It is very interesting to notice, how definition of certain ideas has changed throughout my life. I realize it’s not just my definition that has transformed…it’s my own perspective and understanding.
Looking at the word “selfish” and what it means to someone, can tell a lot about the life and personal experiences.
When I was a young mother, I “gave” all of my time, energy, thoughts…and practically the “whole package” to raising my kids. I wanted to be the best possible mom and to offer everything I had, because I thought that’s how you show love for your children and family….Taking yourself out of equation, forgetting about own needs and wants …. No selfishness….
It was quite lonely out there, even though I’ve joined “mother’s group”, for women just like me, staying at home with small kids….but again the group was mainly for kids to play together and for moms to socialize in the meantime. They were very nice women and very good mothers…but I didn’t have much in common…clipping coupons and talking mostly about home and kids issues….. I was very happy to have my kids…always wanted...lots of them… but at the same time, I felt as if my life came to the sudden stop. Days were filled with certain routines, necessary for them to grow, learn, stay healthy or just be the kids. These were the good days…when doctors were not involved and at the end of the day, I could hear them breathing peacefully in their sleep, safe and happy. My mission for that day was accomplished…but it would start anew, next morning. I loved being mom…never regretted it and would do it again …just smarter. Every chance I have, I talk to young moms…to help them understand, how equally important is “loving yourself “as much as loving your kids. Neglecting your own needs is not the answer to be a better parent. Unfortunately, I was very stubborn, so my life taught me a valuable lesson.
I can still picture myself, those days…busy, overworked, always doing dozen things at the same time, barely eating, sleeping or resting …recipe for disaster…but if you asked me …I loved that …also took a pride in fact of being able “to handle everything”….Not exactly…one day simply, my body got upset with me and said no more… I got sick and was forced to change things in my life, to continue raising my kids….Yes…I finally had to admit I was not the “the super woman”…
One day, sitting in the hospital room and waiting for the test results…suddenly occurred to me that I am in the crazy race….through my life…and one day there will be the finish line…I was not ready to finish the race yet… When, I imagined myself crossing the line, I couldn’t help but to be grateful for having kids and my family in my life. Then, I asked myself another question….what would I miss, that I never had a chance to do…if today was my last day?
Out of nowhere, I got the answer so clear, it even surprised me….The one thing, I would regret the most, was that I never had a chance to dance…. I always loved to dance….but didn’t expect this answer…..Once it crystallized in my mind, I had no doubts, felt overwhelming sadness that, I may never experience it. That moment I made a promise to myself ….looking at my body with different tubes sticking out in all directions …that if, I make it out of “this place”…I will dance.
I kept my promise…found the studio and started ballroom dancing…Never regretted that decision, this one single step of following my heart and doing what I always loved, opened the door to “taking care “of me…listening to my inner voice and learning that, I have to love and appreciate myself before I can do it for the other people.
I believe, my kids gain so much, by my decision to be “selfish”….I was much happier , easier going , with more energy to spare, smile and twinkle in my eyes… I was a better mom, after all ….by being better to myself. As they started growing up, the saw, me not only as a mother but as a person with passionate pursuits, hobbies, life on my own. I believe, that helped us to relate to each other more as a good friends in the beginning of teenage years. They were very supportive and proud…seeing in me, another human being…with dreams, hopes and passions.
I simply embrace the idea of being selfish…and get sometime very strange looks on people’s faces… If they ask, I will explain….and probably talk passionately about being good to yourself, finding the courage to be your best friend with no guilt. Tell them a story, of how caring and love for yourself will grow to include family, friends and eventually everyone around.
Sometime, I wonder how many more ideas about life, will end up being reexamined by me….Finding my own understanding, away from the one, I’ve learned in social upbringing may feel at the times as an epiphany and at others, as incomprehensible truth….I think, as long as we are questioning there are no wrong answers…just points of view…eventually being tested in life.