Just as sure as shards of glass will turn into something smooth if you throw them into the sea, I have been in the depths so long that I’m emerging as something different. A fundamental part of me is shifting.
I’m starting to realize that I have value whether I give or not. Giving and making a positive difference in the world is still important to me. Being a good mom, which means making all kinds of emotional and financial sacrifices, is important to me. But I am coming to the radical realization that I have worth whether I give or not.
If I’m lying on my couch reading a magazine for fun giving nothing to the world, I still matter.
I don’t have to give to everyone who needs something. This is a huge shift in my thinking. For example, if there are people who need to talk about themselves for two hours non-stop without a breath, I do not have to listen. If there is someone who sings badly who needs someone, anyone to perform for, I don’t have to be the audience. It’s okay if I feel pity for people, but I don’t have to let them bleed me dry.
If there are people who interrupt me in conversation, or who talk over me when I say something, it’s not a que for me to keep listening because they have needs. It’s a que for me to ask myself what I’m getting out of it and whether or not I want to stay. Life guards at public pools get time to swim for fun. If professional givers like members of the clergy and doctors can get time off to watch a football game or play a game of cards, I can have time off from giving too.
If I don’t give myself my own attention, I’ll be worn out and resentful and unable to give anything at all. Next week, I begin my yoga teacher training, and I can’t wait. I’ll have hours to focus on my own body and time to focus on something that matters to me.
I give myself permission to walk away from things and people that deplete me. This doesn’t mean that I’ll never lend a sympathetic ear to someone I care about. It just means that my own needs are a factor in the equation of life, and that I can choose not to give and still have worth and value. May we all remember that we don’t have to give to everybody who asks. May we all remember that one of the most beautiful things we can give to ourselves is our own ear.
I hope my blog inspires you to believe in yourself more and feel less alone in the world. I, for one, am inspired by the imperfections of others who continue to rise up again and again despite life's challenges. May we find ways to inspire and support each other.