Lately I've been navigating through two questions:
The first: "How do I show up for myself?
The second: "Where do I need to start showing up for myself?
These are two questions I'm not comfortable sitting with and yet the Lord keeps putting them at the forefront of my prayer and in any sort of "quiet time" I get these days.
I'd like to think I do a pretty good job showing up for myself. I mean, I'm a coach who encourages other women to do so...I should be a pro by now, right? Maybe I should be, but I'm not. Odds are, neither are you. (if you ARE, send me a message ASAP + spill every secret, ok?)
Nonetheless, I try. The good news is that we don't have to be perfect in order to strive for perfection. What do I mean by that? In the Gospel of Matthew we hear "be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5:8), yet we know we'll only reach that perfection once we're joined with Him in heaven. That doesn't mean we dismiss the opportunity he's given us to try. We're in the business of ordering our lives toward holiness, so we have to try.
"we don't have to be perfect in order to strive for perfection."
One way we can do this is to honor ourselves and SHOW UP. In case no one has shared this with you lately: you are worth showing up for.
If you're a parent, you show up for your kids.
If you're a spouse, you show up for your partner.
If you're a teacher, you show up for your students.
If you're a Priest, religious brother or sister, you show up for those you serve.
If you're a CEO, you show up for your employees.
You get the point.
We show up for everyone BUT...*drumroll*...OURSELVES. Now, I'm a mom so I'm talking to my other mom's here, but I have no doubt that whatever stage in life you're in that you might relate to this, too.
Why are we so used to showing up for others and not for ourselves? What is it that makes us say "that person deserves our best" and not " I also deserve my best"?
Let me put it another way. I heard this question on an episode of Abiding Together (credit where credit is due, y'all) and it hit me HARD.
"DO YOU MOTHER YOURSELF?"
Are you kidding me? Instant tears on my walk with the kids.
My gut-reaction was no, I do not. Then the question translated to "do I show up for myself?" And here we are, journaling in a blog post about it all.
A few thoughts floated around after that:
Do I speak gently, and kindly to myself?
Am I harsh when I mess up?
Do I educate myself?
Do I make time to have fun?
Do I make time to decompress?
Do I make myself something delicious?
Am I compassionate with myself?
On the flip side, am I firm with myself when I need to be?
Do I stick to my promises?
Am I encouraging healthy habits and helpful routines?
Am I forgiving and merciful?
One way or another, we do these things for our children. Don't you think it's about time we start doing it for ourselves? No one is perfect at it. I'm not! You won't be, either. But remember, it's not about doing it perfectly...it's about showing up consistently. And just like with anything else, the more practice we have at something, the better we will become.
Why does showing up for ourselves matter? 95% of the time we can't give our best to others when we're depleted ourselves. Of course, sometimes life is just hard and we have to tread through the muck and the Lord gives us the graces to do so. But in general, when life is good and normal stressors arise, we want to give our best and that's really hard to do when we ignore our own needs.
So, How Do We Show Up for Ourselves?
Well, I always go back to the basics. Prayer, Movement, Food and Fun. Focus on nourishing your soul, your body, and your heart.
For me, the basic elements of showing up for myself look like this:
Daily prayer time
Eating food that's good for my body and my taste buds
Book club, playing outside, or hanging with my husband