Badass Love

As the Love Project’s month of self-love comes to a close, I’m faced with a decision. I can write  the easy post, or I can write the hard one.

The easy one would be all about how good this month has been for me. How I carved out time for me and consciously lived those moments being kind to myself, generous in a way that, all to often, I’m not. I played more, walked more, read more. I met new people, and wandered over physical, emotional and intellectual landscapes that took my breath away. The easy post would talk about the things I learned – that downtime makes my up time more productive, that self-forgiveness is more powerful than any amount of external validation, that being kind to myself opens me up, allows me to connect with my world.

The hard post isn’t so pretty.

The hard post is about our dysfunction. The hard post is full of thorny questions like, why do we feel guilty when we do something that’s just for us? Why do we so often feel a need to defend doing what’s right for ourselves, while martyrdom seldom requires justification?

On one of my posts this month, a commenter accused me of having no children, abundant time, and more freedom than she could ever dream of. I’m using the word “accused,” not because I think she was actually accusing me of anything, but because that’s how it felt to me. In the face of her reluctance to do anything for herself (even feel sadness for the effect it might have on her children), I felt guilty, selfish, defensive of the time I was giving to myself. (A stupid reaction that is about me, not her.)

I wanted to explain my situation to her, point out all the ways that my life is not the carefree adventure she envisions. I wanted to tell her, in infinite detail, all about raising my boys, getting my degree, writing a book, the hours I work for not nearly enough pay, the commitments I meet, the heartbreaks I suffer, the times when I (like every single person I know) put my needs last, until, inevitably, I crash and burn and relearn the lesson of self-love.

I didn’t do that – inundate her with ridiculous detail – but I wanted to, because no one questions martyrdom. In our culture (maybe in every culture), selflessness is celebrated. Sacrifice for your children, your parents, your friends, and we will all applaud you. Take a moment to breathe, to push back, to say no to one more commitment, and suddenly you’re on the defensive. God forbid that you let the laundry pile up, the house get messy, the kids eat delivery pizza so that you can do something you love – your art, your work, your cause – the thing that lights you up inside.

Ask most people about self-love and they will tell you that they are in the habit of putting themselves last. I believe it’s true. I also believe that it’s easier to admit suffering than it is to admit that you are kind to yourself every day. One of my favorite comments this month came from Pam Carlson who wrote, “I’m quite permissive with myself (it’s one of my not-so-secret weapons in life)… I’m allowed to have the best time I can with the time I have.”

I think Pam’s brave. I think in the same way that choosing love in a world full of cynics takes courage, choosing to value yourself in a world that considers it selfish is… well, badass.

And beautiful.

And here’s the amazing thing. When you do it, when you choose to love yourself in tangible ways, to give yourself permission, to say no, to consider your own needs as carefully as you consider the needs of others, you get happier. You feel less trapped, more open. Less resentful, more generous. Getting good at loving yourself makes you better at loving others. It’s true, cliché or not.

… And yeah. I decided to write the hard post.

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58 Responses to Badass Love

  1. Kellie J. Walker (@Yourlifeingear) May 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    j,

    I’m going to do something I don’t think I’ve ever done – disagree with you. Not only is the ‘hard post’ pretty, it’s downright f-ing gorgeous. It’s beautiful in a way that only the truest, most difficult and scary things to say aloud can be. And, to up the ante by publishing it for all the world to read? F-ing gorgeous.

    I spent the first 30 years of my life in the celebrated martyrdom you spoke of. I spent the next 8 desperately clawing my way to Pam’s side of the street. I’ve spent the last 3 years openly and proudly wielding the weapon Pam speaks of. I plan to spend the rest of my years doing the same… and teaching anyone who wants the information how I got here so they can hopefully do the same.

    You are my favorite badass, j. Keep fighting the good fight.

