Honour thyself

I did something unusual today. Feeling tired, heeding my body’s need to rest, I struggled with the kids competing needs. I didn’t want to say no. But I didn’t want to stretch myself further than I felt was wise. Three parties. Two days. 150km. Sole parenting. It would all be up to me.

But sometimes it’s not so easy to put ourselves first, is it. Especially when we’ve been taught from a young age that to put our own needs first is somehow wrong, or selfish, or just not Christian. I have a real problem with the creed of putting others first and yourself last. It’s a relic from my upbringing. And it really cheeses me off. Because there’s a big difference between being ‘selfish’ and honouring your own needs. And that programming often gets in the way of me allowing myself the rest I need. At least I am starting to recognise it. Because wearing myself out is not loving either, is it.

And I now realise that putting other’s needs ahead of my own probably contributed toward the whole cancer episode. Not something I need to repeat. And the thing is, if I don’t look after me, I may not be around to look after my kids anyway. So in effect, the truth is really quite the opposite, isn’t it. In order to care for others, we must first care for ourselves. So, I guess the emergency drill on a plane really does make sense then, doesn’t it. The bit about the oxygen mask. Look after yourself first and then help the other passengers. Because it wouldn’t serve anyone if we passed out while trying to help others, would it. We’d be a bit useless on the floor. Wouldn’t be much help at all.

And so I did something today I am still learning to do. This time, I stopped and asked for help.

And I was surprised how easy it was. Once I’d made the decision to honour my own needs, rather than push myself as I am in the habit of doing. To be honest about my vulnerability. To be humble enough to ask. And in so doing I received more than I thought possible, more than I had asked for. Help, so freely given. Help that allowed me the rest I needed while still meeting the needs of my children. I didn’t even consider such a solution. And I realised then that in putting myself first, while being honest about the conflict of wanting to look out for my children, my openness allowed an answer to unfold that met all our needs…

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  1. Jules Tarrant November 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Hi Belinda,

    Have you been following me around? Even the bit about two parties on one weekend by myself… Now I just have the ‘get’ the second part of your teaching.

    Thank you for yet another powerful and timely message.

    It is time for me to learn to ask for help. How do I go about booking in a session with you?


    • embracingchemo November 13, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      Hey Jules,

      One of the things I have realised is that most people really like to be asked for help. Because it seems that feeling helpful makes us feel good about ourselves. Thank you for asking. Give me a call and we’ll make a time.

      Belinda x