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Self-care should never come last

It happens to all of us. Life weighs you down, things don’t go as planned and then a few bumps you didn’t expect get thrown in your road and you are left trying to figure out how to be strong for everyone else traveling the bumpy road with you. Meanwhile, you sacrifice yourself. Maybe fall back on old bad habits and create a few new ones trying to juggle it all. Before you know it, time has passed and getting back to who you once were seems like the hardest task imaginable.

For some, this may never come. For the rest of us, our lives might reflect this perfectly as we bob up and down across the waves of life praying we don’t get taken under with the current.

Recently, I have found myself in such a situation, and what I have noticed is there is always a moment when you reach out and hope someone is there to right your path, shake you back to reality and kick you in the butt finally setting you back on your correct way.

I’ve reached out a lot lately to people close to me to lean on and talk with as I found myself walking this bumpy road once again in life. I’ve fallen, I’ve struggled, and I’ve hated some of the choices I’ve made. Do you know what a majority of the people I talked to told me?

“You are dealing with a lot right now, give yourself a break!”

As true as that statement is, I have always been the strong one in life and as much as I was struggling with the issues I am currently facing, struggling with my choices on how I was dealing with them was weighing me down as well and making it almost impossible to stay afloat. One desperate attempt after another, I reached out to friends and family hoping they give me the strength I need and finally surrendered and tried to find comfort in the thought that it was OK to give myself a break and fall a little right now in light of everything else going on. Although, that still did not sit completely well with my soul.

Yesterday, I leaned on an old friend I hadn’t talked to in a long time and brought her up to speed on everything that has been happening in my life and the ups and downs trying to drag me under. Towards the end of the conversation, I told her how I was also struggling dealing with it all and was making choices I personally was not proud of. Almost sure she was going to tell me to give myself a break and understand I was dealing with a lot right now, I was not prepared for her come back – but found the swift kick I needed to right myself and finally get back on track.

You know what she said. She said it was not OK! Now, she didn’t ignore the fact that I was dealing with a lot. However, she did tell me that the way I was dealing with everything was not healthy and I needed to stay strong for my family, my kids… and myself! She prompted me not to lose myself in order to keep everyone else afloat and reminded me that taking care of myself first is the only way I can be there for my family and very importantly – myself!

When I thanked her for finally hitting me upside my head with the truth and telling me what no one else would, she told me tough love is necessary – and I couldn’t agree more.

Sometimes the toughest thing we can do in the midst of struggle is not lose sight of who we are. It isn’t easy being the strong one and always feeling the need to carry everyone else while you’re weighed down and forget to take care of yourself, but the only way to continue to be strong is to focus on the self-care you need and not the self-destruction that we all sometimes choose.

I’m thankful for the swift kick I needed earlier this week and hope maybe her words, which reached me, can maybe also reach some of you who may be struggling with the same.