    Hugs and love,

    Kellie

    • j May 29, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

      Scared me for a minute there!Your comment strikes exactly at the heart of what I wanted to say. The fact that you had to fight to get to Pam’s side of the street is evidence, I think, of the damage that comes from giving so much of yourself that you lose track of who you are. While I’m a strong believer in the “use the gas mask first” theory, I’m really advocating here for just the minimum. Consider your own needs as carefully as you consider the needs of others. And then act… unapologetically.

      And see? I was right. You are BEAUTIFUL.

    • Kellie J. Walker (@YourLifeInGear) June 1, 2011 at 6:05 am #

      Aw, shucks.

      You’re making me blush!

  2. Ellen Berg May 29, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    This post should be mandatory reading, especially for women. Thank you for saying out loud what I feel I battle every day. Why is it when we do something for ourselves it is automatically labeled as selfishness?

    I have a beautiful friend who made a beautiful analogy. We must make sure our own cups are full, then give from the overflow. Too often we give until we’re empty, and then we beat ourselves up because we have no more to give. How insane is that?

    Patti Digh has a section in Life is a Verb titled “Put Your Own Mask on First,” that speaks to this issue as well. It’s time to change our beliefs~if we take care of ourselves, there will be plenty of overflow to share with others!

    • j May 29, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

      It was a little scary, to be honest, saying it aloud. I think it’s so sad that our culture makes it easier to proclaim your victimhood than your selfhood. I have found it to be so true that the minute I stop being a martyr, I become MORE generous, more loving.

      And really… how cool is that?

  3. Becky May 29, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    You’ve taught me a lot, lessons I never wanted to learn… or at least lessons I never wanted to admit I needed to learn.
    When I say you taught me how to be selfish, I hope you know it’s a huge compliment.
    I hope you have an amazing summer filled with all things good and badass, take care.

    • j May 29, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

      Compliment accepted. :)

  4. mousebert May 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    I have a rather long story associated with this but I will cut to the chase:

    How can one be kind and good to another if one is not kind and good to oneself?

    • j May 29, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

      I think people don’t really believe this, but it’s true. When you feel like love is abundant (and it starts with yourself), you’re more free with what you have to give.

  5. Lance May 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    We were sitting in church this morning (dont freak out or delete me please…there’s a good point, i promise). The pastor was midway through a sermon about Job and dropped the line “be better on your inside than your outside” . Bobina turns to me and says “i’m so glad you work on yourself the way you do, it’s why me and girls admire you.”

    that floored me. Admire? I thought all of them thought I was just a goober.

    Loving who and what you are is so important because when you get “accused” or questioned, you have resolve.

    Thanks for this month on the blog, J. It’s meant a great deal.
    btw…i moved to wordpress http://lancemyblogcanbeatyourblog.wordpress.com

    • j May 29, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

      Ha! That made me laugh. Promise, I’ll never delete you for mentioning church. ;-)

      There is much to admire in you, I think. I’m not surprised she told you, and I’m pleased as hell that you heard it.

      You’re on WordPress! Yay! I’ll check you out before the weekend’s done.

    • lunaJune May 30, 2011 at 7:31 am #

      betcha Lance that was the most awesomest moment… and it made you beam like crazy :~)

  6. Tricia May 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    Maybe this post didn’t feel pretty to write but it’s a beautiful one to read. Funny, but the last two nights that my daughter slept over at a friend’s house I didn’t bother making dinner. I ate peanuts and pretzels. Why? I didn’t think “I” was worthy of the trouble.

    • j May 29, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

      Thank you, and grrrr! On the other hand, I might not cook just for me either… But I’d go get a piece of cheesecake.

      Your homework: take this post seriously. ;-)

  7. Joanne Ludlow Firth May 29, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    This is the hard stuff and I’m sad that the commenter was so out of line with you. You see, when I read about your adventures and the fun you’ve had, I understand what’s behind those words. I understand about the meals you had to make, perhaps while you were right in middle of something else. I understand about the needs you had to meet when they were presented to you, not later, but right now. I also understand about the road you’ve taken to be in the place you are. Laden with responsibilities and commitments, husband, kids, pets, work, home, and all the while trying to carve out some guilt-free j-time. Not easy, not fun and at times, enough to make resentment rise to the surface.

