I did and since one in eight of us are diagnosed with breast cancer in our lifetime, I’m sure there are many more women out there who have done it and we want the rest of you to stop!
I know, I know. It sounds selfish and counter productive.
Just think about this…
If you have ever flown on an airplane, you have heard the routine instructions about “in the event of emergency, an oxygen mask will drop down from the ceiling.” Then the instructions direct you to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting anyone else. It’s the same in day-to-day life. How can you assist others if you are not getting enough rest, making sure to eat properly, exercise, and schedule down time to regroup?
- When you are picking up the office snacks and always asked to keep the meeting notes because you do such a good job and are so organized, are you surprised your pantry is empty and don’t have time to write a birthday card or even read a magazine?
- When you are busy shuttling little ones to soccer and ballet, does it occur to you that the last time you had “fun” was chaperoning the 1st grade trip to the bowling alley?
- When you are picking up another bottle of gentle bubble bath for your children, do you realize that the only time you are near a bathtub is when they are in it?
It feels good to be depended upon, and there are times it is appropriate. But the stress of championing everyone at the expense of yourself, is not being selfless…it is just plain unnecessary. Making yourself a priority in your own life does not mean you are going to abandon what you are doing now (like jetting off to a tropical island, or touring the castles of Europe, although that does sound grand)…I’m suggesting you just adjust the emphasis and intensity. Showing respect and, yes, self-love, models for everyone in your life how you want to be treated because you are demonstrating it for them. I mean taking a bath for the pleasure of it, reading a magazine with a cup of tea in the afternoon sun, putting your feet up for 15 minutes when you come home from work before you start dinner.
After my first breast cancer diagnosis, I couldn’t wait for my life to get back to “normal” along with the rest of my family. The cancer scared me and them. We just wanted to pretend the whole surgery and cancer cells were a dream. It worked for almost three years. Then IT came back two inches below the previous spot. Another surgery and more cancer cells.
This time things were different. I was different. I started creating my version of “normal” and that meant I treated me differently. I tapped into the healing powers of creativity leaning heavily on my journal writing. Also exploring many other new hands-on activities and discovering the wonderful prescription available at the ends of my fingertips. I learned to set boundaries, to say “no” and be my own best advocate for my well-being.
The life you champion should be your own!
photo credit: Dreamstime.com