Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kind to Ourselves

There was a time that if ever I had a spare half hour, I would weed the garden, sew something, do some laundry, generally make myself useful.  My husband, on the other hand, would use his spare time to nap.  

I napped too, mind you; I just felt guilty about it.  An emotion to which my husband is, at least in matters of household chores, immune.  (He does things around the house, but his chores are unadulterated by guilt.)

I used to marvel at his capacity for what I perceived to be his self-indulgence.  No matter how much I did in a day, the unfinished portion of my to-do list seemed to loom much larger than the sum of my accomplishments.  How wrong I was.

I have noticed that women in general seem to have a talent for self-recrimination.  We are so ready to take the blame for whatever is going forward.  Why?  Why are we so hard on ourselves, hard on each other?  

When will we learn?  It's not our job to be perfect.  It's our job to do our best with what we've got -- sometimes not even that.  

It's our job to love.  We run ourselves ragged loving everyone else.  But we are created in God's image too -- it's our job to love ourselves just the same.  

I used to carry around so many worries, regrets, fears...it was like carrying around a sack of rocks.  I thought, what if I just drop this sack?  Stop worrying about everyone's expectations?  Lower my own expectations to those of an ordinary mortal?

What I learned is that I could take every day just as it is.  I learned I could look at each person and see the good in him or her.  I learned that I could see the good in myself.

Does this seem obvious?  It didn't to me.  Why are we women so reluctant to see the beauty in ourselves?  

Here is one of the many things I have learned from my husband:  when I have a spare half hour, I deserve a nap.  I am worthy.

5 comments:

  1. Seriously, I am so there. Since the baby's been born, I've been saying the same thing. I may be my worse enemy though, because I always find something to do.

    I'm glad you found the beauty in *YOU*

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  2. Merci, Umm Aami!

    Salma, the old saying goes, "A man works from sun to sun, but a woman's work is never done." I just hope we can all find the balance. Things to do? Sure! But don't lets burden ourselves with the emotional baggage. One of the many excellent lessons I have learned (am still learning) from my husband.

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  3. I am reading it. I know it but yet it hasn't come to bare on me. I am that worrying woman. That woman who cannot see the good in me. the imperfect, wish I was, wanting to hide, die, run away, start over somewhere else......I'm that burdened soul.
    I wasn't always like this...I just don't know how I got here. I don't like it here. I want to let it all go.

    I pray soon that I'll learn.

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  4. Colette, for me it started in childhood with criticism coming from others -- I wanted to be "good" to get love. I think it did for you too. The important thing is to decide today that there is another way.

    One very pragmatic thing to change is how you talk to yourself. When you feel those doubts creeping in, change your thoughts. Have a list ready-made of the good things you do/are and read it, over and over to yourself. Think about those things as you are reading them. Know that they are you.

    Keep doing it until your self-criticism passes. Know that it will pass. Be ready for the next time. Eventually, you will begin to believe your own affirmations -- things everyone else already knows about you.

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