In my first post in this series about self care, I said that I believe that each of us has a unique “tipping point” when we tip into a need for self awareness. That tipping point teaches us when we can care for others first and when we must care for ourselves first. This is the second post in this self awareness series, and I’m sharing my story of first learning about self awareness and learning that I needed to care for myself. I needed to take my first steps toward the art of self awareness.
I had a sudden awakening, if you will, that required me to put myself first and foremost and to affirmatively engage in self awareness. STAT. I needed to learn what it meant and to learn that it was not the same as being selfish. Putting myself first was an easy decision under the circumstances that came my way. I had focused on so many other things that I had become overweight and extremely unhealthy.
Before having both of my sons, I had law school. Not really prime time for self awareness – it’s more like three years of abusing yourself and allowing (read: paying) your law professors to do the same. While all my time was devoted to my own pursuits, I wasn’t aware of much about myself nor was I caring for myself. When I graduated, it was all about getting noticed, writing a great brief, getting that career started, putting in face time at the office… There were commutes (90 minutes each way for a couple of years); several moves; a big hairy relationship breakup; you name it. Again, all of my time was devoted to my own pursuits – but there was still not much self awareness. I think many of us have been there. You’re gearing up, starting a career or you’re starting a family. Some of us chose to make those things our top priority for a while. And that’s ok.
What, exactly, is self care or self awareness? I spent years with nobody to be responsible for other than myself. But not having responsibility for anyone else is not the same as actively and affirmatively being aware of and caring for yourself.
Self awareness is the first step in creating what you want. Having clarity about who you are and what you want (and why you want it), empowers you to consciously and actively make those wants a reality. As we get to know ourselves we become aware of our strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge empowers us to bring about the changes that can transform our lives. Self-awareness helps us to uncover the wealth of creativity within and live fully with focus and purpose. Realising what is important to us is a major step towards achieving success. Where you focus your attention, your emotions, reactions, personality and behaviour determine where you go in life. Pay attention to your lifestyle choices. Are you choosing to live a healthy, empowered life? Or is it time to make some changes? Creating Your Own Holistic Self-Care Plan, Sinead Ailill McDermott.
But in 2003/2004, I went to the doctor and it was all there: I was prediabetic; I had high cholesterol; a bad triglyceride panel; and I had high blood pressure – nothing was missing from the prediction of my early demise. The doctor was putting me on medications. Pronto. My brain immediately said, not just no, but “Oh. Hell. No.” So I asked her to give me a chance to take charge of my own health naturally, without medications. My weight was a HUGE (pun intended) problem. I was almost 300 lbs. 290 lbs. to be exact. Yes. I just said that out loud. 290 lbs. If had known at that moment just how much hard work I was signing up for, I probably would have said “Just give me the pill; it’ll be good.” Thank goodness I didn’t know any better. My life has been blessed by the opportunity to take this journey of self care (twice now) and to be enriched and enlightened by it.
But for now, I’ll leave you hanging 🙂 That day at the doctor, I knew the implications of all that she told me – that was the moment that I decided self awareness and self care were absolute necessities and I was going to figure it out. This was life or death. Neither death nor sickness were options.
I’ve learned so much on my journey to self awareness and self care – practical and not so practical. And I’ve failed. A lot. I continue to have failures, right along with my successes. Right here is where I’ll share all that I’ve learned along the way. The good, the bad, and the ugly. My youngest is now four. He doesn’t need me as much as he used to. In my next post in this series, I’ll share what I did after that doctor’s visit and the level of success that I achieved. And where I am now on this journey. I’d love to have you back here to share your stories with me! I’ll continue to post about my new self care journey right up until the moment I get to where I want to be. Guess that means we’ll be hangin’ together for a while 🙂 Wanna’ join me?
Click here to see the other posts in my Self Awareness Sunday Series.