Thursday, January 6, 2011

Love Thursday: Loving Myself

You know how when you are on board an aircraft and the crew explains that if the oxygen masks drop, adults should put their mask on before they place the masks on their children? There is a good reason for that. If the adult doesn't care for himself first, then it's possible he won't be able to care for the children later as he will be deprived of oxygen.

Lately I have felt deprived of my own sort of oxygen. If you are a parent or a spouse, you know how easily this happens. Your kids need you. You have obligations. Your spouse has needs, too. You spend so much time caring for others that you put yourself on the back burner and pretty soon, you are not much good at taking care of anyone.

I know it's January and this is the time that people make resolutions. I don't do resolutions. But I do like to be mindful at this time of year about things in my life that I'd like to see happen. And right now, the thought that keeps popping into my head is about loving myself as well as I love my family. So in that vein, I have decided to make sure that I do something for myself more often. Maybe it's taking a walk by myself. Maybe its saying "no" to something I really don't want to do. Maybe it's saying "yes" to something else. Maybe it's spending time with friends who support and encourage me. Maybe it's taking time alone with my husband to enjoy his company without interruptions. And maybe it's spending time looking through a lens.

I don't think the activity matters. I think it's the idea that I am as worthy of my time as my family is that matters. It's hard to say it, for sure. It feels a little wrong and selfish. But I think that those feelings are a lie--a trap of sorts--that women in particular have been swallowing whole. I know for certain that I am better able to mother and that I am a more giving spouse when I have taken care of myself.

So that's it then. I want to take better care of myself so that I can love others better. How about you? Is your oxygen mask on?

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