If you’ve been reading my site for any length of time… you’ve probably figured out that I am pretty damn hard on myself. I am a people pleaser, but that means that I often forget to please myself in that process. I have frequently tried to be “everything to everyone” and that really takes a toll on physical, mental and emotional well-being. And when I entertain the thought of cutting back on some of the things I am doing, I feel guilt.
My wonderful mother gave me some advice on that… don’t feel guilty unless you’ve done something illegal. It’s such a simple statement, but it’s been kind of liberating to me. Sometimes it’s just simple things that can make a difference!
I’ve received a couple other bits of advice that kind of struck me as being poignant for where I’m at in life right now.
Comment from Thea on a recent blog post:
…when I start to get really down on myself, I try to talk to myself like I would one of my kids. Instead of trying to wipe the fears or insecurities away by telling myself I’m being silly, I think about how I would talk to my daughter in that situation. The first time I tried it, was quite a shock, and felt much more natural then the “false” feeling pep talk I would do. I like to think of it as taking care of the scared little girl inside me
No matter how “grown up” we get, I think we all probably still have a scared child-version of ourselves inside.
When I was chatting to my friend Cristina about feeling like I need to cut back on some of the various things in my life, she gave me the great (but simple) advice:
…in the end you have to do what is best for you and your family.
That’s so true. Why don’t I remember that more often?
And more tips from my mom after my doctor told me I need to relax more. The doctor told me I need to reduce the stress in my life by doing more yoga and meditating more. She also threatened that I might need to cut my running mileage in half after my May 1 half marathon. I was relaying (complaining) all this to my mom and she told me:
You just put too much intensity into everything, even if it is to help you relax. Intensity and relaxing don’t seem compatible. I think you can relax while running, or you can do it with intensity and it adds to your stress, and the same goes for yoga, strength training, work…
Yeah, I do have a fair amount of intensity. Or maybe it’s an excessive amount of intensity and it is kind of ironic when I say “I try really hard to relax.” So instead of “trying hard” to relax, I’m just “trying”. Instead of doing higher intensity vinyasa yoga, I’ve been practicing more hatha yoga. I have done 20-30 minutes of yoga before bed each night for the past week and have done 5 minutes of meditation each night as well. I will extend that meditation time to 10 minutes in a stretch soon (it’s hard to quiet my mind!) as well.
Previously I would have felt “guilt” for taking that time for me, like I was being selfish. But everybody needs to indulge in some self-care first to be able to take care of others.
you will get there… and it looks like you have some good supportive people to help you along the way. it will not be perfect all of the time and some days will be better than others, but just push through them and remember what is most important to you 🙂
p.s. i think i am going adopt that “don’t feel guilty unless you have done something illegal’ mindset- that may come in handy
So glad my advice stuck with you. Really helps me a lot when the awful chatter starts in my head. Congrats on the yoga. It’s done wonders for me and my running. I was super sarcastic about it when I started, but my instructor pointed out that once I stopped trying so hard, I got better. Just being present in the moment instead of muscling through things, my usual MO. Keep up the relaxing work. You’ll feel it in all areas of your life.
Great post! It definitely hit me at the right time. I’m a graduate student and the end of the semester can be extremely stressful. I love the idea of not feeling guilty unless you have done something illegal. But then of course…it makes me worry about not knowing that one of my actions is illegal! Talk about overworrying! Thanks for the post. Check out my blog: http://www.gottatryit.webs.com
[…] over at Jill Will Run, wrote about a comment I gave her on her blog. It made me smile. I had recently given the same advice to another […]
Guilt is definitely hard to deal with, but it sounds like you’ve received some very helpful and inspiring encouragement lately. Not to take the emphasis off of doing something for yourself (because that is the most important part), but on days when it may feel harder to take that time because it feels ‘selfish’, just remember that when you give yourself the time you need, you are being kind to others as well because it allows them to get the best parts of you. As RuPaul always says at the end of one of my favorite shows, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love somebody else?!”
Also, keep in mind that there is a big difference between selfish and taking care of oneself. The latter is absolutely necessary in order to be happy and couldn’t be further from being selfish 🙂