    I wish there was some grand advice I could offer here. A quick fix that would bring balance and harmony to your days. A recipe with all the ingredients necessary to allow you to feel content and fulfilled at the end of each day. I don’t have any of those things, believe me, if I did I would offer them freely to anyone who needs them.

    All I can say, is to start somewhere. Take the time, space and energy that you need to love yourself in any way that you need to, for however long and in whatever place. When you are done, frame it, freeze it, write about it, and keep it close. Let yourself feed from it until you are able to do it again.

    Let’s vow to have a great June. Let’s check in with ourselves to make sure we are loving ourselves often and wonderfully. Great, great post!

    • j May 30, 2011 at 8:00 am #

      Thank you, Joanne. I’m not sure the commenter was out of line – just buried in the realities of her life and feeling that constriction. I’m glad she said it though, because I really had to think about my own reaction, my instinct to justify myself by showing all the ways my life is hard, all the ways I’ve suffered. I think that’s a little insane. She made me more militant about which kind of person I want to be.

      Thank you for all your wishes for me. I wish them all for you too, and a rocking June… EXCELLENT idea. Let’s do it!

  8. marsha epstein May 29, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Love this post and agree with you. One lesson learned post empty nest is that parents who do not make lives for themselves are making a huge mistake. Adult children, grandchildren are busy and putting all of your emotional energy into these relationships can leave you vulnerable and lonely.

    I have spent considerable time reflecting upon how and why I put others first and the subsequent frustration. In the past few months I have made a concerted effort to schedule in “me-time” on a daily basis. It feels good and though I still get defensive with others I know that I am on the right path and will not be derailed.

    The funny thing is that my adult boys seem to really love that their Dad and I are forging a more of a “vibrant and active” life together They might even be relieved.

    • j May 30, 2011 at 8:09 am #

      Oh, Marsha, I wish we could stand up and shout your observation from the rooftops. I felt guilty when the boys were younger and I was going to school and working part time. So many of my friends made the decision to stay home with their children, but I knew I would be less of a mom if I did what everyone else acted like I should do.

      I want my boys to have big, fulfilling lives in which they pursue their passions and love fearlessly, and I want that for me too. I think part of our jobs as parents is to demonstrate what it looks like when you reach for dreams and follow your curiosities. And, as you point out, there will come a time when our children aren’t sharing our day-to-day lives, when they’re heading off into their vibrant, active lives. I want my boys to know I’m okay here in mine.

  9. lunaJune May 30, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    I learn many things daily
    and a day I learn nothing is a sad day
    one thing I have learned from just your wonderful writing and sharing
    and the collective sharing we all do with you
    is that each of us live different lives…
    we all have other responsibilities and commitments
    and truly time to love ourselves doesn’t need to be hours set aside
    it happens in the nanoseconds
    it happens in not judging our hair looks today
    it happens in a inhale of a flower scent that makes you smile
    it happens in a million little ways
    and all we have to do is just notice…become aware
    and maybe she just felt so overwhelmed with her life that she is unaware
    and there are many people who no not get yet
    that words….are thoughts….and they affect
    so…..
    love yourself first and foremost… if you don’t who will??
    thanks for the sharing
    the caring
    and fearlessness to jump up and say
    HEY I LOVE ME
    and
    NOW I LOVE YOU

    have an awesome day
    and know that some of us take a long time to get to loving fearlessly

    • j May 30, 2011 at 8:12 am #

      True! It does happen in the nanoseconds. I think that’s maybe the most useful thing a busy, overtired, overstressed, overwhelmed mom can hear. Self-love happens in the nanoseconds. Beautifully said, June. xo

  10. kaleighsomers May 30, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    In a movie I watched once, the one character said you cannot love someone else unless you love yourself first. You cannot be accepting and content with anyone else until you feel that way about yourself. I completely agree with you and that sentiment. Your words on love have given me ounces of wisdom on which to grow a family someday and know just where the line might be between giving to others and keeping a small section for myself. I’m not 100% there, but you have helped me so so much with your words and thoughts and actions.

