Being a generous soul is fabulous, some of the best people I’ve met consistently put others first; but I worry they may avoid doing for themselves because they “don’t feel worthy” or “don’t have time”. As a parent of a child with different needs and challenges this resonates on levels that scare me, because I KNOW my wife and I have made decisions not to do things for ourselves for these very reasons.
I think we are all quick to judge when we feel someone is being selfish, and many of us will say something to the individual(s). We teach our children it’s important to share, and speaking for myself, there is nothing worse than being around someone who dominates a conversation.
But what about us? When is it okay to put ourselves first? How do we do it, and more importantly, what do we do when we feel we have to justify ourselves? These are important questions to answer, because we have to replenish/recharge. Yes, it can feel wonderful being needed and solving the “world’s problems”; but be sure you’re not running from your own – because things have a way of sneaking up on you.
Make a commitment to yourself to carve out “me” time and think about what you want for yourself. At first many of us will immediately go to how we can help someone else – this doesn’t count; we need to push past it. Every single one of us has something we enjoy doing, perhaps it even feels like a “guilty pleasure”. Follow that thought, see where it goes.
Some of us, including yours truly, need help not only identifying what we really want; but getting “permission” to pursue it. For me, my fear is centered around not providing enough for my son – leaving him to an uncertain future when I die. But you know what I’ve realized? No matter how much I do, his future will always be uncertain – that’s just part of the “human condition”.
So I’m forcing myself out of my comfort zone, by working with a coach to determine my true wants and naming the fears holding me back. I think for almost all of us there will be a financial consideration, we need to leave our children a legacy because State & Federal benefits don’t come with a permanent guarantee and there’s no telling (at least in my mind) what impact my death will have on my son’s mental state and disposition. There’s also the very reasonable fear of failure; but if this is explored in many cases mitigation strategies can be formulated and put in place.
The fear of failure isn’t just about work, at least not for this dad of a child with different needs. It’s also about helping my son build a team of professionals who I can trust will help him as he transitions into adulthood. I have to let myself trust they know what they are doing, because I can’t (and I don’t want to) be everything to him forever. What’s holding you back?