Last week there was a comment on Friday's post. In essence the reader asked for advice on how to begin doing the things she would like to do, now that her kids are grown, etc.
Tough question. I answered as honestly as I could and how I would approach the issue, but I felt that my tone might have been too preachy. Not that I meant to be because I certainly don't have any answers. I am just traveling along this journey beside each one of you.
Over the weekend I have been thinking a lot about that question. How do we go about fulfilling long lost dreams or suppressed wants and try to live a life that we are called to live and that we want to live?
For many of us it is not that we cannot do the physical requirements for achieving what we want, i.e. running/walking to prepare for a 5 K, reducing the number of sweets in our diet, cleaning up a room, spending time reading or planning a trip, but it is that we have to overcome the voices in our head. When we dwell on activities or plans that would benefit us we think we are not worth it. We think, "I can't justify spending this time on me." and so we stop any self-improvement, achievement of goals, or even thinking about what we want to do.
I think it is especially hard for women. As much as we are independent and assertive, we seem to have a predilection for putting others' needs before ours. Not that that trait is a bad thing per se. It is very admirable and one that I do not want to lose.
However I think it causes us much consternation, anxiety and strife.
We have to learn how to balance our needs and the needs of those around us. It means being honest about ourselves and saying that we are not going to hide behind the excuse, "Oh, I can't do that now because I haven't earned that right or that I am not worth it or that I have to take care of ... (fill in the blank)." When I am honest with myself, I think I have hidden behind the excuse of caring for others instead of taking the risk and doing that which would make me happy, fulfilled and ultimately worthwhile and beneficial for others.
I think working our way out of the head battle is to start by giving ourselves permission: permission to explore what is our calling, our passion, our interests and our goals.
This month, I am going to try and explore this idea. I have a pretty good idea of my calling, passion and interests, yet I find myself always putting those things on the back burner. I am giving myself permission to find some time to either work on those perennial goals that have been hanging over my head for years or decide to lay them to rest once and for all and move on.
In order to do this, I am experimenting with posting only one blog per week ( although I might put some extras out there) so that I can explore the other items on my list. I am trying to see about balancing my responsibilities and my needs/wants- taking care of others while I am trying to take care of myself.
I don't think that the choice is an either/or equation. It cannot be mutually exclusive. I cannot completely stop doing some of my responsibilities nor can I only do them to the exclusion of what makes me tick. But I can try and cut back on certain things so that I can have a little more room in my schedule to explore this notion.
I am giving myself permission to say yes to things that would "benefit" me.
What about you? Do you feel the angst and anxiety of trying to satisfy much responsibility? Do you do so at the exclusion of caring and doing things for yourself? What would it look like if you had a good balance between the two? Can you let go of somethings and take on others?
For the month of August will you join me as we explore this idea of balance in one's life? Of finding a life that reflects our gifts, passions, talents and also reflects our care for others and our responsibilities.
Let us know how you are progressing in the comments section below.