    It’s scary because you’re right. You’re right that choosing to value ourselves is supposedly selfish in this world but doesn’t that create so many problems for us? All of us trying to not care about ourselves and put ourselves down constantly to be better, thinner, smarter, prettier? It scares me.

    • j May 30, 2011 at 8:20 am #

      I agree. It is scary. I think selflessness is scary. I can’t imagine anyone would strive to achieve that. (It’s why I’ll never be a Zen master.) I truly believe that in finding ourselves and pursuing the stuff that sets our insides on fire, we become more interesting and more interested, less consumed with whether we’re popular, pretty or thin enough. (And I say that as someone who’s spent most of my life wrestling body image demons.)

      I think you’re amazing. I predict your life and future family will reflect that.

  11. Caroline May 30, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    You are the most sparkly, kind, giving, hardworking, badass superhero I know. I’m not sure what that has to do with your post, but I felt the need to say it. Ok, coffee kicking in – a little. I hate that we must still defend our ‘selfish’ moments, or that I had to put that in pretend air-quotes. Selfish, is a pejorative, and it really shouldn’t be. Mousebert, you and others are quite right: we cannot fully love others until we love ourselves. We cannot expect a beautiful garden, book, song, painting, until we put the necessary work into it. Same goes for ourselves and our loving relationships with others. We bring to love what we have. If all we have are worn out platitudes, dulled imaginations, weary bodies and minds then that’s what we will offer – not worthy of the ones we love and certainly not worthy of us. Giving back to yourself, learning/re-charging/creating a space and time for you – is badass. If anyone questions that, they should look at their own loving relationships and examine if they can be more.
    Ok, clearly coffee has NOT kicked in. :o) blah blah blah let’s pretend I said something intelligible. xoxoxo J! <3, me.

    • hippiechick May 30, 2011 at 8:08 am #

      Caroline…Perhaps, one day, as a gift to yourself, you will stop feeling the need to add “let’s pretend I said some intelligible” each time you speak so rightly from your heart. Just saying. <3

      Great post, j. #thatisall

    • j May 30, 2011 at 8:31 am #

      I love this: “If all we have are worn out platitudes, dulled imaginations, weary bodies and minds then that’s what we will offer – not worthy of the ones we love and certainly not worthy of us.”

      I think we tell ourselves that we’re loving full and well when we sacrifice ourselves. But the truth is that when we devote all our energy to the well being of another – our children, most obviously, but a parent, a sick friend, a job (for which we are not passionate), we lose something precious, and that loss affects how we love everyone else in our lives. Some of the most “selfless” people I know are also the most unhappy, the most lost, the most envious of other people’s lives. It breaks my heart.

      You’re right I think. If you’re questioning the value of valuing yourself, I think looking at the quality of your loving relationships will tell you all you need to know.

      (And you thought of all that before coffee. Who’s the superhero here?!) ;-) xo

  12. j May 30, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    Thanks, Hippiechick! Great comment, wise woman. #thatisall

  13. Kevin May 30, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    J- Well done on taking the hard road. I realize, all too often, that I don’t make time for myself. It makes for a dull, grumpy cookerguy. Thanksfor such a thoughtful post. You badass, you.

    • j May 30, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

      Dull and grumpy are not words I’d have ever used to describe you, but you’re right. I think we following our curiosity makes us shiny and happy… and fascinating.

