Late last week my son came home from school sick – turns out it was THE virus. He’s handling it well, but we worry due to the immune suppressive drug he is on. His fever is gone now, and today he woke up and was like, “Can I have a sandwich? Make it filling!” He was finally really hungry after not eating much for days. Yay!
So even though I had little energy and I had just sat down with a hot cup of tea, to kill off whatever germs might be lurking in my own throat, I happily went downstairs and made him a sandwich with all the fixings, cut up an apple, and even found one of those little bags of chips he takes to school and put it on his plate. I was so relieved he was feeling better and that made it easier to ignore my own tiredness and desire for my tea, and serve my son with joy.
I brought it back upstairs to him and realized just how hungry I was at that point. I also remembered my now cold tea. “I spent my last bit energy on my family, as usual,” I thought, a little dejected. “All those stairs. Oh well, I’ll just drink the cold tea and grab something easy.” (And most probably not good for me, I’ll add here.)
*Record Scratch* Wait! Let’s back this truck up. This ^^ above is not the person I want to be, and I am working hard toward right thinking and true self care.
To me right thinking is gearing my thoughts towards ultimate truth, as far as I can see it. Like the truth that I am as worthy of my own care as my son is, even if I’m tired. I was tired when I made HIM his meal, wasn’t I?
There were two main problems with my thinking, as I see it.
First, when I began trying to turn my thoughts around, I initially thought, “OK, stop feeling sorry for yourself” — I got to the “you” and stopped myself. Am I really feeling “sorry for myself”? Or am I just having feelings?? Ladies and gentlemen, it is OK to have emotions, and to feel them. When people tell you to stop feeling sorry for yourself, usually they are just *uncomfortable* with your feelings and want you to move on. I don’t want to be one of those people, to myself or others.
Instead I thought, “What am I actually feeling — what are the individual emotions?” Today I was feeling tired, lonely, a bit frustrated and sad about some things, along with great relief and joy for my son. I realized those feelings were valid considering my situation, and allowed myself to feel them.
Second, I noticed that I always default to “I’m too tired to do anything good for myself, I’ll just do the easy thing.” But when my son said, “I’m hungry!” I immediately had enough energy do complete the task and helped him happily. Am I so worthless that I can’t muster some joy for myself to get me through some lunch making? NO! If it was another family member I would have gone down and made them a nice lunch as well. I am not healthy, and the truth is I deserve at least as good a diet as I make for my loved ones.
So I questioned myself, am I really *too* tired, or am I my usual tired, but also sad and a little lonely, and struggle with self worth? It was the latter, and so I realized I *could* make myself a sandwich, with joy. And I did! A nice one just like my son’s. I also reheated my tea so I could enjoy it.
I didn’t give myself a bag of chips though.
I opted for a cookie. 😉
Are you learning to care for yourself too? What do you find easiest to do for yourself? Hardest? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!