I have been learning lots and lots from the young military girlfriends and spouses I have gotten to know this past year. Some of what I have learned is great and some of it not so great. One of the things that sorrows me is to see them give away themselves for so little. So many of them complain of giving so much to others and getting nothing in return. In bits and pieces I am trying to quietly inspire them to put themselves first, get themselves healthy and then grow their lives and relationships.
I can relate, because like many people it took me a long time and some painful lessons to learn and commit to this principle. I was thinking today of the external pressures on our little family right now. Despite all the voices chattering around us calling for our attention, attempting to unnerve us and demanding their own wants, I have committed more than ever to taking care of myself first and then my family. Growing up, I would do anything not to have anyone upset with me...well not anything immoral, illegal, dishonest, but you get what I'm saying. I'm sure it was very environmental and partly who I am too, but it caused me a lot of unrest and exhaustion in my own life.
Perhaps this is my life lesson for 2013 because it certainly has come into play a lot. I have had plenty of opportunities to say, "You are welcome to feel what you want, but I am allowed to make my own choices regarding what I think is right for me and mine. You'll have to just deal with that." I never mean this is a snide or snotty way, it's just a plain fact. I am going to protect me and my family and focus on what is needful and best for us, despite what influence you want to invoke on the matter. How you feel about that is your task to work out.
Generally this comes into play when people are pushy or attempting to exert their wishes over my actions. This has come into play in family, church and business relationships this year. There are times when I can absolutely give you what you're asking for, times when we can negotiate something that will work for both of us and times when I will have to say "I'm sorry that is not an option." This is quite out of the realm of where I've spent most of my life, an oldest child people pleaser. That's not to say I've been a pushover, because that's not the case, but this leap, it's a biggie.
I went through this process most profoundly yesterday afternoon dealing with some frustrating business matters. I was just about to take a few minutes with The Bug to take a walk on our favorite beach. I could feel the anxiety start to mount threatening to ruin our sweet few minutes together in one of our favorite places. Clearly in my heart I felt, "You people will have to wait. I have made my plans for today." I was able to forget about things for a few minutes and then longer and longer until I was able to make peace with it all and let it go until tomorrow.
As challenging as this is for me, I have to say it feels good and I know it's necessary. If I stay true to my instincts and do my best as much as possible I will feel as good as I can hope for about my life. It will continue to take some work, but I know I'm starting to master it because I feel more and more sure of my resolve and I am able to act with more confidence and less anxiety, with passion actually, when it comes to doing what I feel is best for me and for us.