  14. Tall Pajama Man May 30, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    i’ll go back and read everyone’s replies later. I read through this whole post carefully, because I identified with it so much. I like to think that I am unique in my choosing myself last, but I realize that I am but one of many. Regardless of the reasons they do it, we do it, we still do. Making the switch to self love was hard for me, but in the times I did, I found life waiting for me there. That life was really what I needed to be able to love others selflessly.

    Tough month, but courageous month, and month of challenge and learning.

    “Getting good at loving yourself makes you better at loving others”. Cliche’ or not, so true, and so apropos.

    • j May 30, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

      Yes, when you have time, go back and read. You guys are geniuses. I hope when you say tough, courageous month, you mean yours. That’s what I wish for you, my friend.

    • Tall Pajama Man May 30, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

      yep, May was just that for me: tough and courageous. Going mobile soon, so I’ll read the wonders later :-)

  15. Chris Edgar May 30, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Hi J — I think you have been totally nailing it lately! I’ll go out on a limb myself and say I feel sad when I see people who say they are spending all their time “doing it for the kids,” and never get a second of “me time.” In my experience, children pick up on it when their parents see them as a burden to carry, no matter how laboriously their parents strive to bear that supposed burden. Then the kids go through life saying to everyone “I’m so sorry to burden you — I’ll just fade into the background.” It’s not emotionally healthy for the children or the parents. And, I acknowledge that we need to do what we can to survive and all.

    • j May 30, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

      Thank you, Chris. I also think it’s not healthy for a child to watch a parent in self-sacrifice mode all the time. I don’t think we can expect our children to reach for their dreams, believe in themselves, try things and take risks, if we aren’t modeling the behavior. Or worse… they do all the good stuff, but it’s to avoid becoming us. So sad.

  16. Pam May 30, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    Brave? *shuffles feet unassumingly* I don’t know about that, but I like it that you think so.

    I did spend some long years rather lost to myself, trying to stay in a relationship that had no space in it for the real me. Before that, and after, I was and am of the mindset that you quoted.

    I’ve never gotten the conversational style of competitive martyrdom. Who is the winner in a joust over who’s leaving less time, energy, love (whatever) for herself?

    I would love it if we knew we are allowed to be individual people, & we’re not here just to inhabit the roles we have in the lives of others.

    Love the post, & your insightful ZS commenters. <3

    • j May 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

      “Who is the winner in a joust over who’s leaving less time, energy, love (whatever) for herself?”

      Wow. Wish I wrote that. Perfectly put.

  17. Renee Upson May 30, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Judy you deserve to be the badass you are becoming. I too, have had much conflict and self discussion reguarding this topic. I have four grown sons and I was very proud to fullfill the title as Super Working Mama when they were young. I now realize how I trained myself to also feel a sense of guilt if I did not complete my list of duties each day (and with a smile). I have spent the last year as 2 of my boys moved out, letting go and sort of forgiving myself for relaxing a bit. (You know as much as I enjoy cooking when it becomes a task the joy is gone, etc.) I then realized that there is no need to forgive a act that was only in my own mind. A self created , feeling the guilt model for the well rounded Mother, worker, wife. I have started point my finger at myself and have learned the word Me is a wonderful word. Your so right. It takes a badass to take time and pride for the self.

    • j May 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

      Thank you, Renee. I do work hard at my brand of badassery. And you’re right. Our guilt is more about us than about the actual judgment of anyone else.

  18. Michael May 30, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    True and lovely post, j. Go you. <3

    • j May 30, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      Thanks, Michael. <3

  19. Estrella Azul May 30, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    “…the heartbreaks I suffer, the times when I (like every single person I know) put my needs last, until, inevitably, I crash and burn and relearn the lesson of self-love.” – beyond true, j!
    It’s a lesson we keep relearning and that fact, that we’re relearning instead of keeping, doesn’t even raise a red flag more often than not.
    I also think Pam’s brave :)
    And I’m so glad you went with the hard post!

