“The body weeps tears the eyes cannot shed.” – Dr. Lauren Deville
What we know
You and I know, many women (and men) often misplace the needs and demands of their personal and professional obligations ahead of their own. And, even if they find a free moment here or there to dedicate to their needs, they may not have an easy routine to capitalize on this time freedom.
What I knew
Prioritizing others over myself was conditioning installed during childhood. As the second of six children, having significant responsibilities and not expressing resistance to any of them were foregone conclusions. To some extent, this misplaced activity remained throughout my adulthood, marriage, parenting, friendships, and other relationships.
Though I’d always tended to my physical needs in terms of activities and eating healthily, as well as to my spiritual nourishment, I’d never consciously committed to my overall wellbeing. And while sharing my observations or dismay regarding others’ needs had never been an issue for me overall, sharing observations regarding several of mine had me either accepting inferior support or simply saying nothing and powering through the best way (I thought) I could.
So, over consecutive years, and in response to a mutual decision to divorce, the unexpected death of a loved one that immediately silenced outward grieving, the onset of a health matter, and a lifelong conditioning that quieted consistent full, external expression, one day my body decided it’d had enough and would no longer hold me up. This meant ER visits, enduring medical treatments (and restrictions), firing my doctor, and having skeletal support and depleted energy; all of which affected the active lifestyle my youngest and I enjoyed.
To regain not only my footing but strengthen it, I fought back. Hard. Through research, stillness, adherence to protocols from my professional wellness team and a discussion with my new doctor, I learned and appreciated how chronic displaced and unexpressed emotions wreak havoc on the whole person. I knew the effects of one traumatic event, but experiencing several simultaneously was enough to make me do all that my life required (and my youngest deserved) to prevent re-experiencing them, or at least improve myself if and when another event (or several of them) occurred.
My overall good health became and remains a top priority. I rooted myself deeper into my spiritual and writing practices, added more life-affirming activities, invited more movement (after obtaining medical release), and actively released old conditioning. Also, I consciously and unapologetically distanced (or removed altogether) myself from any thing or person, where possible, that was detrimental to my efforts. I was powered up to speak up more and place absolute emphasis on my needs even if no one inquired or offered authentic support. Gratefully, some did.
Fully immersing myself among people and in spaces that ensure my welfare is essential. These allow me to demonstrate healthy examples of self-care, self-love, and organization to my youngest (my grown ones too).
While eating right, exercising regularly, hydrating often, and restful sleep are vital, I’ve learned they’re not enough. Taking care of how we spend our time and with whom, not overextending ourselves or allowing someone else’s agenda to jump the self-care line, and using technology responsibly are keys to our wellness as well.
These actions are not always easy to implement or maintain as every person’s life and needs are different. However, we must use what resonates with our respective situations, remembering that just as everyone watches what and how we’ve been doing things and benefiting from them, people are likely to notice us actively making ourselves priorities too. Some may take offense, but many will celebrate.
Don’t wait for permission, pressure or life events to put yourself at the top of the MVP list. Your most sacred relationship is the one you have with yourself. Make its health your healthiest focus. You are the real MVP, the (unselfish) Most Valuable Priority. Let your eyes weep the tears and your body shed what doesn’t serve you. You know, being the gifts and graces they were designed to be. And, #neverabandonyourself