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Self-denying doesn't help anyone...
The only reason why I came to this conclusion is because I, Meredith, was a former self denying person. Come on- I have it in-grained in me due to being adopted. The less impact I can make in a space (size, attention, financially, involvement) the better as my former self. Receiving anything was quite uncomfortable to me as I felt like a charity case or unworthy. No one smacked me up the side the head like they should have.
Since I never got the rude awakening of a slap, it occurred to my by accident. You could say, perhaps, that I'm a slow person. I'm slow to change my habits as I thrive on routine. But anyhow- recently I took on a new hobby of aquaponics and fish keeping. It is small scale, but it is very grounding to me. I also devoted more time to this blog in writing and in concept. I've taken up piano again- my old best friend. Fortunately for me, (by the help of the most amazing husband in the world) I was able to get some alone time. I was given the space and opportunity to "check out" so I could "check back in" that much stronger.
I noticed that as I spent more time nurturing myself creatively, that I was much more productive and resilient. I enjoyed my family more. I'd venture to say that my husband has even seen a difference in me; and I think he likes the energized me much better than when I was overly self-denying. I never realized how much denying myself was putting everyone else on edge despite the fact that I thought I was being a better wife and mother by doing so.
I've been in a creative mode for I'd say most of March. And I've never felt so fulfilled. I used to discount myself creatively speaking to where I rarely did anything fun or relaxing. I'd even say I have the energy to try to be witty. Yeah- with a baby, that IS saying something. Perhaps everyone else started to respect me more because I was treating myself better. Go figure- we are the examples to others of how to be treated by the way we treat ourselves.
I have a dear long time friend who is stuck in a cycle of beating himself up. Sadly, he was in a marriage where this behavior enabled the emotional and physical abuse by his wife. Of course this is an extreme example, but at what point are we going to smarten up to this concept? How much of the oppression is done TO US and how much of it are we ENABLING?
So that is my question to you. I'm not calling you to arms. But I am challenging you to nurture yourself and see how your experience of your life changes... how the people around you change their interactions with you. It does matter. There are certain things that only we can do for ourselves. The rest, Almighty God can handle.
The truth speaks for itself: self care blesses those around you. Do something every day for a little while that helps you connect with the essence of who you are. God wants us to love ourselves as well as others. We can only give love from the overflow of love we have for ourselves and from the Lord Above. Loving yourself won't solve your problems but it will make your life meaningful.
Self care creates an overflow of care that we can use to bless our family and friends. Care to join me? How do you nurture yourself? Please comment below. Blessings to you~