Monday, February 25, 2008

To Thine Own Self Be Kind

As some of you know, we have a daughter with Lupus. She is a caring and giving person who has always taken care of others before taking care of herself. This tendency has led her to realtionships with overly dependent friends and partners, who took far more than they gave.

Her greatest joy comes from her children. As a divorced mother of four girls (ages 9 - 17) and twin foster daughters (age 13), she has her hands full. I admire her ability to keep going, despite the financial, health and everyday challenges she faces. However, I believe her longstanding pattern of taking care of others first, plays a major role in the current state of her health.

As a business and life coach, I often work with women who feel others will think poorly of them if they take care of their own needs, before taking care of everyone else. I always use the airline emergency instructions to illustrate the fallicy in this thinking.

In case of an emergency, you're instructed to use the oxygen mask on yourself first. Why? If you don't, you risk running out of oxygen. If you're out of oxygen (or low on oxygen), you can't do the best job of helping others. In otherwords, when you're at your best, you can give your best to everyone else.

When we take care of self by eating well, resting, exercising, nurturing our self (mind, body and soul) and showing others how we want to be treated, we help our self be the best it can be. Also, taking care of our self sets an example for our children. We show them by example how they too should care for their body, mind and spirit, so they can be their best. When we don't take care of self, by example, we teach our children to not take care of themselves.

Learn to say no. Learn to walk away. Learn to have some "me time". Yes, some may say you're being selfish. Many may say you are vain. Others may say you don't care enough. Your response, "Actually, I care a great deal. I care enough to want to stay healthy, happy and alive for my family and myself." Be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself. When you do, everyone wins.

Kennette Reed

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