This blog is for those of you finding yourself sandwiched between generations, or other relationships, where you are being pulled in multiple directions and feeling a bit overwhelmed. No matter what our ages, no matter where we are on the continuum, we are all trying to adapt to the changes that are happening to and around us, even to those we care for deeply. I am going to talk about Me First Self Care for these situations specifically. There are five key principles that if you bring into your relationships will help them become happier and more fulfilling.
As always before we take action, there is Rule #1 – Take a Deep Breath! Yes, let’s do it now, so we can be fully present for the information that follows. I am going to ask you to think outside the box, to keep a really open mind, as some of these principles are counter-intuitive especially to us helpers out there! The five principles are simple, but it’s not always easy to adhere to them without some practice. So I am going to share with you the principles and ask you to consider how you can incorporate them into your daily life.
The five principles include acceptance, respect, compassion, honesty and forgiveness. It’s hard to talk about one without the other, so bear with me as I take you through the principles and throw out some suggestions that have worked for me, my friends and family, and my clients. I also ask that you keep an open mind. Consider that what you have always done, if it is not giving you what you want, might be done differently. Some of this may seem counter-intuitive but I recommend giving it a try; it’s liberating for you and the others in your life. Let’s take another deep breath and dive in!
1. ACCEPTANCE, for both you and for the other persons(s), is defined as assent of the reality of a situation as it is and not trying to change it. Finding acceptance in a situation that you “think” should be different can be a challenge but I have to tell you, it is FREEDOM! Freedom from having to always be right, freedom from having to do everything yourself, freedom from having others always annoyed at you, freedom from trying to put a round peg in a square hole. Acceptance can be as simple as acknowledging you are too tired to take an action. That may mean saying no to something someone wants you to do, postponing an activity or asking for help because you need to rest. That short period of rest could give you hours of extra energy, while pushing through could cause you to snap at another, rush them through a process they need to take more slowly, or cause other unnecessary difficulties.
2. RESPECT - is learning to respect your needs, but also the needs of the other person. This comes back to those expectations we talked about a blog ago! Remember expectations are not goals, and they may or likely may not be communicated, doable or agreeable. Respect allows you to step back and listen to another’s point of view, respect that it may differ from yours, respect that they may want to do something for themselves or in another way. Respect and acceptance might lead you to have to acknowledge you might not be right. There is a saying I’ve heard in many places – Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy? It has been my experience and the experience of those in my life and career that being happy is a much better place to be! So think about that before you keep pushing a point of view or an action on someone else you love. Apply "THINK": -Is it True, is it Helpful, is it Inspiring, is it Necessary, is it Kind?
3. COMPASSION - Ahhhh, how can anything go wrong if you come at it with compassion? In that moment when a loved one starts to get angry, upset or yelling, what if you stepped back took a breath and thought, Huh? What’s going on for them that has made them so angry or upset? How can I help them through this? Would listening be better than responding? I always remember another saying: Hurt people hurt people. I know for me when I am feeling angry or upset it is typically because I had an expectation or something stung one of my insecurities, and I felt bad about myself. It’s likely that’s what’s going on for someone else.
4. HONESTY – I am not talking about telling everyone every truth that is floating in your head. I am talking about being honest when you say yes or no to something. Always remember before you respond, to take a deep breath. If you say yes to doing something, say yes because you want to, not because you feel obligated. Saying yes when you don’t want to and then showing up obligated most times ends up with you being insincere. While most of us think we put on a good front, we don't - we are not actors – and the other person can usually feel the insincerity. It shows up in a roll of eyes, the impatience in your voice, the quick snap when they ask another favor. When you say yes, mean it or else say no. It’s okay to say no, especially when you are pulled in many directions. Saying no maybe the kindest thing you can do in that moment.
5. FORGIVENESS – is the most powerful principle, and I will be doing an upcoming blog all about forgiveness. But for here, the first is forgive yourself for not being perfect. Here’s a little insider info – No One anywhere ever is, or has been perfect. It’s a fantasy. Forgive everyone else their mistakes, consider they are trying to do the best they can, they might be tired, or having a bad day, they just might not have read this blog and learned all these principles. Choosing forgiveness is powerful, not always easy, but it is powerful, and sometimes it takes a while so you might have to keep at it till you start to feel it. Marianne Williamson says nothing that anyone has ever done to you has permanent effects unless you hold on to it permanently. The choice is yours, forgiveness is for you, not the other person, it releases you from the pain.
I hope you have found this informative and helpful and continue to follow me on this empowered journey to SELF Care First! If you are new please go back and take a look at some of the other blog posts and sign up to follow me here on this blog, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked In, or sign up for a complimentary SELF Reboot Session, but definitely come back for my next post on self care empowerment. Til then, enjoy the journey!