“My cup runneth over. What comes out of the cup is for you. What’s in the cup is mine” – Iyanla Vanzant.
Ever since I became a mother (18 years ago!), I’ve struggled with balance and even the idea of doing anything for myself first. As mothers, we’re taught (and guilted to believe) that our children come first, and that anything we prioritize over them is an act of selfishness.
I grappled with this until the day my son looked over at me and said “If it wasn’t for me, you probably would have been a famous artist. You stopped painting to take care of me. You should paint again, mom. Stop worrying so much about me.” Here I thought I would ruin his life if I missed a soccer game or didn’t make him his favorite meals. Meanwhile, what he noticed is that I wasn’t doing any of the things I once loved to do. That was really eye opening for me. To this day, he loves to see me create art and wishes I would just sit down and paint.
He and I both feel the joy of my self-full passions. When I don’t create art or take care of myself, I’m one grumpy lady and it spills all over this household. How is that loving to my son or to my family?
If you’re feeling guilty about pursuing a more self-full life, here are 3 tips to help you slowly get started:
By recharge, I don’t mean going to a spa. Yes, that’s great and all but it’s not sustainable for most people to do this often. The feeling of “ahhhhh” is fleeting. Incorporate a bit of me time everyday when and where possible. A bath, a 10-minute walk, a tea ritual, meditation. Set a routine to give yourself the attention that you deserve to connect with your spirit, nature, music or whatever brings you the most comfort and relaxation.
Related: Checking in with yourself
How you speak about yourself is massive. If you’re a mom, this one is for you. We aim for perfection and beat ourselves up when things don’t go the way we hoped. Trust me, this is a tough one I deal with all the time. My son isn’t doing well in a class. Of course, I figured out a way to blame myself for it. Should I have been more strict? Less strict? Maybe he needed a tutor and it’s my fault I didn’t get him one? The divorce. It must’ve been the divorce that impacted his grades. It’s my fault. I failed at motherhood. If this sounds like you, I get it. Here’s the thing: If you walk around feeling like this it will impact everything else in your life – My cooking is terrible, I’m not very domestic, I’m not smart or talented enough to take that class, I will never lose weight. Get my point?
Be patient with yourself. Give yourself some grace. You’re doing the best you can.
Related: Stop overthinking and just do
Pursuing the things that bring you joy (a great book, creating art, singing), is the best way to connect back to yourself. Whether you have small goals or mountanious dreams, work on it everyday. Do what you can when you can. But do it.
When you’re self-full you have more to bring to the table. You have more to share. More to give.