    You didn’t give an assignment for the past week, so I almost completely flunked at self-love. But I did get to finish my allowed list that I finally posted today, and it was a good week as I just realized there were a couple of self-love acts like starting lunch backwards ;)

    • j May 30, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

      I’m glad I went with the hard post too. I think my general rule of thumb should be: when in doubt, go with the hard post. ;-)

  20. Meg Sweeney May 31, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Thanks j. Why do we beat ourselves up when we make our life the priority? Why, also, do we feel jealousy when others do? It really should be that we feel so full we are literally an over pouring of love, as we are so filled up that it is natural to give to others. Why do we too clearly separate the you and I? All deep issues, especially for our culture. Thanks. Just one thing, if we take good care of ourselves, then others don’t have to! Hmmmmm. See Shakespeare’s sonnet #?(sorry)…”Love is not love that alters when alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove. Oh no. It is an ever fixed mark, and looks on tempests, and is never shaken.” I hope that overworked woman gets some TLC.

    • j May 31, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

      I agree completely. I think that giving until we’re completely depleted makes us resentful, constricted. Filling ourselves up – with love, with fun, with exciting, challenging pursuits – makes us generous. As you said, it pours over and out and into the world. I’m meeting those people more and more… and they are magic.

  21. Patricia MacDonald May 31, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    You know, I’m gonna disagree with you too… I think many people are full of insecurities that cause them to put themselves above their children, their job, even their life. I have known too many couples who have split up because the husband was out buying new parts for his hot car and a flat screen TV while the kids were stuck with run down shoes; too many women who have 8 or 10 pretty bras and serve their family Hamburger Helper for dinner. I’ve known too many who don’t embrace their LIFE while they are busy shopping for the latest gadget to make themselves feel good about themselves. They have no idea they are sacrificing their family for this effort, because “everyone” now has a flat screen TV and “everyone” has cable TV and “everyone” has a nice couch, etc etc etc. I know many are like what you say – primarily single moms – but when you said “most people” when asked would say they put themselves last, while I agree they would say that, I can’t agree they do. That’s the reality of the society we now live in.

    • j May 31, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

      Actually, I think you might be the first to disagree with me, but I’m glad that you did. You bring up something interesting. While I can’t say that I know anyone guilty of what you’re talking about (which is not to say they’re not out there, just that I don’t know them), I think you’re right about one thing. Our culture so celebrates martyrdom that even if someone does not feel they put themselves last, it might be hard for them to admit that.

      It’s safer to play the “conversational style of competitive martyrdom.” No one wants to seem too happy.

    • Tricia May 31, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

      Patricia, you just described my ex-husband. A couple mothers at my kid’s school too.

  22. Meg Sweeney May 31, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    It may be that the car parts, the bras, the flat tv don’t feed our souls…just stuffers….just like the hamburger helper. Real veggies, real quality time with ourselves doesn’t have to deplete our resources and time…they should be rejuvenating. However, our culture seems caught trying to stuff things into those areas of our hearts that are calling out for fresh tomatoes and eggplants.
    And…on the other side of the see saw is the celebrated martyr, who is swimming in mirk, and wants others to join. Anyway, what a great time to really look at what is going on outside of us, and see it as a reflection of what is going on inside of our lives as well. Great work j.

    • Becky May 31, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

      “swimming in murk and wants others to join” <~~~ that's it (and I totally may steal that for a poem). I'm a reformed martyr. I spent 18 years doing for everyone and making myself miserable and quite frankly in need of help. The last three years I was the freaking saint martyr of martyrs — if I told you everything I dealt with you wouldn't believe me. But I didn't exist, you know? I wanted company but I didn't even realize it, I crashed and burned and I thought I really didn't want to be in this world.
      I've spent the last 6 months taking care of myself and in turn doing some very selfish and sometimes impulsive things — and I am new, I am guiding my own path. My kids are happy and glowing because mommy goes out with friends and goes camping and plans vacations. I don't even recognize the martyr I used to be and thank goodness, I'm me…
      (ps — if (when) I steal your quote I'll link back to you :-) ).

