Over the past year after writing my memoir, I’ve noticed much I value time on my own. This is in stark contrast to the insanely busy schedule I created for myself over 20 years.
I never used to care about myself and by doing a million things, it allowed me to avoid dealing with my feelings. It was always go-go-go which I only now realize was my cop-out mechanism. My schedule was ALWAYS full. Whether it was dinners with friends, going on dates, training for an upcoming race, volunteering, family time, learning something new, taking extra classes or courses – it was packed to the max!
I just thought I was a very energetic busy person. But the problem was that I never allowed myself to FEEL any emotion, either good or bad. I was numb. I didn’t cry, didn’t dwell, didn’t reflect on accomplishments. I remember my editor telling me, it’s okay to take some time to “feel” an emotion and then move on. But I realized I avoided that “feeling” part all together.
I became so accustomed to saying “I’m too busy”, “can’t sit still” and it is only now that I realize, I was essentially running from myself. Anything that I should have addressed was swept under the rug never to be talked about again.
It allowed me to think of myself as a very strong, private, emotion-less individual.
This is one of the reasons writing my memoir was so difficult. I had very little experience in dealing with “feelings” and emotions.
Almost every time I returned home after sessions with my editor, I was an emotional wreak – crying for no reason, feeling angry at myself, feeling so uncomfortable at sharing these moments that I had kept hidden. I didn’t realize what I had done to myself (unconsciously) over so many years. Learning how to feel emotions was a surprising thing I had to add to my longggg to-do list.
Life can be busy but I’ve learned that I have to prioritize myself. I now take the time to reflect, acknowledge my feelings as well as accept and understand them. When I take that time for me, I’m more at peace, ease and happier which enables me to give my best self to those around me.
On your list of priorities, where do you place yourself? Do you take time out for yourself?