Let’s start with a little exercise. It sounds silly I know but why not..
First, close your eyes. Hopefully you are in a quiet room but if not, do this anyway. The person next to you probably already thinks you are odd so this won’t make a difference.
Count to five whilst taking deep breaths. Yes you know how to breathe so do it without reading.
Now think about all the worries in your life. List every single one. Your job? Your partner? Those awful kids of yours?
The reason why I am saying this is because I already know that you are listing every problem in your head and not one is related to yourself and just yourself. You are thinking about that mortgage payment coming up, that deadline you have coming up or all the stresses of Director. Are you actually thinking about your self-happiness? Your own well-being.. I highly doubt.
Today has been an eye-opening day for me. I have realised that all of my fear and tribulations are related to those around me but yet none will make my life any more fulfilling. I am carrying the burden of feeling anxious, down and somewhat depressed because of someone else’s problems and I guarantee you are too.
So I went to yoga. So cliche. However, it helps. Not because I like the strenuous lunges, the exaggerated breathing or awkward poses, but because it reminds me that I have to look out for my own well-being. I mean it’s great that we can take the burden of others. We are very selfless like that. No matter which country we live in, we always do take the burden of others. The sales target for the company we work for, the trouble a sibling is in, the expectations of family members- We take it all every single day. But why?
It really is okay to say for a couple of hours in your week- no not for 2 hours. As a woman, it is like an inherent gene we have that means take every single problem and carry this for others but as a woman you have to realise that the more you take, the less helpful you will be to that person. Why are you going to sit on a sofa moping about others, why are you going to be slaving away your whole life for someone else’s happiness? You should take care of others, 100%. If you aren’t sharing your life with someone then are you really living? But I mean you need that time to yourself too, because if not, which I see from the women in my life, they burn themselves out where they have no more to give.
When I grew up, I was blessed to be raised by not 1 amazing, independent woman, but 5. Before you get confused, I mean my aunts and my mother. I saw every single one for who they were because I am quite the house-hopper. Remember when I said I like independence? Yeah I meant from such a young age I have been free like that.
Anyway, back to my life.
I had one aunt who could sell ice to an eskimo. She had the charm and passion that you will never ever see in your life. Some say I am quite like her- I hope so because you saw a real woman. She not only was the glue of the family but she was the one that kept fighting for her family to stay connected. She always put her problems aside and helped others around her and although some remained skeptical, I saw her for her determination to help her family.
I had another aunt who raised me like her own too. She was as cheeky as they come. She didn’t hold back for anyone and anything. She could make you love life to the point where I stayed for an entire summer there without even looking at the time once. When you’re around her, you felt this enjoyment for life and she treated every niece and nephew like her own where even if her house was empty of food, she would make sure all 15 of her nieces and nephews at exactly the same amount. She excited the family with her wit and banter. To be honest, anyone in her present never stopped laughing.
Then there’s my mum- the understanding one. She would listen to your problems day in, day out. If you had a worry, a concern, even a legal matter- you can call my mum. The amount of consultation she gave would make you question how she had time to have a full time job and two spoilt kids. She gave others nothing more than her time and some say that is the most valuable of all.
For my fourth aunt, she was the intellectual one. She reminded you what to think about and what is important. Just like her sisters, she would give you everything she had just to make sure you left her house happy and well-fed. Her heart is as big as her brain. Honestly. She gave others her knowledge and she shared so openly.
Then there’s the baby of the family. The one who is smothered in love and affection and she does not abuse that. She shares the love and she reminds each one of her sisters they are special. She is the first one to be there with the moving van ready if you are moving house and the first one to clear up a mess one of the kids has made. She will never come to your house empty handed and she will never let you have something on your mind without sharing it. She is the secret champion of yours but you will never know it.
As you can imagine, I have listed the warrior, the therapist, the jester, the library and the maid of the family. Have you noticed that they all share the light of thinking about others..
My greatest worry has been that this light dies which it has and that comes from a lifetime of not taking care of themselves and only others. They carried the burden and now they have let it go completely.
The houses are not as filled with laughter or joy, the holidays are avoided by members of the family and the sisters are not as close.
When you spend a lifetime of looking after someone and carrying another, you forget what is important to you and what makes you happy until the day you give up.
So my only bit of advice today is don’t let your life become cold and disheartened but remind yourself by spending some time on yourself, you will have time for others at a much better quality. I say this again, if you cannot make yourself happy- how will you bring that happiness to someone else? Don’t let that big heart of yours suddenly stop giving.
Tips for Wellbeing
Cooking for one
Singing in the shower
Going on a holiday alone
Taking a journey by yourself
Taking risks on yourself
Going to the cinema alone
Eating in a restaurant alone
Try any of these and you will learn to love yourself more. Trust me.