Do you take time to look after yourself, to rest your body and soul? I certainly need reminding of this often, as I can have a tendency to get the rest and movement balance a bit out of wack. As Osho says 'Life is a balance between rest and movement.' I was reminded of a rather unbalanced time in my life as a mother of three boys under the age of two. This time was coloured by a few misunderstandings, mainly an over developed sense of responsibility.
I was reminded by a young mother friend of mine, who is juggling two demanding jobs, one as an academic and the other as the mother of a toddler. I was taken back to a similar time in my life, and recalled that unhelpful tendency I can have to slip into the martyrdom role, take way too much responsibility, feel guilty and run myself into the ground. Add to these the unhelpful habits of setting unrealistic expectations of myself and others, negative self-talk and feeling guilty, and not accepting help and I have a wrung out, resentful me, who is not much use to anyone!
As we explored in the guilt verses regret blog, guilt is a destructive habit that undermines our happiness. If instead of feeling guilty I can regret this tendency I had to be overly responsible, 'do it all', set unrealistic expectations and have a reluctance to ask for help or to take time to look after my own health, I can move on to develop more helpful ways to be.
Thankfully I am less likely to do these things these days thanks to the wonderful teachings I have been able to put into practice.
I learned a very useful lesson over 20 years ago when my boys were toddlers. There was a lot going on in our small house in Prahran, including lots of nappies, oxygen, feeding, washing, cooking, tantrums and not much sleep. So I was pretty exhausted at times.
During this time I had a friend Marilyn who also had six month old twin boys. She kept insisting I needed a cleaning lady and I kept insisting that I didn't and that I could manage things myself. One day there was a knock at the door and standing there was Barbara, Marilyn's cleaning lady. I didn't have the heart to send her away and am very happy I didn't. Barbara has been coming each Wednesday to help me with the cleaning for the past 25 years!
I am so grateful to her and to Marilyn too. However, I can vividly remember feeling guilty when Barbara would come, which I now know is never useful. I also unhelpfully thought it was self indulgent, selfish and unnecessary and I needed to justify having help. And of course taking time for oneself can be selfish if it all about me and my need to get away for some 'me time'. However if I am taking the attitude that I am taking time out for a rest and refuel so I can be available to others, all seems ok. I am aware of that feeling when I give and feel like I am scrapping the bottom of an empty well. This quickly leads to resentment, if I don't take the time to fill up my well so I can keep giving to others. So Barbara helps me fill up my well so I can keep giving to my family.
I know when I am overworked and tired I tend to get cranky with myself and others and am not much use to anyone. But, if I am able to take some time out to care for myself I am able to be more available to others and in a much happier, fun headspace. Again that 'better for others' (rather than better than others) analogy. We'll explore this more in the upcoming 'August - Awesome for others' posts
When I am able to take time to refuel and restore with this wise understanding, there is no need to feel guilty, over responsible or selfish. I can
Have a great week. Thank you all
Kind Regards and Best Wishes