Self care is NOT selfish!
Do we care for ourselves or put our family first?
We have had relatives from overseas visiting us over the past week. It was a great opportunity to connect and to get to know each other better. It was especially great for my children to get to know their cousins, whom they met for the first time.
I spent some quality time with my cousin-in-law's wife and introduced her to some local shopping, and we browsed through some of the shops in Sydney. I introduced some fun and nice things, just for herself, such as to indulge in a delicious creamy chocolate drink and to get herself a few pieces of the wonderfully rich chocolate (which I know she likes). However, the normal response I got from her was "I will ask whether the family would like them, then I will purchase some….. ". I kept saying the chocolate was something just for her to enjoy….. but she just could not seem to see herself enjoying it without the family.
There is some sort of a fear holding her back from enjoying life, as though to say – I am not allowed to enjoy life, until I know my family is also enjoying it. Or who am I to enjoy life when my family is not enjoying it…
Does this experience ring a bell or resonate with you?
Today's topic is a simple one to understand, yet a hard one to apply, especially for mums: know that you are deserving!
I have personally walked through this mental path as well, and I can totally resonate with my cousin-in-law's wife.
Parents, especially mums, have a mantra that your family is your focus, your joy, your love, especially your children. There is nothing you would not do for them; howeve,r sometimes you can place so much focus on everyone else that you tend to forget about yourself. Such that if they are not happy, you are not happy; their needs have to be met first, before you; or when they need you, you will drop everything to fulfill their needs first.
Is that what you believe and do?
Yes, without a doubt you love your family; meeting their needs is your priority. However, you still need to think about YOU!
You need to know that your needs are just as important. What you want or need is important…like enjoying the best chocolate just for yourself for a change. Have some love and compassion for your needs, and enjoying something nice for yourself should not bring the "guilt" feeling, but it should bring joy.
When we start filling our own love cup with joy, fun and compassion, only then you will have enough love within yourself to share with the family. When you are happy, you will see things in a relaxed and happy perspective, and your love and fun will spill over to your family!
The most important thing is to be honest with yourself. Ask yourself:
- What do you really need that will make you happy?
- What will bring joy to your life?
- What can you do to increase joy and happiness in your life?
- If you are tired – take a nap, or organise for a babysitter to help you out for a few hours.
- If you dislike cleaning the house – find someone you can trust to help you, whether it be weekly or fortnightly.
- Communicate with your spouse and family about your needs. Don't keep it in your heart; be open and ask for your needs to be met, where possible.
Your happiness and joy is in your hands. It all starts with you, but you have to first find it in you. It may be hard at first, as the guilt factor (due to childhood programming) may creep in to sabotage your effort. But start with baby steps and move from there.
Remember you are deserving and self love is never selfish!