Trying to get it all done can be one of the most honest, genuine, unrealistic and selfish acts we can commit against ourselves. The pressure of people pleasing, being successful, raising a family, being a good spouse and finding time for ourselves can overwhelm even the calmest of souls. Connections between parents and children get lost because of hectic schedules. Spouses find themselves bickering over who forgot to put the ketchup away. The dog won’t stop barking because he’s anxious as all hell. The kids won’t stop screaming their heads off, throwing their food or asking for your time. The house is a mess, too! Oh, and let’s not forget about the mounds of letters, emails, text messages and other chores you have to find time to complete. Does it have to all get done? It can surely feel that way, sometimes. Wine, Anyone?
Why have we submitted to so many unrealistic expectations of ourselves? Many of us forget what relaxing or quiet time even feels like. Like the rest of the world, I find myself sometimes feeling anxious and overwhelmed when trying to meet everyone’s needs. The thought of remaining calm through the chaos sometimes seems unrealistic. Then I examine the patterns of my calm moments from the past and realize-nope; it’s me! I’m neglecting myself again. Self-neglect is usually an unconscious choice we make when trying to help better the lives of others. The assumption is usually that we must pour everything into everyone else’s cup before ever pouring into our own. Ultimately, this genuine, yet damaging behavior ends up leaving us feeling depleted and resentful; important relationships become strained. Inner-peace becomes nonexistent.
I often wonder about the types of relationships children would engage in, if parents modeled more examples of self-care. What would life look life if more people chose to make themselves happy, too? I wonder what would happen if more love and affection were displayed at home? What if we let it all go sometimes? If I want my child to benefit from my parenting style, what does he need? My son needs his parents at their best. He needs us both to feel as emotionally, mentally and spiritually connected to ourselves and each other as possible. Taking care of myself allows me to connect more to son and my husband. Doing so allows me to examine my challenging behavior and make more informed decisions for my relationships, going forward. When I embrace my selfishness, I am ok with not getting it all done. I learn to respect my ability to take it all in, one moment at at time. Then I go out and treat myself.
Many of us serve others with the best of intentions. Building strong and positive relationships with anyone must be led by love of self. Is it such a bad idea to just relax? Why not let the dishes pile up and go out for some family fun? Why does date night ALWAYS have to take a back seat? What if we could all live in a place where disruption had no choice but to flee? What if chaos and confusion felt more like distant cousins, rather than our better half? Nothing is outside of our reach. Finding happiness in our children, in our spouse, in our career or any other external force is limited. Our true happiness starts and ends with the choice of self-preservation.
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"The greatest returns in life are resulted from the investments we make in ourselves.”