You know that feeling you have when you’re with someone you totally love and adore, and they begin to share with you about how they feel inadequate, inferior, unworthy, and generally like the biggest loser you’ll ever meet? Your eyes grow wide with surprise and shock, your jaw opens, and your lips form words like, “Are you kidding me?” And, “You are so totally awesome – how can you not see that?”
I’m sure you know it. It’s happened to all of us a few times in our lives. And likely, you’ve been the one confessing your loser-dom to someone who thinks you’re the best thing in the whole universe, and they’ve said as much in response.
I think we all go through this, to some extent. Life can be harsh; we take our experiences and we distill them into irrefutable facts about our selves, and thus: low self esteem is born. I have spent the better part of the last15-20 years sorting through all of these so called truths and discarding those that do not serve me. It’s a process full of pain sometimes, relief, fear… and ultimately wonder. I thought I had it all sorted. I faced my deamons and beat them. I re-wrote my truths, and life was good.
Then I became a mother.
Turns out, I had only resolved part of my issues. Who knew?! Certainly not me. And you can be sure too that the past 9 and a half years as been full of early mornings, late nights, wet beds, midnight feedings, middle of the night fevers and so on that I really haven’t had a chance to delve deeply into these newly surfaced “truths”. It was only after coffee with a friend a few weeks ago that I decided that it was time to bring my issues to the forefront.
This is a fairly new friend, although I’ve known her for about 5 years now. We’ve just started making the time to get to know each other, and as you do, you share your foundational stuff. You know, what your job was before kids, how you met your husband, and so on. It was during this “discovery” shall we call it, that I said, “I never wanted kids.”
She was shocked! Her eyes were wide, her jaw hung open and she said, “Wow! But you’re so good at it!”
Then it was my turn to be shocked.
Really, I know this parenting thing is tough. I look at all the people around me with kids and I know that they are doing the best that they can for them. I do not judge them, I accept them where they are, and honour their struggles. I do not afford myself this compassion, however.
In fact, it’s been coming to light for sometime that I don’t afford myself much compassion at all. I see my faults in glaring harsh light. I count my failings continually. I am fretting over the current interaction I’m having, hoping that the person I’m engaging with won’t run screaming when they realize it’s me they’re talking to.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You’ve got to get out of your own way”? I have heard it a few times, and used it myself in fact. Recently, others whom I respect and admire have said it to me, and so I’ve been pondering what it means and how to take it’s advice. I asked a few people what it meant, and what came back usually was something about making excuses. I asked MOMD – since wordsmithing is his craft – and he had an explanation that really resonated for me. He said, “Having the awareness of the patterns and behaviours that prevent you from success or attaining your goals.”
Huh… The key for me in that is “awareness”. Have an awareness of your patterns and behaviours.
And so: I began to think on all of the instruction and teachings I’ve received over the past 5 or so years. What do successful people do? What patterns serve them to achieve their highest and best? How do people who feel good about themselves behave?
How do I tell myself that I love me?
Which brings us to the 5AM Club.
The jist is that successful people get up early. They spend the first hour or so of their day focussed solely on serving and nurturing themselves. No emails, no texts, no phone calls. No reports, no letters, no research. They exercise. They meditate or pray. They read for their own personal growth and development. They spend the first hour of their day caring for them.
Two days ago, I joined the club. They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and I am committed to this for that long at least. When I was practicing yoga yesterday at 5:20AM, I had a salient realization: I had nothing to think about but me. I knew where the kids were (sleeping), they didn’t need anything from me, no one was expecting to see me for another hour at least, and I could set it all down and care for me.
Sure – I’ve taken a day here, a day there, to relax and rejuvenate. But really: over the past… really 10 years, I haven’t had a moment where I was not concerned with someone else’s needs, someone else’s expectations of me. In that moment, that unexpected moment at 5:20 in the morning, I drew in a deep breath and cared for me.
In doing so, I am telling myself that I love me. I am supporting myself so that I can stretch, reach and achieve my personal highest and best. I am inspiring me to greatness.
And that…. that is awesome.