Thursday, December 5, 2013

Giving Myself Permission

Today I'm joining up with the lovely Faith Barista Bonnie Gray with her writing prompt, "Giving myself permission to ...."

My doctor says, "Think of yourself as in rehab.  This is the work."  She's talking about rehab from depression, but I would add that it's recovering from perfectionism plus years of pushing my people-pleasing self to do too much.

'DSCN4745' photo (c) 2005, Zach Graves - license: I'm giving myself permission to take care of myself.  I'm happy to make sacrifices for others, but I can't help anyone if I don't take care of myself.  If I'm drained, exhausted, and mentally worn out, I can't be a good wife, mom, or friend.  It's the same idea as putting on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else.

As my pastor would ask me, "What does that look like?"

I take a break when I need one.  I pray.  I read.  I nap.  I exercise (not because I like to, but because I know it's good for me).  I blog (when I have something to say).  I make cards.  I bake.  I try not to stress when my to-do list doesn't get finished.

I don't do all of those things every day.  Still, to at least one person, it looks as though I'm doing nothing productive.  Housework is often transparent:  no one notices clean clothes (except when there are none), clean sheets, dinner on the table (except when it's not), a dusted room.  Everyone notices what still needs to be done.

That's why I'm taking the professional advice to rehab.  I'm giving myself permission to restore my body and soul.  I'm learning to be a better wife, mom, and friend by putting on my own oxygen mask first.


  1. I like your doctor's advice. I struggle with my appearance of being unproductive, but I know that everything is better when I'm looking after myself.

  2. Wow, this is exactly where I'm at too. After homeschooling for many years, the kids are in public school and the little guy in preschool. I too struggle with feeling unproductive but this rest is as necessary as the oxygen in that air mask. I would never have taken this time if I had not been given the permission to do so. I never imagined it would be ok. I always believed I had to "stay in the game" even when injured. May your rest bring deep healing and deep understanding of God's grace. Blessings.

  3. "I'm giving myself permission to restore my body and soul."
    Yay! That's good advice for all of us. I'm glad you're giving yourself permission to take care of yourself because you are so right that it's putting your oxygen mask on so you can be healthy enough to help others with theirs. You go!

  4. I like your doctor's advice. I believe we could do better if we did a little caring for ourselves. Great post

  5. Yes!!!!
    You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others... and you are so true about the not noticing when things are done, but totally noticing when they aren't!!!

  6. I agree that is hard to feel productive when there are no outward appearances of productivity - or when other things are more important than getting it done.

    I agree that it is very important to take care of oneself.

  7. Thanks for the advice--I need to give myself permission to slow down.

  8. Wow, we're in the same rehab. I'm working on that as well. My doc doesn't think I'm doing enough for me. I think I'm doing better... And given the recent developments in my health it's even more important.

    Great post.


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