Honoring yourself amidst life’s stormiest moments
Last week, after a much desired morning workout, I grabbed my phone and noticed I had 5 messages. One was from my son’s school, and 4 were from my son’s dad. My heart instantly started to pound.
I knew these weren’t “feel good” messages.
After I listened to the first message, my nervous system erupted in adrenaline. My son had seriously injured his hand. His father had responded even before I received the news. By the time I listened to the first voice message, he was driving Ocean to our local Children’s Hospital for the treatment and care he needed.
When I spoke to Ocean’s dad he said, “Ocean’s finger… it doesn’t look good…”
I listened and reminded myself to take a deeeeep breath.
I’d like to say I reacted to this news with grace and poise, but after I hung up the phone, I promptly shouted F**K! at the top of my lungs. I felt my mind start to swirl in 45 directions all at once.
I stood still for a few moments, I took a couple of deep breaths, and I made a point to feel my legs and my feet
Once upon a time I would have rushed around frantically, thrown some odds and ends into a bag, ran to my car — possibly forgetting my purse in the process — and completely forgotten myself and my needs in the swirl of adrenaline and chaos.
But this time I made sure I was more resourced. I asked myself a powerful question:
“What do I need right now?”
Not “What does my son need?”, but “What do I need right now?”
Within minutes of doing what I needed to do for myself, I was grounded, laser focused, and ready to face whatever the day would bring. I was then able to focus on whatever my son might need in ways I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
This is just one example, albeit a bit of a dramatic one, of what it looks like to honor yourself.
Even when things get messy, or stressful, or downright traumatic, it is possible to take a moment to ensure that your own needs are being met.
This is not to say that I don’t still confront those inner voices and fears that tell me it’s not okay to take care of myself first.
In this situation, there was a small voice that piped up briefly and said, “What will people think if I don’t run out of here right now? I mean, what kind of a mom takes care of herself first in a situation like this?”
With that much adrenaline, I could have very easily thrown myself into my car and floored it to the hospital. That’s what my nervous system was telling me to do — RUN! RESCUE! FAST!
But a wiser part of me knew that everything and everyone — including myself — would benefit from the few moments of time I took to get grounded and resourced.
Showing up with my own needs met, a calmer nervous system, and a few necessities to make the day a bit easier felt far more reassuring to everyone involved. I was able to make multiple medical decisions and be there for my son in a very present, composed, and effective way — something that was sorely needed throughout the 5 hours we were at the hospital that day.
Asking myself, “What do I need right now?” led to the perfect actions that supported my family and I through a stressful ordeal, and the days of monitoring, nursing, and care that ensued.
As women, we’ve been conditioned to care for everyone around us, often to the detriment of ourselves. We’ve learned it’s selfish to put ourselves first, even if doing so will actually benefit everyone else.
And so, it takes courage to choose yourself and risk disappointing others and their needs. It takes audacity to stand in your own self-honoring energy, especially when someone else needs your support.
It takes practice and a healthy dose of permission — Radical Permission — to shift out of a life-long, unhealthy dynamic of caretaking everyone around yourself, at the expense of you.
But when you are clear that your needs and wants are just as important as everyone around you, and you offer yourself the same generosity that you give to others…
Your life begins to open in ways it never could before. You replenish yourself regularly so you can give from a very different, much healthier place. You no longer worry about being seen as selfish or high maintenance.
Resentment falls away. New and healthier boundaries get set, and you stop betraying yourself to avoid other people’s judgments. You start living from a very different place inside of yourself where you know your own value and worth.
Your standards shift in a healthier direction. You trust yourself more because you know you won’t neglect or abandon yourself. Your confidence rises. Your well-being on every level becomes a priority, and something you are no longer willing to compromise.
Honoring yourself is a moment-by-moment choice. As with anything, there is a learning curve. There will be no shortage of circumstances that will test your commitment to yourself.
But learning to choose and honor yourself at every turn is one of the most powerful life skills you could ever master. Because learning to hold yourself in the highest regard will only ever serve you and those you love.
PS: Ocean is doing just fine now. His injury was significant, and for the next couple of weeks he will be limited in the things he normally likes to do. But he received the best care that day, and every day since, and thankfully he is healing well.
Originally published on https://aliciamorrow.com/