I know, that sounds super cynical. But here’s the thing: until you know what you need, how can anyone else understand how to care for you?
Being raised in the South, as a woman, in religion, kinda set me up for a life of service. I’ve always been quick to put everyone else’s needs before mine and volunteer to help, even when I’m drained. For seven years, I gave a marriage and another person literally every resource I had.
And that was the crux of the problem, right?
I got so lost in giving that I couldn’t find the parts that were me anymore.
I wasn’t happy. Oh, I said I was. Don’t worry — we have to keep up appearances. But nothing brought me that body-suffusing joy I remember feeling at times throughout childhood. And feeling a lot more often in the last year.
I wasn’t healthy. I’m naturally small, but felt uncomfortably stuffed into my body, uncomfortable in my clothes. I struggled to get to the gym or to enjoy being there if I made it. I was never hungry, and I couldn’t sleep.
I wasn’t sure of my purpose. Yes, I filled all the gaps and pushed forward and carried tasks and went to work. But in the grand scheme of things, I couldn’t remember who I was doing all these things for or why they were important.
Change Is Inevitable
So flash forward a little over a year: single, homeowner, working for myself — literally everything in my life has changed. But best of all, I’m learning how to take care of me.
I’m learning that I don’t want to be with a cheerleader. From what I can tell, most cheerleaders don’t really understand the game; they’re just there to amp up the crowd. I want to be with someone who sees how awesome I am, who gets what the long game is, and who wants to push me forward, encourage me, see me successful and healthy.
I’m learning that my body knows. It literally knows everything. This part has been bananas. If I can get still and quiet and listen, my body knows what to do. And the times I’ve ignored what it was saying, I always end up thinking, “If I had just listened…” #facepalm
I’m learning that I am a badass, and I’ve got this. I’m learning just how great I am to a partner and to my friends, and I’m trying to refocus some of that light on myself.
I read this in a workbook the other day, and it was cringingly true:
“Many times, we choose to be with people who don’t really get us and, therefore, can’t really support us. We do this because (1) we don’t quite believe in the possibility of our own greatness and (2) because we’re not even aware of what it would be like to be supported. We’re so used to going it alone that it doesn’t even occur to us to look for someone who would love to put the gust in our sails and the wind beneath our wings. We’re just not used to be[ing] given to in this way.”
- Katherine Woodward Thomas
I was talking to a good friend last night who does get me in this way, and she said, “Can you even imagine what it would be like to be supported the way you support others?” And here’s the sad thing: I can’t even imagine.
But that changes now. The Law of Attraction works — I’ve got so many stories from just the last year as proof. What you spend time and attention on comes to you.
So take care of yourself. Spend time learning what lights you up, what relaxes you, what inspires you, when you’re most motivated. Invest in yourself like you would give to an amazing partner. Put into your own self the things you cherish, the energy you deserve, and just see if it doesn’t come back to you.
If you’re looking for a guide, I recommend Finding Your Own North Star, by Martha Beck.
I’ve had an interesting year. And as I’m completing another circuit around the sun, I’m rereading and revisiting the things I’ve been learning. This is a series of posts pieced together from my journals, life coaching sessions, and booklist. I hope you enjoy.