For as long as I can remember, every single day when I woke up in the morning I gave thanks for the new day and for the opportunity to enjoy it to the best of my ability. Even before, during and after cancer surgeries, I would be so grateful for the doctors that were treating me and my husband who was right by my side always and just for being alive. I never thought that there was such a thing as a day that wasn’t great because each one always provides a clean slate on which to write a new script. That was until one day this week.
“If I find that on any particular day that I wake up feeling sad or overwhelmed or just out of sorts for whatever reason, I am just going to allow myself to feel that way for as long as I want.”Barbara Jacoby
I don’t know why I had this totally new awakening at this moment. I was just relaxing as I normally do. I had nowhere that I had to be or any obligations to be fulfilled. I could stay in bed as long as I wanted but all of a sudden I was totally and completely unmotivated, sad and downright unhappy. There were no physical problems that caused this. Everything was right with the world with regard to all of my relationships so I was completely puzzled about how I was feeling as I don’t remember having experienced anything like it before.
When I finally forced myself to get out of bed to start the day, I thought that maybe I should tell my husband by warning him that I was in a bad mood and that I was angry. Of course, he would want to know the cause and if there was anything that he could do to help. But since I knew that it had nothing to do with him, I decided not to share. At that point I had no idea what to do other than to just allow myself to feel the way I was feeling.
As the day went on, my feelings of anger showed themselves in an outburst of tears and as I cried, I realized that I was crying for myself and I was angry at myself. For whatever reason, I have been so busy doing everything and being everything for everyone else in my life. Regardless of the situation or the relationship, I am there to help and support everyone else through the good times and the bad times and doing whatever I can do to help. It doesn’t matter if what I am doing has negative effects on me because I derive my happiness from the ultimate successful outcome for the other person.
I know that I am not alone in my approach to life and I believe that it is somewhat of a natural instinct for many women. We want to take care of others. We are nurturers. We feel that it is our responsibility to do this. And perhaps in my particular case, as I do not have children, this is my way of satisfying this need to be a supporter for others. This is a good thing as long as it does not become detrimental to me. However, this might not always be the case.
While helping others always provides a tremendous feeling of satisfaction, I don’t think that it should be to the exclusion of doing nice things for ourselves, which seems to be the rut in which I found myself. We should treat ourselves with the same kindness and goodness and helpfulness as we give to others. For whatever reason we sometimes just don’t believe that we deserve to be treated well unless it is someone else who is giving us that treatment.
So, I have decided that I am going to try to do something, however big or small, for myself everyday. It might be just taking a break for 15 minutes in the afternoon or asking for a bit of help with a task instead of feeling that I need to do everything by myself. And if I find that on any particular day that I wake up feeling sad or overwhelmed or just out of sorts for whatever reason, I am just going to allow myself to feel that way for as long as I want. I don’t need to put on a happy face and pretend that all’s right with the world because not every day is a great day and I have to allow for that.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.