Somewhere along the way, someone decided that women should put everyone else first. This rule is especially true for us moms. We burn ourselves out making sure everyone else has everything they need, until there's nothing left to give ourselves. I imagine it's probably that same "someone" who decided women should fit into a certain size (literally and figuratively). But that's a story for another day.
Back to the task of putting everyone else first…..
You see, when you're diagnosed with cancer, or any other major blow to your physical & mental being, you really have no choice but to surrender everything. This includes your need for control, the idea of doing it all, and doing it “perfectly” (hahaha).
I'll use me as an example. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I still had a demanding corporate job. I traveled every month for work, sometimes more. I was heavily relied upon at the office. People described me as "the glue". There was a lot of "ask Amy", or so it seemed to me. Don't get me wrong, I loved all the attention at the time. It made me feel important, valued, and worthy. Can you see the problem here? I was looking to external sources for confirmation. I wasn't looking within me. This is a huge disconnect that many of us struggle with. We don’t see our own worth, and so we rely on other people's approval to validate it. It's a sad cycle.
This happened at home too, but in a different way. I was a serious workaholic & approval junkie. As the mom, I thought I was supposed to be the glue at home. I was supposed to make sure everything was done for everyone else (perfectly, of course). Since I was a workaholic that rarely happened, which created other issues. I was constantly swimming in a sea of guilt.
In all of this mess, the idea of taking care of me was sitting somewhere on a shelf.
In reality, there was no glue left for me. I was falling apart.
Anyway....when I was diagnosed with breast cancer I needed everyone and everything to stop. Go away. Leave me alone. Ask someone else!! I hit rock bottom and had nothing left to give. I knew I needed to shift focus and take care of me, but how?
Can you see what happened here? It took a major illness for me to finally back away from the craziness I created. Breast cancer forced me to stop and reevaluate my priorities to myself. It also forced me to see the truth – that as I was giving everyone else so much, I was slowly destroying myself.
I was only 39 years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My doctors referred to me as a “red flag”, because I was so young. For me, that red flag was a gigantic wake-up call waving in my face.
A lot has happened since then. Outside of leaving my corporate job, I learned how to take care of me. I started small, and I had to explore. I was so disconnected from myself, I didn’t even know what I liked anymore. I discovered things like reading, meditating, drinking tea, and taking a hot bath. I made time for these things. I made time for me. Through coaching, I learned to see my worth. I am learning to love me. I no longer need external validation, because I can look within and know what is true.
I still struggle with the idea that I'm supposed to be doing more. When I catch myself, I simply remind myself that it’s not true.
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