This question of Angela’s was my favorite- just answering it forced me to recite that mantra so many times that I couldn’t get it out of my head the rest of the day.
What did you need to learn or unlearn to overcome the circumstances that life throws at you?
Cathy: This one is easy to answer because I’m only now beginning to let it in- I deserve to fight for myself. I spend the majority of my time making sure that everyone I love is given plenty of food, warmth, love, happiness, hugs, bedtime stories, and new shoes every 2 months because their feet grow freakishly quickly. I worry about my husband remembering to bring sunscreen to the job site in the summer and a warm enough hat in the winter. I worry about my coworkers. I check in with my friends once a week so that they know they are loved. I check in and worry and make sure everything is just right for everyone else….and it leaves me completely empty.
My friend, who is also a therapist (and who took on the task of being my therapist, poor girl…) looked at me a few weeks ago and said, “You deserve to fight for yourself.”
I sat and stared at her for a second because this thought, in the 35 ½ years I’ve been here, has NEVER occurred to me. Not once.
I deserve to fight for myself.
I played it over and over in my head, during the appointment, as I was driving back to work, that night while I was getting the kids ready for bed.
I deserve to fight for myself.
I told my husband about it and he gave me the, “You’ve got to be kidding me, I’ve been telling you this for years,” look.
No one makes me do all these things- my husband is a partner in every sense of the word. He cooks, cleans, does the laundry, loads the dishwasher, bathes the kids, does the homework….and he constantly insists that he should take on more so that I can devote more time to writing. I always laugh and dismiss him. I am a mother and a wife and I can’t be selfish.
But….is wanting fulfillment for yourself selfish? Is wanting to show that husband that his encouragement and support aren’t falling on deaf ears, and giving him the opportunity to cheer your success like you’ve cheered his, selfish? Is wanting to show those kids that living a satisfied life is an obtainable goal, selfish?
Sounds crazy, right? But I’m betting that a number of you (if not most of you) are reading this and thinking, “You know, I never thought of it that way…”
So in case you need to hear it…
You Deserve To Fight For Yourself.
Angela: This sounds corny but it’s all about compassion and self-love for me. Being coached, I was able to distinguish that what I wanted to bring to the world was compassion and interestingly enough, it’s the thing that I rarely give to myself. I hold space for people and what I bring to people is this sense that however they show up, I’ve got them. And I don’t do that for myself. In my head, it’s all harsh criticism. It’s doubt about my ability to make a difference.
What I am in the process of learning is that I genuinely have everything I need. I don’t NEED to go add a bunch of letters to my name to make a difference. I don’t need to be 20 years older. I don’t need to have all the answers. I’ve got the training, I’ve got the burning desire to light a fire under people’s asses, I’ve got the desire to learn and grow. It’s all I need. And I’ve already made a massive impact. If I just loved myself and accepted myself as I am, there wouldn’t be a cap on it.
That’s it, the big secret- you deserve to chase your dreams; you deserve to be a priority; and you already have the tools you need to take the first step. I hope you enjoyed this little experiment as much as we did- we’ll see what we can come up with this summer at our next chips/guac/veggies/beer committee meeting.