It has always been easy for me to love other people. I care deeply for anyone in my world. It has always been difficult to extend that same love and care to myself. I have always followed the Golden Rule, but recently realized I never expected that treatment in return, and most of all, not from myself. I need to treat myself as I treat others. Wow.
Before I had my own children, I went to extra lengths to care for my husband and students and basically everyone else was more important. I thought I was here to help and please others, my needs were either secondary or nonexistent. When Hubby’s cholesterol went up, we switched to healthier oils. I created fun and interesting projects for my students – even if it took all night. I might skip meals as I worked so hard for everyone else. And then comfort my stressed out body with junk food and endless computer games.
I realized yesterday, that I am in charge of myself, of taking care of myself, and that I’m doing a completely awful job of that most days. I’d fire myself if I were my Nanny.
I take great care of my children. I discipline them because I love them. I make them have healthy habits because I love them:
- I would never let them eat too much ice cream, “No sweetie, one bowl is enough”.
- I would never let them stay up until 2am watching TV, “Kiddos, it is 8pm and time to get ready for bed – your bodies need rest to grow and stay healthy, and your brain needs sleep to keep getting smarter and learn more at school”
- I would never let them play video games for 6 hours straight, “Time to save your games and go outside for fresh air, sunshine and run around a bit. Why don’t you see if your friends can come over to ride bikes?”
- I would never let them hate themselves, “Aww honey, I’m so sorry you had a bad day. I know it is tough when your friend fights with you. But we all love you and will always be here. You may or may not make up with your friend, only time will tell about that. But you are a great person, and we should go have fun, not sit in here moping all day, ok? If you need more time to cry, that’s fine too, but as soon as you’re up to it, you should come back and have a snack with us.”
So, why don’t I take better care of myself? Why don’t I put myself to bed early enough to get 8 hours sleep, get daily exercise, stop eating so much junk, stop negative self-talk, stop isolating myself, etc? Because I don’t love myself as much as I love my kids. They’re easy to love. I see them and feel love. I see myself and well, honestly, often feel disappointed and annoyed. I also feel like I’m in control of them, like it is my job and I take it seriously. Somehow, the responsibility has never transferred to self-care. Why don’t I take the job to care for myself seriously?
I’m hoping this is something else I can learn with practice. I know it also has to do with habits, but for me, I think it is much more about loving myself. Deep down I think I don’t deserve to feel good. It is actually scary to me, to view myself as strong, healthy, thinner, and confident. What the heck is that about? Have I gotten so comfortable in the victim role? Or am I unsure I can succeed at being healthy, so it easier not to try? Or is it simply that I don’t care enough about myself to give me a chance. Hmmm. I need to take care of myself as well as I take care of my kids. I need to love myself too. Can I do it? I don’t know, but I’m sure going to try.
I realized all of this, because I had a great day yesterday. Really Super! Productive, cheerful, not too anxious, not so distracted. I realized that I had gone to sleep at 11pm rather than my usual 2am. And I actually slept. So then I made a good choice for eating protein at breakfast, being awake enough to remember this rule. If this sleeping thing keeps up, and the eating better keeps up, I may actually feel like exercising. I just may be unstoppable. Look out World! Here comes a healthy me!
We actually threaten a spanking if our children are out of bed at 9pm to discourage the multiple trips for drinks and potty that little ones will do to delay bedtime if permitted. (Before you get upset, to us, a spanking means they giggle while we chase them, and we deliver one not-painful swat on a clothed bum when we catch them before we put them back in bed) How do I put the same threat on myself? Well, I suppose I could ask Hubby to spank me if I stay up too late, to chase me while I giggle, and that would most likely lead to us going to bed, but probably would not directly lead to sleeping then. ;-0
- God Bless Sleep! (caregiving.com)
- Nutrition & Fitness – Week 1 (americandreammaker.wordpress.com)
- Top 8 Tips to Continue Self Care after your Vacation or Holiday (lifebalancehealthcoach.wordpress.com)