Be Your Own Best Friend
I didn’t start on the closet. I was just too tired from the day before. I’ve been telling myself: I need to listen to my body. And then proceed with what it tells me in mind.
I’m still reading the book about estrangement. I’m about halfway through it. There are questions and spaces for your answers that in essence makes it a workbook.
Sometimes I read chapters and feel strong. Sometimes I cry.
I do believe that tears are necessary when you are growing a garden. The seeds need to be watered. A garden is a process of watering, tending, growing.
I am a work in progress.
I have been getting emails from other parents of adult children, who felt they were alone. They are not. They were surprised to learn this.
There is power in numbers.
I am learning self-love. I am learning that this is not a selfish act, but one that is completely necessary.
We women are very hard on ourselves. We accept from society that we are supposed to be strong. Be the best mothers. Be the ear that always listens. Be the women that give and give and give.
But that is not healthy.
Why do we ignore our own needs like this? Why do we put ourselves last? Why do we feel ashamed when we can’t be everything to everyone?
We women have to stand strong, together, to withstand the storms that inevitably come. We have to nurture one another.
We have to keep telling one another that we are important, and thus it is vital to take care of our own needs.
Why does that sometimes feel selfish?
We are not perfect. We are human.
We make mistakes. We deserve forgiveness.
Most of all, we need to learn to forgive ourselves.
I have created a Self-Affirmation Pinterest board. I know I am using a lot of quotes in my posts lately. But I need the words I read back to myself. They give me strength.
Sometimes I repeat them out loud for emphasis. To ingrain them into my thinking patterns. To negate the voice that tells me that I am not enough just as I am.
I am weary of going over and over the past and wondering what I could have done better. What I could have said. How I could have responded.
Of living with one foot still in the past.
Every day is a new day. It is full of possibility. We can choose how we spend it.
We have to choose joy.
I have spent far too much time judging myself. It has impeded my healing.
I know I have to jump in with both feet. Drag one out of the abyss that is the past, and give it my all.
Or my garden will never survive.
I want to control the negative voice that oozes in when I am vulnerable or afraid or tired. I want to take charge of today.
I want my garden to flourish.
It is the negative voice in your head that keeps you from moving forward. We don’t realize it, but we give others permission to hurt us.
We have to come to the realization that it isn’t what happens that matters. It is how we react and respond to what happens that is most important.
We have to accept that not everyone will love us. Which is why it is vital that we love ourselves.
We have to recognize things for what they truly are. We need to learn to get up and have the courage to leave the table.
We must be our own best friend. Because if we don’t take care of ourselves, we have little to give to others, no matter how hard we strain to push past our limitations.
Don’t judge yourself more harshly than you judge everyone else.
Listen to your self. Your body. The person who has persevered and survived all these years, by virtue of your own strength.
This is a very powerful post, Brenda! Five years ago I made a HUGE decision; I literally/figuratively walked away from a very toxic family member. I knew I'd made the correct decision when I didn't shed one tear as I walked away. It's the best decision I've ever made. I've been trying very hard to learn how to like/love myself. It's not an easy task. I'm a work in progress. 🙂
This post was very interesting. I have to learn to love the person I've become with a few health limitations… It's hard, but I know it's the key to being happy!
So much food for thought here, Brenda. One thing is for sure, if we don't love ourselves, it's hard for others to love us. Love all of your inspiring quotes!
Wow…amazing. I just pinned, I am going to share with everyone I know. Especially my kids.
When our kids are young and living in our homes, we have so much more control over what happens. And then when they're adults, they have more control of course. Which is as it should be. But then we're left with ties that are often cut and we try so hard to figure out how to tie the bond back together. But we can't always do it.
Being my own best friend. Doing for myself, showing up, sacrificing, motivating and being present for myself as I do others….. This article was extremely eye opening and powerful. I will now choose me to love.
Some great thoughts here! While I'm not estranged from my son, your thoughts and quotes about taking care of yourself and loving yourself can pertain to any of us. I have purposely been working on self-love and care since last year, and it is hard! I see my 76-year old mother still caring for everyone (which is great), but not caring enough for herself. And right now, her health is paying the price for that. I have talked to her about scaling back on what she is doing for others and to get some rest during the day, but of course, she ignores me and just does whatever she wants to do. But nothing changes. At least I recognize that and know I do not want to be like that.
I guess it is ingrained in us as women to make sure everyone's life is going smoothly, while we let our own health suffer. I'm trying very hard to teach myself self-love. I hope to be right there behind you in 2017!
I believe that as mothers, our priority is our children. I put them first in everything that I do and then others follow. I want to live my life without regret. I try to live my life as honestly and with purpose as I can. I take care of myself in the process but I don't forsake my children in the process. I know everyone's definition of living a good life is different, but for me, it's stability, family, financial security, and most importantly good health. I hope that you can find what gives you a good life this year!
