I use the hashtag “love you” a lot. I wonder often if people mistake what I am actually saying. It is not a statement, but rather a command. I am calling you to action.
But do you head the call? If you are like most people, no. Why is that? Sure, sure, sure you spout all the well intended quotes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup” but let’s be honest, do you follow through? And who pours from a cup anyway?!
No you don’t. You intend to right? Why is it so hard? Well lets flip that over and take a good old look-see. You have lots of demands. Could be work, kids, family, spouse, friends, cleaning, cooking, life! How does one fit in the time for themselves? Fair enough argument. Time is limited. You can only do so much in a day. However, let me punt back that argument. Why is any of that more important than you? Especially cleaning! I mean seriously Betty, put the feather duster down!
So the time argument doesn’t really hold up. So maybe you say, “I mean too, but my day gets away from me and I run out of time.” Okay legit. But why did you put self care at the end of the day and not the beginning? If you really are committed to self care, do it first. Start your day off right! Right?
“I can’t do it in the morning, I don’t have time. Mornings are too hectic!” Ehhh –hem. Alarm clocks have been around since 1787 (I know right?!) set your clock 20 minutes early and do something for yourself.
But… but. Yep. I thought so. So I have knocked holes in all your arguments, but that doesn’t really help answer why it is so hard. The reality is, I don’t know. But what I do know, is that it is pretty critical. We run and we run and we do and we do and collapse at the end of the day and sometimes we love our lives but often we just don’t. We don’t hate it. But we sure don’t love it. And that is not fair on so many levels.
What if you had 10 minutes every day. Every single day that fed you? Sure would you still run and run, but at least you could think when your head is spinning and you can’t think straight…”in just 2 hours I can…” And self care can look totally different to different people. For me it would be a long hot bath, yoga or meditation. For someone else it would be a walk in the woods. For my husband it is a run. Self care can be anything that makes you feel joy. And feeling joy… isn’t that the point of all of this? Really?
What if even you didn’t put yourself at the top of the list but you at least got on the list? Just.Got.On.The. Damn.List. Radical. I know. It feels all kinds of itchy right? But… but. Yeah. I know, but I don’t know why.
But what I would tell you is that you should be your own best friend or your own mother. If you have a child imagine your child, if you don’t, imagine the person you love the very very most in this world.
This person is overwhelmed to the brink of tears. You see them stressed and frustrated. You see how hard they are working to take care of all their obligations. You worry for them. It all seems a bit too much. Then they say, “You know I am going to….” You think, “Thank God! They really should do something for themselves! They need a break.” And then later they say, “Never mind, I don’t have time.” What would you say to them? I want you to imagine sitting face to face, knee to knee with that person holding their hands looking them dead in the eye. What would you say?
I know what I would say. I would say, “Oh my sweet angle. Stop. Stop right now. None of this matters! I know it feels like the world will fall apart if you don’t get your homework (or whatever) done. But lets imagine the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario is you don’t do it. What happens then? Does the world end? Do I love you any less? Does daddy? Do your friends love you less? No. So if the world does not end and no one loves you any less, can that thing that has you are so stressed about really be worth more than YOU? “
So figure out what you would say. Then write that shit DOWN. And every time you try to opt out of self care pull it out and look at it. When you do, imagine the person that loves you most in the world is saying it to you, knee to knee, holding your hand, looking your right in the eye. And by god…LISTEN.