I know, I know. Sounds crazy, right? Let me explain…
As a young mother in her 30’s, this is the best piece of advice I have learned, and it has quickly become a life goal to help share the good news with others who may be struggling as well. It took me being in an incredibly low and scary place in my life in order for me to fully see and understand what I am about to tell you. But I’m happy to report that, by the grace of God, I made it out bigger and better than ever…and so can you!
As mothers, we are taught by society to put the needs of others first. Needs of our friends, spouses, kids, and the list goes on and on. OK, take ‘society’ out of the picture for a minute…it is actually our natural instinct to put others first. In fact, we would go so far as to jump in front of a moving bus if it meant sparing the lives of our children. And don’t get me wrong…this kind of unconditional love is a beautiful thing. It is the closest thing I can think of to being like Jesus (which is the goal, right?).
BUT, I am here to tell you that this kind of “selfless” thinking and behaving on a day-to-day basis, year in and year out, is NOT SUSTAINABLE. Sure, it will work for a while, but I can almost guarantee you that eventually you will lose yourself somewhere along the way, and you will break. And it will not be pretty. We MUST learn to take care of ourselves first and foremost so that we can create the kind of sustainability necessary in order to take care of others to the extent that we do.
What happens when we fail to take care of ourselves? We lose touch with our passions, our intuition, and our relationship with God and with the universe. We begin to shift the blame onto our loved ones by holding them responsible for our own personal happiness (or, rather, a lack thereof). We begin to tumble down a vicious rabbit hole of co-dependence. We take on the impossible task of attempting to make everyone else happy, and we become depressed when we inevitably fail. In short, we become incapable of taking care of others because we have forgotten how to take care of ourselves.
“When you stop taking care of yourself, you get out of BALANCE, and you really forget how to take care of others.” –Jada Pinkett Smith
So here’s my challenge to you…
Be selfish. Fall in love with taking care of YOU…mind, body, and soul. Learn to love yourself. Make your own happiness your top priority. Then, in the words of Gandhi, go “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Because then and only then, will you be able to truly and wholly help others.