I think for everyone it is family. Thus, the pain that comes when they reject us. We all want what is best for our children. And as the book I am reading says: We aren't giving up. We are giving in to their wishes.
Beautiful post, Brenda, and certainly this emotional work is a kind of decluttering, too!
You are quite right! In this time of decluttering, I am trying to work on the clutter that is in my head that doesn't need to take up space.
Fantastic post and I love the quotes. It sounds like you are on the path to discover real joy-keep at it.
These quotes are my stepping stones to healing.
I loved this blog post, Brenda! I've accepted who I am and learned to take good care of myself, mentally, physically, and emotionally, only after the diagnosis of a serious disease two years ago. I quit trying to be the 'perfect' woman and now let others take care of me for a change!
I'm working on it! I'm trying to get the thought out of my mind, learned somewhere along the way, that it is selfish to put myself first.
Love everything your wrote here Brenda, you are becoming a wonderful writer as the days go on. Thank you for this and Happy new Year!
Life is a series of lessons we learn. Good ones and not so good ones. We learn through age, through pain, through experiences.
Years ago, I was upset when my brother didn't want to spend much time around me and the rest of our family. He spent all of his time with his wife's family and with his friends and associates in the organizations he was a part of. I lamented to my priest one day that I was hurt that my brother chose not to be with me and my family much, and sometimes we could use his support. My priest had a nonchalant approach to it, saying well, maybe your brother is out there being a support to someone else. Meanwhile, you and your family can go find support somewhere else, or, you could be a support to someone else. Just because God made your brother part of your family doesn't mean God plans for you all to be the only people in each others' lives. It will be OK.
I though that sounded pretty nutty, but, it turned out to be true. Eventually, my brother and his wife did start to spend more time with me and my family. (It was after my dad died, and my mom had aged and got a bit less demanding, and it was a not so stressful to come around!) I think the point is that relationships can have seasons, and sometimes winter comes around, and things get bleak. But then, maybe spring comes around again, and relationships can improve. I try to remember what the priest said when I'm having a tough time in a relationship with a family member.
Beautifully said! Our life is a selection of seasons that come and go. Leaves fall, winter comes. Spring approaches, tulips emerge from the earth. Sometimes I watch birds high up in the trees, and I think: Nature gives them a map to go by. I wish people had that as well.
Brilliant Brenda and so beautifully written. I have been fighting with myself for years, to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect friend, the perfect colleague, but have just set myself up to fail expecting others to be like me. This year while trying to think of the 'blogger word' I came up with Identity. Who am I really? What do I want to do my life? I need to find my identity again and this year is going to see a lot of things that take me out of my comfort zone. Yes, Identity, let's go against the grain!
A great word! We seem to lose our identity, we women, because we think of ourselves as the fixers and nurturers and forget that we too matter. At different times in our lives, we learn new identities. We need to learn to be kind to ourselves in whatever way we can.
Keep showering us with the quotes–it takes time and hard work to break all those old tapes we keep hearing in our head. I'm tired of coming last. I've done all that our society requires of us and, if it wasn't appreciated, perhaps it is not my fault but the fault of the person who didn't appreciate it. You are on the right track–keep reinforcing all those new thoughts until they drown out all those old, negative ones.
I will. I am. And the emails from parents who are hurting just keep coming in…
This is one of your best posts, I loved it.
I also have spent a long time looking back over my life and feeling badly over mistakes I made. Finally I learned a few things. I tell myself: "That was then, this is now." I cannot go back and change things so to ruminate about it is pointless. Then I make myself think of something enjoyable.
I also know from my spiritual teachings that life is a school house. We are here to learn. One of the best ways we learn is through a mistake. We can see that decisions or actions of ours caused both ourselves and others hurt in one way or another. We have to be able to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and move forward.
Another thing I learned is to be quick to admit it when I have said or done something which hurts someone else. I apologize to them and acknowledge I was wrong and ask them to forgive me. I have a tendency to be very frank and blunt and I often "open mouth, insert foot". I have learned to somewhat curb this but it is an ongoing process. I have found that apologizing usually results in the other person calming down and being more forgiving also.
I am my own worst critic. I have often beat myself up over stupid mistakes I have made in my life. Then I realized that if I look at others lives, I see many things that they have done or said that I think was wrong, and then I can see that we are all simply trying to find our way through life and it is a learning process, and then I do not feel nearly as badly.
We were not given a script on how to live every day of our lives. We have to take things as they come, and hope we do the best we can. Even if others don't feel that way.
I've never said much about the painful parts of my past and it took me a long time to put it (the painful stuff) behind me, but once I realized that nothing I could have said or done would have made a difference…well, it made all the difference in the world to me. We are much too hard on ourselves, thinking that somehow everything bad that happens is all our fault. Well, I just stopped and read a comment above and see that she said the same thing!
