My daughter texted me when a customer at her store, someone we vaguely know, played "I'm a Big Deal" on her. I texted her back; my inner bitch came out.
Recently, I made a list of ‘times I did what I thought others wanted when it did not work out’. I spent about ten seconds on this. I came up with some biggies.
· Dating the wrong boys
· Stupid jobs
· Downhill ski racing
· Staying married for far too long
· Choosing my college major
· Baking all day at Christmas
It was kind of a depressing list…I mean, at one point I had the bulleted item ‘my entire childhood’.
I moved on to: ‘times I did what I wanted for my own self when it DID work out’:
· Starting my first business
· Parenting my kids my way
· Cultivating my yoga practice
· Creating my personal health rules
· Helping people
Reading that list, I felt better.
This is most important in health. Only you really know what is right for your body. Your friends and message boards do not know what is right for you, and your health care practitioners are just taking a stab at it. They will get it wrong. It’s your body; it’s your fine instrument to manage. This can feel like a curse when you have a challenging issue to resolve, but it is not a curse—it’s a privilege. Your body is a temple of sacred mystery, and the best prescriptions for it come from you listening to it carefully. Let your body teach you.
My clients tell me they don’t want to bring their dietary restrictions on vacation because they will inconvenience others. “I don’t want to be a pain in the ass.” Yes, you do. You need to get comfortable with the idea of refining your own self care to the point that you are leading with your needs in every situation. For caretakers, this is a tough lesson.
It’s the most important lesson you can learn, because no one can take care of you the way you can—no one can take care of YOU. You get to do it. Lucky you.
There are people in my life who think I’m boring. There are people in my life who think I’m insensitive. There are people in my life who think I’m anti-social and there are a lot people in my life who think I am a high maintenance eater. And they are all exactly right. As a reformed over functioning person I am telling you, it is way more comfortable on the side of the room where my needs are my priority. In caring exquisitely for my own needs, I find my resources for others' expand exponentially.
Sometimes I forget to lead with my own needs. I rush my day. I get distracted and irritated and I snack on the wrong foods. I let someone else’s request alter my work out plans. Inevitably I then get stuck in traffic, there’s nothing in the house for dinner, I get a bunch of needy phone calls, and I end up mildly triggered. This chain used to turn my mood to dark. I’d snap at my kids or pour a big glass of wine. Call a friend to bitch. All of these.
These days when I see it happen I’m more likely to observe it. Here comes the irritated wave. I look for what caused it. I rushed out without taking time to meditate or plan my day. I skipped yoga. I’m making others’ needs more important than my own. I don’t judge it, I just observe. I create time for yoga, plan my next healing meal, tune into my latest Netflix binge or take a long walk. By the time I put my forehead down onto my mat in child’s pose at my next practice I’m already back to ‘grateful’ and in that place, I replenish.
The Four Agreements reminds us to always do our best. Always do your best for yourself and over time, you’ll lead yourself perfectly. My text bitch is pretty harsh, but she's got my back.