For a long time, I stopped showing up for myself. Have you been there? Do you know what I mean? Where you go through the motions of life, and you do the things you have to do, but you just stop giving it your best. You stop taking care of yourself. You just stop showing up.
Now, I'd like to blame it on motherhood. Or maybe on being a working mother. Or perhaps on being a business owning working mom. It feels like any of those reasons might be the why behind why I lost my spark to show up for myself. Maybe I showed up too much for others. Maybe I forgot what I had to show up for.
Or maybe, just maybe, it's a season of life. We get so overwhelmed by all of these exterior forces that we forget to focus on the greatest force of all - ourselves. Sound a little cheesy? Maybe. But I wholeheartedly think it's true. I am in control of my life, and what I give my energy to. And so are you.
Here's how I got my groove back (just call me Stella):
- I stopped letting my problems define my solutions. 2017 kicked my ass in ways I never expected and wasn't prepared for, and I spent a lot of time justifying anything and everything I did or didn't do because of it. Now, when things go wrong, I'm not telling you not to grieve or to acknowledge it. This isn't a "buck up, buddy" statement. You absolutely have to feel what you feel, and you have to let yourself feel it. But I think, if we're honest with ourselves, we know when we pass the fine line of healthy emotional management and "I deserve 15 cookies because my cat died in 3rd grade" or "I deserve this $400 coat I can't afford because I had a hard year". Am I still sad (and so many other feelings) about what happened? Yes. But do I let those feelings dictate everything I do? No. I try not to, anyway.
- Once I stopped using what happened to justify any and every action, it opened me up to feel what I actually felt. I had space to acknowledge my feelings, and I gave myself permission to feel them. I wasn't weak or less or not good enough because I felt sadness or anger or doubt or self-blame. I was human. I was strong. I was worthy. My lesson? It's really hard to let go of feelings you won't acknowledge you have.
- I picked one area of my life where I felt an improvement would benefit my entire being, and I dove in. For me, this was my physical health. For you it might be your financials, or your career, or your religion, or your children, or your marriage. The choices are endless, but focus first on just one. Personally, I knew part of my problem was that I was tired all of the time, and I felt like I would never have the energy to do all of the things I felt like I would need to do to live the life I wanted to live. And my solution was to take better care of my body.
- I stopped giving a f*ck. I mean, not about everything. But about the things I really didn't need to be giving energy to. I read The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight and so much of what she said resonated. I have always, always, spent energy on things not because I wanted to do them, but because of the should's and supposed-to's. For example: I used to care about people thinking I look stupid while working out. Now? All out of f*cks for that. I also used to feel really guilty for going to the gym sometimes during my normal work hours (even though I always made the time up & I have flexible hours). Yup. All out for that too. As Sarah states, you only have so many f*cks to give. Stop wasting them on things that don't really need them. Reserve them for what's important to you.
- I remind myself of what is important to me. I want to be a great mom. I want to be able to be a great single mom who provides mentally, physically, and financially for her son with ease. I want to be a great employee. I want to be a great employee who has the mind space and energy to be an active participant in the company's growth. I want to be a great business owner. I want to be a great business owner who has what it takes to push for success, even on the hard days. I want to be a great human being. I want to be a great human being who can counteract some of the ... less great human beings that are making a lot of headway these days.
I also give myself grace. I show up for myself by going to the gym. I aim for 5 days a week. If I make it 4? Great! If I make it 3? Still better, but I try to dig deep into what kept me away. I show up for myself by trying to be really mindful of what I eat. Fiber and protein for lunch? Amazing! A bowl of ice cream at 2pm because life that day kicked my ass? That's okay. I'll just try my best to not have another one after dinner.
So if you're tired, and overwhelmed, and can't find the head space to make good decisions for yourself, I see you. Deep breathes. You are worth the time and energy it takes to find a way to show up for yourself. Because if you don't, no one else will.