  23. Patricia Macdonald May 31, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    Well said Meg! Fresh tomatoes and eggplants all the way! :P

    and Judy ~ You live a beautiful life! I know many as I’ve described, but it might be partly where I live, on reserve. Still, I know them at work too, where there are no other ndns. People aren’t conscious of what they are doing, possibly that is at the root of the behavior. It’s hard to wake folks up!

    Your blog is beautiful, Judy, and I meant no criticism of what you find to be true; I live Badass Love as well. I just find other things that’s all. They break my heart sometimes but that is part of love as well, and makes me want to love all the harder, and yes, myself too. =)

    • j May 31, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

      I didn’t take it as criticism, or doubt that what you say is true.

      In my (yes, kinda beautiful) life, I meet people all the time who have lost themselves in lives that are dedicated to the needs of others. It’s just as heartbreaking to talk to them, to want to infuse them with fire and passion and joy. And you know I totally agree with you that heartbreak is part of love. All those scars on your heart are testament to your fearlessness. Thank you so much for extending this conversation. xo

      And, yes, Meg, you get the award for the best metaphor ever wielded on ZS. I am in awe. :-)

  24. Meg Sweeney May 31, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    fine with the mirk, I mean murk…thanks for the spelling. Boy this thread has been the read of the weak…I mean week.

    • Becky June 1, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

      Oh no, I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to correct the spelling… I was being sincere. My phone spells words correctly and incorrectly on it’s own.

  25. winsomebella June 1, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Great thoughts. At or around the ripe age of 50, I made an about-face in my life. Lots of changes that were scary and alarmed those around me. Chose to create my own happiness and claimed my life forward as mine and mine alone. And in the end, without trying to do so, it seems I’ve had a more positive impact on others in just a couple of years as the new me than I ever did with the old me. Thanks for your honesty and good example.

    • j June 1, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

      I just hopped over to see your blog. It’s beautiful and so is your sanctuary piece.

      I think that’s how it works. The more you give yourself, the more you have to give, and the more you dance with life, the more others want to dance with you. Thank you for commenting!

  26. Cynthia Patton June 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Beautiful post, Judy. Maybe it’s just my twisted sense of life, but I always like the hard posts best. Self-care has always been difficult for me. I thought I’d learned how to do it–at least in a feeble but doggedly determined way–but then I became a parent of a special needs kid and everything I learned flew right out the window. Now I’m struggling to re-teach myself all over again. Thanks for the reminder that self-care is not selfish. Because how can I ever hope to teach my daughter how to love herself in all her glorious imperfection if I cannot do the same for myself?

  27. j June 2, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    Yeah, me too, on the hard posts.

    I think maybe parents – moms especially – often lose track of themselves in the process of parenting our precious little beings. A special needs child makes it all the harder to keep our own needs under consideration. But your last line – beautifully written – is the exact reason why parents (maybe most of all) need to actively, consciously, demonstratively love ourselves every bit as much as we love our children.

  28. jeff June 4, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

    an admiral endeavor. it is a difficult balance of not putting yourself first or last but learning to love merely being (living) and helping those you choose to interact with realize their potential happiness. the difficulty and your retrospective dysfunctional analysis is in evaluating sacrifice and timing; for one can fully realize individual self-love but with such revelation comes the necessity to share it. the delicate balance is how to welcome the love of others (burdensome & imposing as it may be) while progressing with self-love realization. isolation, while a comforting catalyst and crucible, is the most difficult variable to set.
    regardless; a good journey. well done & best wishes in its dynamic continuation.

    • j June 5, 2011 at 7:59 am #

      Thank you. I’m not sure I think you need to share self-love or that isolation is a comforting catalyst, but I do agree that striving to be better at loving ourselves is an admirable (necessary) endeavor.

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