids “first”), and because he had a mom that was mainly stay at home and then worked more as he and his sister grew, he won. He would tell you now that he knows he was wrong to place this expectation upon me and not support me, but I was wrong too. He knows that the choice should have been mine, but if I had prioritized myself, then the choice would have been mine.
Why am I telling you all of this? I am telling you that life has so many possibilities and probabilities. BUT, if you don’t prioritize yourself, you may make choices that you really regret, you may set an example that you really don’t like, you may set a guideline for what people think of you because of what they think they see and know of you…and this isn’t really the picture in entirety at all. And then you may just stick your middle fingers in the air, wave ’em round like you just don’t care, and then serenely smile because you are at peace with yourself, and you finally reached that place because you have finally focused on your own self care. Just kidding, I have always been a finger waver, but now I do it serenely and with a smile.
To end this today, I challenge you to exam how much self care you do. How much are you a priority in your own life? If you feel it is too late to start your own self care journey, pinch yourself, because it is NEVER too late to start a new beginning. Whether it be a new year, a new month, a new week, or a new day, every minute is a new beginning, stop waiting and start by doing just one thing at a time. I will come back to address other new beginning topics, but this one is most important and this is me prioritizing myself!