I have made a decision today, and that decision is to put myself first, to say no more often, to take time out, and to ask myself what I want to do. I know that, that may sound selfish, but ultimately I believe it is quite possibly the least selfish thing I can do! Just recently this has been called to attention by my body demanding attention from me, this is the 4th time since the beginning of the year that I have been significantly ill enough to call in sick, to cancel meetings and visits. This is also the 4th time that I have been sitting at home feeling bad and guilty and like I am letting people down AGAIN!
The truth is that I am letting people down, but not as much as I am letting myself down, I cannot continue to push myself in the way that I have been, because each time results in a collapse. I collapsed after the busyness of Christmas, I collapsed after a particularly busy time during Lent, I needed several days to recover from Holy Week and Easter, and again just now after a particularly busy weekend.
I have M.E., or C.F.S as it is sometimes known, thankfully it is a mild version that allows me to continue tpwork, but only if I pace myself, and I have not been allowing myself to pace myself, mostly because I quite simply don’t want to say no, not to work, nor to friends and family, but that is going to have to change!
I am going to take time out to care for myself through diet and exercise and through resting and giving myself time to think and reflect in order that I am responding to situations rather than reacting to them! One interesting thing I have learnt over the last few years, which have been pretty stressful for various reasons, is that my inbuilt reaction is to say Yes! I say yes because I want to please people, and I probably genuinely want to help or do something for them, the issue has been that I sometimes say yes without thinking, whci can lead to double booking myself or overstretching myself and leaving myself exhausted.
So I am going to learn to care for myself, to love myself as want to love others, because by doing that I will probably be able to love them more, to offer them more. For me this will mean drawing back into my life times of meditation and relaxation, times to simply be in the presence of God without getting up at 5:30am and being too tired to be in any way connected to anything other than a desire to go back to bed.
I am fed up with feeling ill and guilty, fed up with feeling like there is not enough of me to go around, so I am going to take a leaf out of Jesus’ book, I am going to make time to pray, to discern what is important over what screams for attention. I am going to give myself time to rest and to heal so that I can give out of a deep well of riches drawn from within, because I am giving time to allow that well to be filled to overflowing from the waters of life.
So if you ask me something in the future and I ask either for time to think about it, or simply say no, please don’t be offended, I am not doing this because I am being difficult or uncaring but because I do care and I want to give you of my fullest, best not my stressed and empty lack.