I also know what you mean about listening to your body. It becomes necessary especially as one gets older. It's why it took my hubby and I so long to complete most of the work on the rental house. We took long breaks so as not to wear ourselves out. Also because he's still working a full-time job and he's well past 60. Anyway, drop by and see my latest post of the before and after photos.
We fight with this realization you speak of. We are tempted by it, but fear it will make us look unkind or selfish. When really, who will look after us if we don't look after ourselves?
I love that quote about walking away from something unhealthy – isn't amazing how guilty we feel when we make choices to help ourselves for a change?
We feel guilty because the media and people we know lead us to feel that way. We must put everyone else before ourselves. Before our own health and peace of mind. Even in airplanes, they tell you to tend to yourself first in an emergency so that you can help your child.
My grandmother used to tell me that if you don't love yourself, no one else will. She respected herself and took very good care of herself. She looked her best every day. When something bad or hurtful happened to her, she would carry on unmercifully for a short time and then just turn it off like a water faucet. She said that was her way of getting it out of her system, but then you have to move on. She refused to let what others did to her control her life. She was frequently criticized for the way she handled her hurts and disappointments, but it didn't phase her. She did and stuck to what worked for her. She lived to be 104 with hardly a wrinkle in her face!
Your grandmother was a very wise woman! She did what worked for her. She knew to let the pain flow until she was spent, and then turn it off like the faucet you mention. A lesson we all need to learn. As apparently, it helped her to live to the ripe age of 104. No easy feat!
We are conditioned – brainwashed – from infancy onward as females to accept that somehow if something bad happens someHwere, to someone, it is OUR FAULT. We are also carefully conditioned to believe that if we can't "make the booboo all better" that we are failures. We are extremely conditioned to believe that the WORST thing that can happen to you as a female is to NEVER HAVE CHILDREN AND NEVER MARRY. Doesn't make any difference that 50% of our "marriages" these days end in divorce and the woman ends up being alone raising kids she can't afford to care for with often little to no financial or emotional support/help from anyone, if you get divorced, IT'S YOUR FAULT, YOU FAILED AS A WOMAN. Somehow, that brainwashing short-circuited in me, Thank Goddess! But it is a very powerful thing to try and overcome, and sadly, most females never overcome it.
Yes, it is sad because we are prefaced by this judgment before we even have a chance to live it. It is always there: women must be good mothers. They must be the strength that holds the family together. And if somehow it appears that they fail, then they are ostracized by many because of their inability to live up to the standard they are perceived to have.
a wonderful post. full of important quotes.
ekhart tolle calls it 'the pain body.' it's the accumulation of all the bad that has happened to someone. and everyone has their own story of course. and some are worse than others.
they rehash it over and over in their mind and hold onto it by doing that. it becomes who they are.
they literally become their story. and subconsciously they don't want to let it go. and the more they re~tell it or think it and talk about it … the stronger it gets.
people write on their blogs for instance… 'an incest survivor' or 'a sufferer of chronic headaches' or whatever their case may be. just those words reinforce it all and keep it in their lives. on some level they don't want to let it go.
we all have something that we need to just let go.
and the freedom you feel when you finally just let all that GO… unresolved or not…
i read a lot of spiritual growth books and his 'the power of now' is so inspiring. it's very good.
You're quite right. I think oftentimes it gives us a sense of self. What has shaped us. When we are struggling to figure out who we are.
Those are great words of wisdom. Thank you for sharing them. I think all of us women put to much pressure on ourselves. Sometime we need to recharge our batteries and put our-self first. You are a very wise woman. Now take your own advice and just do it! 🙂 Much Love, Angie
You know, why aren't men judged as harshly as women in our society? I've read that judges are harsher in sentencing women than they are when sentencing men. Why has this happened???
I learned a valuable lesson at age 42. You can't drive (go forward) looking in the rear view mirror. Its fine to keep the lessons learned so as not to repeat them, but the past is the past and the future isn't guaranteed so This Moment is the one that matters. Make it the best it can be. All the thinking, talking, commiserating, even understanding the past won't change it.
That time is wasted when it could have been used to make your NOW more peaceful, happy and enjoyable.
I hope the book you're reading brings you peace.
You are absolutely right, Sonny! And I'm so grateful I learned about this book from a reader. It has become a rope that is helping me out of the quick sand.
aww.. glad you read my words as they were intended.. I think of you often and want so much for you to find peace, happiness and JOY in your Now.
We'll never know why others act as they do, heck, we can rarely answer why we ourselves act as we do in any given moment lol..
Wishing you every happiness this life has to offer.
What a great post, Brenda. Thank you. I have a quote for you that I think speaks the truth, "If you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll be nothing to no one."
Great quote! Funny, the clarification we get from someone's quote that seems to answer our questions. A beacon of light we come to cling to.
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